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Japan Medicine Power

Around 2,000 Fukushima Workers At Risk of Thyroid Cancer 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the percentage-points dept.
mdsolar writes "Around 2,000 people who have worked at Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant face a heightened risk of thyroid cancer, its operator said Friday. Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said 1,973 people — around 10 percent of those employed in emergency crews involved in the clean-up since the meltdowns — were believed to have been exposed to enough radiation to cause potential problems. The figure is a 10-fold increase on TEPCO's previous estimate of the number of possible thyroid cancer victims and comes after the utility was told its figures were too conservative. Each worker in this group was exposed to at least 100 millisieverts of radiation, projections show."
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Around 2,000 Fukushima Workers At Risk of Thyroid Cancer

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  • If you keep profit out of the equation. But with 30 year life cycles I don't know how to do that. Sooner or later someone is going to clamor to privatize it and make it more 'efficient'. And if the plant owner doesn't live anywhere near the potential disaster, and there are no consequences for him whatsoever, why wouldn't he just cut corners? Anyone have any ideas?
    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @01:02PM (#44337221)

      If you keep profit out of the equation. But with 30 year life cycles I don't know how to do that. Sooner or later someone is going to clamor to privatize it and make it more 'efficient'.

      Chernobyl was not privately owned.

      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        You think it would have gone better if it was?

        • You think it would have gone better if it was?

          Yes. The main problem with Chernobyl was not the accident itself, but the design. It had no containment vessel. No government has ever allowed a private company to build a nuke plant so obviously defective. People in both government and industry are the same, and equally likely to be selfish, greedy and incompetent. The difference is that capitalists are accountable, to both regulators and shareholders. The government is accountable to no one.

          Fukushima was run by capitalists, and it failed partly due

          • by fnj (64210) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @03:52PM (#44337871)

            Yes. The main problem with Chernobyl was not the accident itself, but the design. It had no containment vessel.

            And it had a positive void coefficient. And instability at low power levels. And a flammable graphite moderator. And the tips of the control rods were made of graphite which actually INCREASED reactor power when they started to enter the reactor. And the reactor building roof was covered with flammable bitumen (counter to regulations). The totality of the dreadfulness of the design is almost impossible to comprehend. Even so it is exceeded by the stupidity of the experiment undertaken by the operators which ended in the catastrophe.

            There are still 10 operating RBMK reactors of this awful type in Russia.

          • was a bunch of dumb asses who didn't know what they were doing were left in charge of a nuclear power plant. It's pretty well documented that the accident was caused by an unsafe and unnecessary experiment by junior staff. It has nothing to do with socialism or capitalism. Just good 'ole fashion human arrogance and stupidity.
          • by khallow (566160)

            Fukushima was run by capitalists, and it failed partly due to incompetence and greed

            Where's the evidence? What failure of Fukushima can be attributed to incompetence and greed?

            • Fukushima was run by capitalists, and it failed partly due to incompetence and greed

              Where's the evidence? What failure of Fukushima can be attributed to incompetence and greed?

              The failure to strengthen and raise the height of the seawall. It was well known that the seawall was insufficient to contain a tsunami of known historical magnitude. The coast of northern Honshu is hit by big tsunamis about every 300 years, and was "due". They didn't fix the wall in order to save money, and just hoped they would get lucky.

              • by khallow (566160)

                It was well known that the seawall was insufficient to contain a tsunami of known historical magnitude.

                There's no evidence for this assertion, particularly at the time the plant was designed and built, Instead, the first time that TEPCO seems to have considered this was back in 2008.

                They didn't fix the wall in order to save money, and just hoped they would get lucky.

                Which incidentally is a good strategy for a nuclear plant that was scheduled for decommissioning starting the very month that the earthquake happened!

