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Atomic bomb survivor, scientists mark 60 years of long-term radiation study

For the past 60 years, the National Academies have studied the health effects of radiation exposure in Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. First known as the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), the study group was reorganized in 1975 to form the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), which is now a cooperative Japan-U.S. research organization. To commemorate the many contributions of former and current ABCC/RERF employees and bomb survivors, the National Academy of Sciences is hosting a symposium, "Sixty Years of ABCC/RERF: Major Contributions and Future Studies."

Comments from the first director of ABCC, a Japanese survivor, and National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone will kick off the symposium, which will also include a panel discussion by five scientists who worked at the commission during its first 10 years. Former ABCC/RERF employees from Japan and the United States are also scheduled to attend.

Dr. Joe Gray, associate laboratory director for life and environmental sciences at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will give the keynote address on the "Omic Revolution and Epidemiology." Additional sessions will look at the ABCC/RERF and its major scientific contributions, including findings and radiation risk assessments that have helped set the basis for the world's radiation protective standards. These include radiation risk estimates for cancer and other human diseases, an assessment of genetic effects in the first generation children of atomic bomb survivors, and radiation biology information of benefit to the survivors and their children.


The symposium will run from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. in the auditorium of the National Academy of Sciences building at 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. on Dec. 12. A draft agenda is available online at

REPORTERS WHO WISH TO ATTEND SHOULD REGISTER IN ADVANCE with the National Academies' Office of News and Public Information, tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail


Contact: Jennifer Walsh
The National Academies

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