Following the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, the Japanese government created two supplemental texts about radiation reflecting the accident for elementary, middle school, and high school students. These texts were made to explain radiation and consequently to obtain public consent for the continuation of the nuclear program. The present study aimed to evaluate the appropriateness of the content of the texts and to collect the basic data on the level of understanding necessary to improve radiation education. Lectures on radiology including nuclear energy and the Fukushima accident were given to 44 fourth-year dental students in 2013. The questionnaire was administered in 2014 when these students were in their sixth-year. The survey was also administered to 40 first-year students and 41 fourth-year students who hadn't any radiology lectures. Students rated their level of understanding of 50 phrases used in the texts on a four-point scale (understanding = 3, a little knowledge = 2, having heard = 1, no knowledge = 0). Questions on taking an advanced physics course in high school and means of learning about radiation in daily life were also asked. The level of understanding of phrases in the supplemental text for middle and high school students was significantly higher among sixth-year students (mean = 1.43) than among first-year (mean = 1.12) or fourth-year (mean = 0.93) students (p < 0.05). Overall, the level of understanding was low, with scores indicating that most students knew only a little. First-year students learning about radiation from television but four-year and six-year students learning about radiation from newspaper scored significantly higher (p < 0.05). It was concluded that radiation education should be improved by using visual material and preparing educators to teach the material for improving the public's understanding of radiation use-especially nuclear power generation because the phrases used in the supplementary texts are very difficult for students to understand.
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