            • I thought it failed because it was hit by a big fucking earthquake and 45ft wall of ocean water. A disaster that killed 18,000 people, but none due to the reactor failure.
            • Because only TEPCO's NPS failed when the tsumami hit. They already had the studies made in 2008 that the seawall was way below the required height for the recorded tsunami levels in their zone. The nuclear power plant from Tohoku Denryoku, Onagawa, that was in the closest point to the quake's epicenter and was hit by a higher wave didn't fail; to the south of TEPCO's Fukushima II the power plant from Japan Atomic Power Corporation Tokai-2 was hit by a similar wave that hit and damaged Fukushima II and didn'

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Saturday July 20, 2013 @01:40PM (#44337341) Homepage

        What it boils down to is that human nature is the problem. We see it again and again in every area. Aircraft safety is a perfect example - extremely safe but somehow human beings still manage to screw it up from time to time.

        Unless you plan to staff the plant with angels and fuel it with unicorn farts it's never going to be 100% safe.

        • I will be able to provide you with an unlimited number of unicorn farts for a reasonable fee. You will need to source the angels from someone else.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        Chernobyl was not privately owned.

        Three-mile Island was.

        So what's your point? The profit motive is just one more weak point in an already hard-to-contain form of energy. Keeping nuclear energy away from private ownership doesn't guarantee there will never be an accident, it just makes accidents due to insufficient compliance with safety regulations less likely.

        Anyway, the only reason private industry wants to own nuke plants is because they are protected from serious liability and external costs by the g

        • Keeping nuclear energy away from private ownership doesn't guarantee there will never be an accident, it just makes accidents due to insufficient compliance with safety regulations less likely.

          Nonsense. Under government ownership, the people making the regulations and the people complying with them are the SAME PEOPLE, or at least answer to the same people. This guarantees a conflict of interest, and a lack of accountability. Government owned and run nukes have a far worse safety record than privately run nukes.

        • Three-mile Island was.

          Three Mile Island resulted in no major ecological or radiological disaster... the plant was simply rendered inoperable... and expensive mess, but if that's the worst that can happen in a 'nuclear disaster' with modern equipment... I'm satisfied it is safe.

          And yes, there was some release of radioactive steam (oh noes!) but over the course of a year, a coal base load plant releases many times that amount of radiation... and nobody says anything.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947)

            And yes, there was some release of radioactive steam (oh noes!)

            Would you say "(oh noes!)" to the families of the 2000 Fukishima workers who are now at risk for thyroid cancer? Do you think those workers were maybe exposed to more radiation than a "coal base load plant"?

            And is a comparison to a coal plant really a recommendation?

            • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday July 21, 2013 @12:24AM (#44340171)

              Would you say "(oh noes!)" to the families of the 2000 Fukishima workers who are now at risk for thyroid cancer? Do you think those workers were maybe exposed to more radiation than a "coal base load plant"?

              They were at risk before. So are you. Everyone has a non-zero risk for everything. Quantum mechanics demands that there is, in fact, a vanishingly small probability that you will turn into a jelly doughnut while reading this. Now let's talk actual risk. The quoted figure is 100 millisieverts. That is the lowest figure for which there is a predicted increase in cancer rates. Below that level, we can't plausibly say that there even is a risk. 20 mSv a year is the current international limit for nuclear plant workers.

              So what they're saying is, before the risk was so low, it wasn't worth mentioning. Now the risk is so low, that it's equal to having worked in the plant for five years.

              And is a comparison to a coal plant really a recommendation?

              No, it's a recommendation that you stop going "oh noes! radiation! it must be bad because all the newspapers put it in big scary red letters!" Well, I can drown you with just a glass of water, but nobody considers that particularly dangerous; And it's the same with radiation. Everything is radioactive. Bananas are radioactive especially. Most radioactive food you can eat, in fact. Nobody is running around going "oh fuck! the bananas are going to kill us all." Perspective man, that's what you're lacking here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CajunArson (465943)

      Oh yeah! As long as there is absolutely no chance of making a profit I'm sure safety will shoot right through the roof!

      Just look at the death toll from Three Mile Island! Do you know that since the accident THOUSANDS of people in Pennsylvania have died from cancer! It's a crime!

      Now look at Chernobyl where Progressive Soviet Idealism has shown the light that will conquer the corrupt imperialist western scum! Did you know that the death toll from cancer in Pripyat has been ZERO for over twenty years!

