Advice on exposure to radiation arising from the nuclear
accident in Japan provided by the National Radiation Laboratory
The Ministry of Health’s National Radiation Laboratory (NRL) is
closely monitoring the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power facilities and is
providing advice on radiation issues to the government.
Based on advice from the Japanese Government and the International
Atomic Energy Agency, the NRL reports that the nuclear accident at
nuclear power facilities has led to a major release of radioactive
authorities have classified the accident to be at level 7 (the
highest level) on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event
Scale (INES). The INES
scale is designed for communicating to the public and others in
consistent terms the safety significance of events at nuclear
facilities. An accident
rated at level 7 is a major accident involving a major release of
New Zealanders in Japan are recommended to strictly
follow the instructions of the Japanese authorities.
We recommend that New Zealanders stay out of the area within a 30 km
radius from the Fukushima
Dai-ichi nuclear power facilities and any other areas that are
designated by the Japanese Authorities as Planned Evacuation Zones.
Government of Japan maps and information on evacuation areas
can be found at
The situation is improving at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power facilities.
However, New Zealanders should exercise caution when within an 80 km
radius of the facilities and ensure that their safety from radiation
exposure has been confirmed by the Japanese authorities.
With respect to foodstuffs and water, New Zealanders are advised to
follow the advice and instructions issued by the Japanese
authorities who are closely monitoring the situation of
contamination in food and water.
For further general information on food and water please refer to:
Protective measures may be revised by the Japanese Government as the
situation develops. NRL will update its advice accordingly.
Advice for people in
New Zealand, or returning to New Zealand
New Zealanders returning home from Japan are highly
unlikely to be contaminated or exposed to significant radiation and
will not require checks for radioactivity. However, if people wish
to seek health advice they should contact Healthline on 0800 611
There is no health risk to people living in New Zealand
from any radioactive material released from the Fukushima nuclear power facilities.
At this point in time the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)
has no information to suggest that any food exported from Japan to New Zealand has
imports very little food from Japan. These imports are generally
limited to a small range of specialty products, such as small
volumes of seaweed and sake as well as other Japanese specialty food
products including mirin, soy sauce, dried noodles, pickled ginger,
The area affected by the earthquake is not a major food production
area, and certainly not a major food exporting region. Additionally,
Japanese officials have said that food production in the affected
area has been halted and therefore food from this area would not be
available for export.
Food imports from Japan are being
subject to assessment and testing, where necessary.
MAF will continue to work with International counterparts in
monitoring the situation, and update their websites:
Mail and general cargo originating from Japan and being imported in
to New Zealand does not present any significant radiation health
hazards to persons handling it, for example at mail centres,
airports and sea ports. This includes
machinery and permeable materials such as textiles.
Japanese authorities have issued guidelines for Japanese ports for
the monitoring of export containers and ships in order to provide
data for foreign port authorities. The guidelines include criteria
for decontamination action and for reporting.
Further information about the situation and health and safety issues
can be found on WHO webpages at:
Information on the status of the nuclear
Fukushima can be
found on the website of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
(NISA). In addition to the official information above we advise
people to consult the assessments of the International Atomic Energy