Get access

The challenges posed by radiation and radionuclide releases to the environment



The recent accident at the Fukushima I nuclear power plant in Japan (also known as Fukushima Daiichi) captured the world's attention and re-invigorated concerns about the safety of nuclear power technology. The Editors of Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management invited experts in the field to describe the primary issues associated with the control and release of radioactive materials to the environment, particularly those that are of importance to the health of the human populations and the ecological systems that populate our planet. This collection of invited short commentaries aims to inform on the safety of nuclear power plants damaged by natural disasters and provide a primer on the potential environmental impacts. The intent of these invited commentaries is not to fuel the excitement and fears about the Fukushima Daiichi incident; rather, it is to collect views and comments from some of the world's experts on the broad science and policy challenges raised by this event, and to provide high-level views on the science issues that surround this situation in order to improve our collective ability to avoid or at least minimize the consequences of future events. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2011;7:360–361. © 2011 SETAC