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      Chernobyl is a litany of shortcuts, coverups, and bad technology (huge, positive void, graphite moderated cauldrons = blatant stupidity), and it was all publicly funded, from the reactor design work in the 50s, to the construction of the plant in the late 70s/mid 80s. The fact they named it the 'V.I Lenin' NPP is a fitting ironic epitaph because the issue was his politics.. Defending the ideology became more important than the laws of physics. This leads to the same kinds of shortcuts taken for profit moti

    • by doccus (2020662)
      How in the world can anyone call spent fuel rods "safe"? Nuclear power plants produce the most toxic waste of any industry in the world...
  • Herpaderp derp (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @01:03PM (#44337225)

    were believed to have been exposed to enough radiation to cause potential problems. The figure is a 10-fold increase on TEPCO's previous estimate

    Well, yeah. The original estimates were made during a crisis situation and based on limited data. Let's all act shocked now that more comprehensive data is available and the estimate has been revised by an order of magnitude. And yet people act shocked when they take their car into the mechanic for a "strange noise" and demand a quote on the spot, then get irritated when the number goes up because "strange noise" turned out to be something more serious than a loose fitting.

    Sigh. This isn't exactly news. We knew that as time went on and more eyeballs were put on Fukushima we were going to find more problems, and more accurate data. That's nothing more than the result of an application of scientific process... it's been doing the same thing the world over for thousands of years.

    • Re:Herpaderp derp (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bsolar (1176767) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @01:34PM (#44337317)

      Well, yeah. The original estimates were made during a crisis situation and based on limited data. Let's all act shocked now that more comprehensive data is available and the estimate has been revised by an order of magnitude.

      That's not correct. The estimates the article talks about were made in December 2012 and submitted to the World Health Organization, so well after the crisis. The objections came from Japan's Health Ministry which was concerned that the estimates looked far too conservative. From the article:

      TEPCO reported to the World Health Organization in December that only 178 workers at the plant were believed to have received radiation doses to their thyroid glands above 100 millisieverts.

      Japan's health ministry voiced concern that the criteria the company used in its estimates of exposure for its own workers as well as for those employed by contractors were too narrow, and called on the utility to re-evaluate its methods.

      There were also errors in calculations and differences of interpretation.

      TL;DR: the problem was not limited data but wrong methodology.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        TL;DR: the problem was not limited data but wrong methodology.

        Okay... which again, is the scientific process at work. Hello peer review. But I still don't see how this is news -- it doesn't change what will happen to the workers, or the care they're receiving, or affect the clean up, or any other aspect of the disaster or after-action activities. The only newsworthy comment is that TEPCO management is obviously incompetent -- in much the same way engineers at NASA repeatedly warned management about the risks in the shuttle program, and management repeatedly ignored th

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bsolar (1176767)

          TL;DR -- Bureaucracy is the same everywhere.

          That might be but this "bureaucracy" and mismanagement is hurting nuclear power. There are countries which decided to ditch it and others which put in place a stop to new nuclear power plant projects. In my country thankfully nuclear power is still supported and the "renewables" holy grail is seen as some interesting long-term project but not up to the task right now. Still every fuck-up by TEPCO & Co. takes the headlines and gives pretty good ammunition to nuclear power opposers which have already a pr

    • Well, yeah. But the pattern is always the same - as in oil spills. Initial report hundreds of gallons, then thousands of gallons, then thousands of barrels, then ultimately, millions of barrels. It's just so hard to estimate.

  • I don't want to talk about risk etc. but can we please get accurate statistics on this one? Because the risk that it is possible that radiation can cause thyriod cancer is good to know, but I am interested how many workers in Fukushima actually got or might get cancer incompare to the unbelievable low numbers in Chernobyl.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Almost every single child living near Chernobyl had their thyroids removed after numerous growths were found. Therefore there is no way to know how many would have developed full cancer, but certainly some people did.

