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Japan Medicine Power Science

Little Health Risk Seen From Fukushima's Radioactivity 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-do-we-scare-people-with-this-information dept.
gbrumfiel writes "Two independent reports show that the public and most workers received only low doses of radiation following last year's meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Nature reports that the risks presented by the doses are small, even though some are above guidelines and limits set by the Japanese government. Few people will develop cancer as a result of the accident, and those that do may never be able to conclusively link their illness to the meltdowns. The greatest risk lies with the workers who struggled in the early days to bring the reactors under control. So far no ill-effects have been detected. At Chernobyl, by contrast, the highest exposed workers died quickly from radiation sickness."
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Little Health Risk Seen From Fukushima's Radioactivity

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  • Re:Chernobyl... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:17PM (#40092905)

    Yet, unlike Chernobyl, Fukushima is still far from over: http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science-a-environmental/33192-if-fukushima-unit-4-falls-hazardous-radioactive-cesium-137-release-could-be-eight-times-worse-than-chernobyl.html

    It still has potential to be worse.

  • by geekymachoman (1261484) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @03:21PM (#40092965)

    Yeah, it's modern times. Anyway... when I read news I try to get both alternative and mainstream sources covered. I reckon, as the quote goes... truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Having said that, I read a lot recently about fukushima reactor #4. Here's a snippet:

    [quote]
    The troubled Reactor 4 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is at the centre of this potential catastrophe.

    Reactor 4 -- and to a lesser extent Reactor 3 -- still hold large quantities of cooling waters surrounding spent nuclear fuel, all bound by a fragile concrete pool located 30 metres above the ground, and exposed to the elements.

    A magnitude 7 or 7.5 earthquake would likely fracture that pool, and disaster would ensue, says Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education who has visited the site.

    The 1,535 spent fuel rods would become exposed to the air and would likely catch fire, with the most-recently added fuel rods igniting first.

    The incredible heat generated from that blaze, Gundersen said, could then ignite the older fuel in the cooling pool, causing a massive oxygen-eating radiological fire that could not be extinguished with water.
    [/quote]

    So what happened until now I guess shouldn't be the focus of media attention, but rather how to deal with reactor #4 - of course, if these statements are true.
    Here's url to the full article:
    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20120518/fukushima-dai-ichi-risk-reactor-4-120519/ [www.ctv.ca]

  • Re:Chernobyl... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @04:14PM (#40093545) Journal

    At the levels of radiation involved at Chernobyl, I suspect that no radiation protection that existed at the time would have helped prevent most of the deaths. Traditional hazmat suits predominantly are intended to prevent inhalation and direct contact with radioactive materials when operating in areas of moderate contamination, and to allow for rapid washing of the person after exposure. When you have people dying from exposure to as much as 16 grays, no thin piece of rubber is going to make much of a difference, and even a lead apron will only go so far.

    To be fair, some of the long-term deaths from cancer might have been avoided with better radiation protection, even with the limited technology available at the time, but it would have still been a disaster, and most of the people who died would probably have died anyway. Newer technologies, such as Demron, might have helped, but that wasn't invented until almost 16 years after the Chernobyl disaster.

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