Fukushima update: Data, data, everywhere ... - April 05, 2011Academic researchers worldwide, including veterans of research on the Chernobyl accident, are poring over releases of data on population exposure rates to radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. But they are finding that making any sense of the data is proving very difficult.
One problem is that data are strewn across several websites, for example, those of Japan's science ministry, here and here, the health ministry, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency,and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, the data are often in different units, with few descriptive details of, for example, sampling techniques used.
The Japanese government does appear to be making efforts to be open about data, though. Summary maps (provided by the US Department of Energy) of aerial radiation monitoring have been extremely useful, researchers say, though no geographical information system data of the maps is available from the website.