      Quite a few children living near Fukushima are now showing growths on their thyroids too, but these things take years to be measured and resolved so for the next couple of decades at least there will be a great deal of uncertainly about the numbers.

      Claiming that because we don't know the number

      • by khallow (566160)

        Quite a few children living near Fukushima are now showing growths on their thyroids too

        It's worth remembering here that quite a few children would be showing growths on their thyroids even in the absence of any exposure to radiation from a nuclear accident. The key factor is that people are actually looking now. What makes this observation noteworthy rather than just another mundane case of observation bias?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      unbelievable low numbers in Chernobyl.

      WTF is "unbelievable" about Chernobyl? Over 50 people died directly. Another dozen or so died directly attributed to cancer from Chernobyl. We have learned that there is lots of benign cancer in a population - natural background cancers. That is the *real* data. There is also real data that there was no leukemia spike from Chernobyl that was expected based on LNT. There goes the hype, at least if you are rational.

      I guess that does not live up to the hype some have spread thickly around because of "evil radi

    • A very large number of workers died, about 20%. The broader exposure will likely bring about between 30,000 and 60,000 excess cancer deaths, some in countries that never got any electricity from Chernobyl ever. http://www.chernobylreport.org/?p=summary [chernobylreport.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought the main reason for the increase in Thyroid cancer came from exposure to radioactive Iodine which is stored and concentrated in thyroid to be released as needed. Evolutionarily this makes since Iodine is a important chemical for the body but is rare in my places so holding on to it when it is available was quite advantages. If the Thyroid has enough Iodine it passes on newer sources(I believe), so am wondering if the majority of people today don't enough Iodine from salt to greatly reduce they Thy

    • by somepunk (720296)

      The best natural source of Iodine is seafood. The Japanese probably get a pretty good dose of Iodine from their normal diet. Also, administration of Potassium Iodate pills are pretty standard procedure when there's a nuclear incident, so without any specific information to the contrary, I would expect that these workers had enough nonradioactive Iodine in them at the time of exposure.

      • by sFurbo (1361249)

        Also, administration of Potassium Iodate pills are pretty standard procedure

        Shouldn't that be potassium iodide? Or are they using iodate?

  • by jkflying (2190798) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @01:23PM (#44337291)

    Just because they are at a "heightened risk of thyroid cancer" doesn't mean that they are going to get cancer. It means that they are more likely to get it than people who weren't exposed to the radiation. Only 2000 people at a heightened risk, as a result of a nuclear power plant being hit by a tsunami? Not bad, I say.

    Next time, don't build a nuclear power plant where it can be hit by a tsunami, though. That was just stupid.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Only 2000 people at a heightened risk, as a result of a nuclear power plant being hit by a tsunami? Not bad, I say.

      The law says that if they can prove the link TEPCO will have to compensate them. The fact that TEPCO has admitted the new stats are correct is quire worrying, since it indicates that they think it is somewhat inevitable and would rather just pay up than waste money fighting it in court only to lose.

      Next time, don't build a nuclear power plant where it can be hit by a tsunami, though. That was just stupid.

      Nuclear plants need to be built near large bodies of water. That's why many are on the coast. Sometimes you can find an inland lake that is suitable, but Japan has rather limited options.

      Besides which the plan wa

      • by khallow (566160)

        Even without the tsunami it would have been bad enough to cause at least one meltdown.

        No, with the cooling system still active, none of the reactors would have been in danger of meltdown because they would have never gotten hot enough to boil water. As evidence consider that there were many other reactors effected by this earthquake as well. For example, 11 reactors scrammed during the earthquake. None of these other reactors came close to a meltdown.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          The cooling system was damaged by the earthquake. It wasn't known at the time but has since come to light that some of the pipework was broken and water pumped in to cool the one of the cores never reached it.

          Remember that Fukushima was only designed to withstand a magnitude 7.7 earthquake.

          • by khallow (566160)

            The cooling system was damaged by the earthquake. It wasn't known at the time but has since come to light that some of the pipework was broken and water pumped in to cool the one of the cores never reached it.

