Radiation Emergency Medicine Center

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 The widespread use of radiation means that radiation accidents are always a possibility. Accordingly, NIRS established a medical assistance team in January 2010 called the Radiation Emergency Medical Assistance Team (REMAT). The first such professional medical team to be established for radiation emergency medicine (REM) in Asia, REMAT is staffed by physicians, nurses, health physicists, radiation protection experts, and administrative personnel. Its main role is to provide technical and medical support to medical professionals who are treating patients with radiation exposure and/or contamination by radionuclides. If necessary, patients can be transported to NIRS. The first deployment of REMAT was in response to the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on March 11, 2011. REMAT is also collaborating with international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organization (WHO), and it is sharing its knowledge and experience of REM with other countries, especially in Asia.

Research Theme

How does REMAT respond?

REMAT is available 24/7 for medical assistance in both domestic and international radiation emergencies. For a radiation accident in Japan, the NIRS president mobilizes REMAT in response to a request from central or municipal government. For an overseas accident, REMAT is mobilized in response to a request from the foreign government concerned, or from an international organization such as IAEA or WHO.

Ο Activation Flow

Response of REMAT to the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Seventeen hours after the Great East Japan Earthquake struck Fukushima Prefecture, the first REMAT unit was dispatched from NIRS to Fukushima by a Japan Self-Defense Force helicopter. At Fukushima, the team performed dose assessment and decontamination. They also provided advice to officers at the local headquarters for emergency response, evacuees at evacuation shelters, medical professionals at Fukushima Medical University Hospital, and first responders at J-Village. Meanwhile, eleven first responders and workers contaminated with radioactive materials were admitted to NIRS where they received decontamination and dose assessment. NIRS also provided advice to medical personnel and first responders through an REM hotline that operated 24/7.

Structure of REMAT

The structure of REMAT during a radiation emergency is split into separate on-site and home-based teams. The members of each team are selected based on the required skills and competencies for the task. The on-site team is dispatched to the accident site to provide advice on medical care, radiation protection, and also to perform initial dose assessments. This team carries portable radiation measurement instruments, communication equipment, and medicine for internal contamination.
The home-based team at NIRS supports the on-site team by providing medical advice, analyzing data, and performing detailed dose assessments (including cytogenetic biodosimetry), and also by receiving patients if necessary.

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4-9-1 Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba 263-8555, Japan Tel: +81-43-206-3025 (outside of Japan), or 043-206-3025 (in Japan)