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Based on experiences following the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear power plant accident in 2011, Nuclear Emergency Core Hospitals (NECHs) were designated as centers for radiation disaster management in Japan. This study aimed to investigate their current status and identify areas for improvement.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in October 2018. Demographic data were collected by a questionnaire with free text responses about attitudes toward NECHs. Considerations regarding risk communications during a radiation disaster were analyzed using qualitative text mining analysis.
A total of 36 hospitals participated in this study. Only 31% of NECHs anticipated a radiation disaster. The importance of business continuity plans and risk communications was shown. Text analysis identified 7 important categories for health care workers during a radiation disaster, including media response, communications to hospital staff, risk communications, radiation effects on children, planning for a radiation disaster in the region, rumors, and the role in the region.
The radiation disaster medical system and NECHs in Japan were surveyed. The importance of risk communications, planning for a radiation disaster in each region, and the role in the region are identified as issues that need to be addressed.
Delivering adequate health care in the setting of the ongoing pandemic is challenging. Due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Tokyo Metropolitan government has been forced to expand their acute health-care capacity corresponding to infectious diseases within a short period. Responding to this situation, health emergency and disaster experts of the Tokyo Disaster Medical Assistance Team took the initiative in creating a brief education course. We established the course for expanding infectious disease care capacity by a dedicated hands-on lecture for health professionals who are unfamiliar with infectious disease care in ordinary circumstances. Our lecture included the typical course of COVID-19, use of personal protective equipment, environmental sterilization, medical-ward zoning, and safe caregiving. Hospitals that received customized lectures reported by means of a questionnaire that the lectures were well suited to their needs. Currently, the health-care system in Tokyo has increased its capacity to meet the demand and has not been affected by COVID-19. Our experience shows that health emergency and disaster experts can assist hospitals in crisis by providing educational materials.
The integration of external staff into a hospital’s disaster response can present technical challenges. Although hospitals will always prefer to use their own staff in disaster response, there have been many historical examples where external staffing is required. During the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes, the Oita Prefectural Hospital required medical professionals to expand disaster response staff. They were able to identify 2 appropriate emergency physicians belonging to a remote hospital who had previously worked at the Oita Prefectural hospital. The physicians were effectively able to supplement the hospital staff, providing care for additional patients, and giving the existing on-duty staff some respite. Based on our experience, we suggest that hospital coalitions and disaster response authorities explore mechanisms of cross-credentialing and cross-training staff to make it easier to share staff in a disaster.
Harmful algal blooms caused by raphidophyte species of the genus Chattonella (i.e. Chattonella antiqua, Chattonella marina and Chattonella ovata) have been documented in temperate coastal regions around the world. To understand the effects of physicochemical factors on bloom development of Chattonella spp., we investigated the variations of vegetative and resting cells (i.e. cysts) of Chattonella spp. and environmental variables in two coastal environments, Uranouchi Inlet (extremely closed) and Nomi Inlet (semi-closed), with contrasting enclosed natures. Although the vegetative cells and cysts of Chattonella spp. were distributed in both coastal regions, the densities were remarkably higher in Uranouchi Inlet than in Nomi Inlet. The mud content in the sediments of Uranouchi Inlet was also higher than that in the sediments of Nomi Inlet, meaning that fine particles such as cysts are likely to accumulate in the former region. Because of the extremely closed nature of Uranouchi Inlet, warm oceanic waters of the Kuroshio Current penetrate the inlet only infrequently. These results suggest that the closed nature of coastal regions is an important factor influencing either water exchange or the resultant accumulation of Chattonella cells in coastal environments.
Improvement of photovoltaic performance for dye sensitized solar cells (DSC) is discussed in terms of electron-path and ion-path. In order to make electron path, we focused on passivation of TiO2 surface states which are observed by thermally stimulated current (TSC). The TiO2 surface was well-passivated with dye molecules under pressurized CO2 atmosphere. It was found that DSC cells prepared by a CO2 process (Cell-CO2) had higher efficiency than those prepared by a conventional dipping process (Cell-DIP) and the higher efficiency was associated with low TiO2-surface state, high electron diffusion coefficient and long electron life time in TiO2 for the Cell-CO2. In addition, dye-staining under pressurized CO2 atmosphere had advantages over a conventional dipping process on rapid dye-uptake and less dye aggregation. In order to fabricate ion-path in solidified electrolyte, we focused on surface modification of nano-materials. Surface of nano-materials such as TiO2-nanoparticles and porous alumina films were modified with imidazolium iodide moieties consisting of long alkyl chains which render surface-molecules self-organized. Redox-species are concentrated on the self-organized molecules and make ion-path. We propose quasi-solid electrolyte system consisting of two layers having different charge carrier concentration to keep high photoconversion efficiencies even after solidification.
A direction to increasing photovoltaic performances of dye sensitized solar cells (DSC) is proposed. An interface between TiO2/dye and an electrolyte layer is focused on. It is proved that better coverage of TiO2 layers with dye molecules increases photovoltaic performances, where dye staining is carried out in pressurized CO2 atmosphere. This is explained by decreases in the amount of surface traps on TiO2 nano-particles, which is discussed by thermally stimulated current (TSC). The decrease in the surface trap density increases electron diffusion coefficient and improves electron lifetime in TiO2 layers. In addition, the TiO2-staining with dye molecules having the larger dipole moment seems to leave less amount of electron trap. Another crucial research item is solidification. Quasi-solidification is carried out by using surface modified anodically-oxidized Al2O3 films filled with ionic liquids, where ion paths are fabricated on the surface-modified Al2O3 walls by concentrating iodine and iodide molecules on the walls. Because of the fabrication of the ion path, photovoltaic performances increased even after solidification. Grötthuss type mechanism is introduced to explain the increase in the photovoltaic performances after the solidification.
InN films were grown on Si (111) substrates by radio-frequency plasma-excited molecular beam epitaxy. InN films highly oriented to the c-axis were obtained by optimizing growth conditions in the direct growth on Si. Growth of single crystalline InN films was realized on Si substrates with substrate nitridation for 3 min. On the other hands, when the substrate nitridation was lasted over 30 min, obtained InN films were polycrystalline due to the amorphous SiNx layer formed on a substrate surface. We also studied the local atomic structure in the single crystalline InN film using extended X-ray absorption fine structure measurements.
A review is given of the fabrication technology and applications of a new type of semi-transparent solar cell having the structure p(a-SiC)-i(a- SiC)-n(μ-Si) heterojunction. A series of systematic investigations has been made on the effect of i-layer thickness and the optical energy gap on the photovoltaic performance of p(a-SiC)-i(a-SiC)-n(μ-Si) heterojunction solar cells. The results show that there is an optimum zone in the i-layer properties. For purposes of making cells with sufficient visible light transmission, we adopted an a-SiC active layer whose optical energy gap is in the range from 1.9 to 2.0 eV. In this case, a conversion efficiency of 6.3% with visible light transmittance of more than 25% has been obtained. The rate of light induced degradation has also been checked on this new type of solar cell. This newly developed semi-transparent solar cell, named “SOLAR GLASS,” might open new areas in a wide variety of applications for modern life such as home electronics, automobiles, medical electronics, etc. As an example, an automobile application is demonstrated and discussed.
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