            If that were true, then that reactor would have overheated in the nine hours of cooling effort before the on site batteries were drained. Instead, that overheating happened afterward.

            Remember that Fukushima was only designed to withstand a magnitude 7.7 earthquake.

            Remember that Fukushima wasn't at the epicenter of the earthquake. The actual shaking it received was about 20% over its upper design threshold.

    • That was not _a_ tsunami, that was _the_ tsunami... Something clearly exceptional that was not anticipated (let alone the M9 earthquake).
    • Next time, don't build a nuclear power plant where it can be hit by a tsunami, though. That was just stupid.

      Except that the enormous loss of life wasn't because they built a nuke on the coast. It was because (like everyone who has a coast), they built *everything* on the coast: homes, schools, factories, offices, railroads, etc. The reactor complex actually turned out to be one of the safest places to be during the tsunami.

  • MOTO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @01:28PM (#44337305)

    WoW. MOTO article.

    Ever person that works at a nuclear power plant knows and understands the risk of thyroid cancer due to exposure to radioactive Iodine. If anything, the workers know that this is true, understand the technicals for why it is mitigated with potassium tablets, and are okay with the increased risk of a very treatable condition. I've worked in the industry for more than 10 years and I KNOW this is true.

    Many emergency responders that work in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant know this too. I KNOW this is true as I dated someone that was an emergency responder.

    So maybe we should publish other articles on Slashdot.

    -Higher risk of being shot in Chicago than on a farm in Montana.
    -Higher risk of dying in a car accident when traveling faster.
    -You are more likely to suffocate if you inhale your pool versus inhaling at your neighborhood park.

    Not to discredit how much having cancer sucks. But thyroid cancer is very treatable today. Especially when you have a known group of people that are more susceptible to it and therefore can be tested more thoroughly for early warning signs.

    Oh slashdot.. I miss the old you...

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      The difference is that these people can sue TEPCO for damages. In all the examples you provide either no single entity is responsible or the person being injured did it to themselves.

      Nuclear power just got a little bit more unaffordable.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The difference is that there is no difference. Every official announcement so far about the dangers and risks has had to have been revised upwards because they were deliberately blowing sunshine up everyone's collective asses each time, even while some experts were making highly accurate guesses about the extent of release by doing nothing more than scrutinizing some low-resolution video.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      If anything, the workers know that this is true, understand the technicals for why it is mitigated with potassium tablets

      I think that you mean Iodine tablets. The idea is to flood the thyroid with (non-radioactive) Iodine, so that the uptake of any radioactive Iodine by the thyroid is minimized. No other organ absorbs Iodine.

      • by Smivs (1197859)
        In fact you are both right. The medication used is Potassium iodide tablets - Iodine alone is a volatile and very unpleasant substance and you wouldn't want to take it!
        • Yeah. I meant potassium iodide. Didn't realize I missed a word when I typed it up. Thanks for the correction. :)

    • by antdude (79039)

      WoW = World of Warcraft. :P

  • Small Risk (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @01:37PM (#44337327)

    This article is preposterous. 100 milliseiverts is the lowest level for which there is believed to be an increased risk long term of getting cancer. The increase in rate is believed to be about 2%.

    Now for the adult population the rate of thyroid cancer is about 1% of all cancers, or .25% of the population.

    Throw in the fact that the cure rate for thyroid cancer is 95% or so and it is apparent that the odds of any of these people dying from this exposure is quite small.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      YOU AND YOUR "FACTS." These workers are as good as dead. We should put them out of their misery before they get cancer and have suffer. There anyway as good as dead. Fact No one who work with or around radiation pre-1900s is alive today. That's all I need to know.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      Throw in the fact that the cure rate for thyroid cancer is 95%

      For the most common types of Thyroid cancer, doctors will often recommend no treatment for older patients because the rates at which it develops is very slow.

    • You answered exactly what I was planning to ask about, and it is pretty awful journalism that the numbers you quote were omitted from TFA. If I'm interpreting your numbers correctly, that would result in 1973*0.25%*2%*(1-95%) = 0.005 extra thyroid cancer deaths total. Not exactly the picture the article was painting.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        The article's statistics made me die a little inside too.

