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In October 2016 Lis participated in a study tour of Fukushima, organised by Green Cross Switzerland, the international environmental NGO founded by Mikhail Gorbachev.

‘20 millisieverts per year’ is an exhibition of her photographs and texts. Presented as detailed captions the texts include scientific information, statements by scientists and politicians and by some of the people Lis met in Fukushima.

In March 2011 an earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. This resulted in radioactive fallout contaminating at least 8% of the land surface of Japan and the evacuation of 164,865 people.

hayakawa-fukushima-contamination-map-front-web

map by Professor Yukio Hayakawa, Gunma University, 2013

After six years the multifaceted catastrophe continues, despite extensive remediation efforts and spiralling costs. As well as the unresolved crises at the Daiichi nuclear plant itself, urban and rural areas remain highly contaminated and severe physical, psychological, social, and economic consequences continue to unfold for many people.

The ‘20 millisieverts per year’ exhibition title refers to the maximum dose of ionising radiation originating from a nuclear power plant to which citizens of Fukushima can now be exposed in a year [1]. In the rest of Japan and the rest of the world the maximum permitted non- occupational dose to a citizen is 1 millisievert per year, as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)[2].

This raising of the annual threshold to 20 millisieverts per year puts enormous pressure on many of those who evacuated, compulsorily as well as ‘voluntarily’, to return to live in areas which are still contaminated, as the financial support for them to live elsewhere was terminated in March 2017.

Some of those who were compulsorily evacuated are relieved return to their former homes, despite the concerns they may have about the increased risk to their health from living in areas with such high levels of contamination.

But others are outraged by the loss of financial support not wanting to accept the increased risk to their health, and the even greater risk to the health of their children, who are much more sensitive to the effects of ionising radiation. They feel betrayed by the government as well as by the many in the media and scientific and medical communities who downplay the risks and support the policy of raising the radiation exposure threshold to 20 millisieverts per year. Many people, in Japan and elsewhere, consider this to be a serious breach of human rights.

The exhibition texts include statements by some of these people which reveal some of ways they are responding to the catastrophe.

In addition to the photographs and texts, booklets containing statements, letters and speeches by evacuees from Fukushima are provided for visitors to take away.

In August 2017 the exhibition grew to include a film, also titled ’20 millisiverts per year,’ with a soundscape by musicians Cian Ciarán (Super Furry Animals) and Meilyr Tomos, film footage and texts by Lis, newsreel and interview clips and editing and post production by creative collective ffloc.


[1] “Fudging Safety Standards” in “The Post 311 Anti-Nuke Movement”: http://www.cnic.jp/english/?p=3661

[2] The 20 millisieverts per year dose threshold is discussed in more detail here: https://lisfields.org/20msvyear

Miharu-morning-glory-copyright-Lis-Fields-2017

Morning Glory growing along the base of a prefab evacuation cabin, Naraha, Fukushima © Lis Fields 2016

 

 

 

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