      • by sFurbo (1361249)
        You shouldn't multiply with 0.25%, should you? So the number of extra deaths is 2 [google.com], on top of the 5 natural ones. Still very little compared to the tsunami. Somebody elsewhere in the thread said that it represented 0.5% extra risk of cancer, leading to a whopping 0.5 extra cancer deaths.
        • by amaurea (2900163)

          Normally 0.25% of the 1973 people (i.e. 4.9325 people) would get thyroid cancer from natural causes. The extra radiation increased this rate by 2%, turning it into 0.255% instead (i.e. 5.0312), with the difference being 0.25%*2% = 0.005% (0.987 people). An increase from 0.25% to 2.25% (which I think is what you're thinking of) would correspond to an 800% increase. While it is conceivable that that is what the grandparent meant, I think it is unlikely. In that case he should have said a 2 percentage point in

          • by amaurea (2900163)

            That should have been 0.0987 people corresponding to 0.005%, of course.

          • by sFurbo (1361249)
            Ah, increase is relative to the number of cancer deaths, not to the number of people irradiated. Got that.
    • by Megane (129182)
      They're probably more likely to get cancer from smoking [slashdot.org] too much. Japanese men tend to smoke like chimneys. Only recently has there even significant progress in banning smoking inside buildings.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This goes against slashdot doctrine!

    Nobody will ever die because of Nuclear Power. Sleeping with your arms around a nuclear rod every night gives you the same exposure to radiation as eating 1 small banana!

       

  • 100 mSv is the lowest dose linked to an increased risk of cancer (source: http://xkcd.com/radiation/). I imagine the risk would be much less when iodine supplements are taken. Since the Japanese are a generally cautious people, I expect this was the case.

  • by yesterdaystomorrow (1766850) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @02:11PM (#44337475)
    Suppose the Fukushima complex had been coal-fired rather than nuclear. For decades, it would have contaminated the air and surrounding land with megatons of toxic emissions, harming the health and shortening the lives of its neighbors. Miners would have died supplying the coal. When the tsunami hit, many workers would have died, since coal plants are much less robust than nuclear. The debris wave from the plant would have killed more. I don't think there can be any doubt that, while not perfectly safe, the use of nuclear technology in this location saved many lives. But coal gets a free ride in the press, which downplays its hazards. Anything nuclear gets the fear treatment.
    • You have to wonder if there are the same people who said the 50 workers that went back in would be dead by now.

    • Well, well, uranium just appears out of the thin air and does not have to be mined and refined. It is also not like uranium mining was considered prison labour because it was so dangerous.

      • Well, well, uranium just appears out of the thin air and does not have to be mined and refined. It is also not like uranium mining was considered prison labour because it was so dangerous.

        Coal and uranium mining are both very dangerous. But the big difference is that while you need tons of uranium to fuel a nuke, you need megatons of coal to fuel a coal plant. The difference in quantity of material and waste dominates the hazard calculation.

        • Except that you don't mine pure uranium, you mine uranium ore (pitchblende), and you need a lot of it to extract a bit of natural uranium. Even worse, pitchblende itself is not as easily mined as coal, because if you have got a coalbed, it consists of mostly, well, coal. If you mine pitchblende, then you go through a lot of rock you need to discard first.

          • Except that you don't mine pure uranium, you mine uranium ore (pitchblende), and you need a lot of it to extract a bit of natural uranium. Even worse, pitchblende itself is not as easily mined as coal, because if you have got a coalbed, it consists of mostly, well, coal. If you mine pitchblende, then you go through a lot of rock you need to discard first.

            Coal exists in narrow seams, too. Massive, destructive strip mining or very dangerous underground mining are required to access it. Coal mining would need to be a million times less unhealthy and destructive than uranium mining to be competitive on safety and environmental impact. It isn't.

          • by thegarbz (1787294)

            Yes, uranium mining has all these things going against it, yet one uranium mine still produces the same amount of thermal energy as 5-9 coal mines of the same size depending on who's statistics you read.

            That and when normalised to a common unit the deaths per TWh of energy generated for nuclear is still orders of magnitude lower than coal.

            Bring on the pitchblende

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Would coal pollution necessitate an exclusion zone? And how long will that exclusion zone be uninhabitable except by rats? Then there's the ocean...

      http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/10/opinion/buesseler-fukushima-ocean

      Yeah, coal is nasty, but radiation is a whole other level of pollution.

      • Would coal pollution necessitate an evacuation zone? It absolutely would if coal was held to the same standards as nuclear.
      • by khallow (566160)

        And how long will that exclusion zone be uninhabitable except by rats?

        It's worth noting that no such zone exists for Fukushima. Even if Japan continues to block habitation of the land around Fukushima, it can still be used for industrial purposes. For example, it'd be a great place to put a bunch of nuclear plants.

        • I like that! Doubling down on Fukushima.

          But you don't live there, do you?
          • by khallow (566160)

            I like that! Doubling down on Fukushima.

            But you don't live there, do you?

            Nobody does, remember? And the second "bet" is automatically less risky because nobody lives there any more.

  • In other news Fukushima daiichi plant chief at the time of the accident died of cancer a few days ago. What a coincidence, maybe it has something to do with radiation.

    Link to WSJ article [wsj.com]

    • by fullback (968784)

      If you had read the article you cited, you wouldn't have posted what you did.
      Are you an editor for a tabloid?

    • by khallow (566160)
      It's worth remembering here that he died too early to be affected by his mild radiation exposure from the Fukushima accident. And frankly, otherwise healthy people who are going to die in a couple of years would be ideal for dealing with radiation releases like Fukushima.
      • I was just going to leave the one reply to your other post, but then I saw *this* gem.

        You really are a don't-give-a-fuck-about-anybody-else kind of guy, aren't you?

        Just think of the other applications! Use those people who are "going to die in a couple of years" to go clean out the asbestos from old buildings! Use them for carcinogenic chemical spills!

        Are you trolling, or do you really believe certain classes of people are objects to be used up to their maximum profit?
        • by khallow (566160)

          You really are a don't-give-a-fuck-about-anybody-else kind of guy, aren't you?

          You would be wrong here. But I'm used to the clueless making that sort of accusation.

          Just think of the other applications! Use those people who are "going to die in a couple of years" to go clean out the asbestos from old buildings! Use them for carcinogenic chemical spills!

          Ok, I'm thinking of it. What's the problem here? I see the problem being that you never bother to change the clean up process so that it doesn't harm people. That's not an issue with Fukushima because it was a one time thing.

          Are you trolling, or do you really believe certain classes of people are objects to be used up to their maximum profit?

          Well, how about you? I have just as much reason to believe you hold that belief.

        • by khallow (566160)
          As an aside, your supposed "maximum profit" here became dealing with reactor accidents, including several meltdowns, so that they didn't get worse. How would the people who supposedly care about other people do better here? Protect emergency workers by keeping them away from the self-destructing nuclear reactors? How much harm would be caused by a policy of allowing uncontrolled meltdowns to just go on for years?
  • Good sources of natural dietary iodine include kelp, and other sea vegetables and fish as well. So the traditional Japanese diet has a helpful side-effect of tending to limit the uptake of Iodine-131 into the Thyroid and other body glands.
  • by peter303 (12292) on Saturday July 20, 2013 @08:45PM (#44339453)
    Putting their health and maybe their lives on the line to make others in Japan safer.
  • This is both good and bad news.

    The babble about thyroid cancer tells me that this is related to the escape of short lived iodine isotopes.

    This is vastly better than the same dose from longer lived isotopes which keep on giving and giving.

    This was also predictable because these very active alpha emitters are darn hard to measure. Alpha particles are easy to shield and it is mostly the thyroids bio affinity for iodine that makes this a problem. There is data from decades of radioactive iodine upt

  • Clean, safe, inexpensive.
    Yep.

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