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A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Old 06-06-13, 08:33 AM
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A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/jap...604-2nomz.html
Heard much about Fukushima lately? You know, the disaster that spread deadly contamination across Japan and spelt the end for the nuclear industry.

You should have, because recent authoritative reports have reached a remarkable conclusion about a supposedly "deadly" disaster. No one died, nor is likely to die, according to the most comprehensive assessments since the Fukushima nuclear plant was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The accident competed for media space with the deaths of nearly 20,000 people in the magnitude 9.0 quake 1000 times worse than the Christchurch quake and tsunami, which wholly or partly destroyed more than a million buildings.

The nuclear workers were the living dead, we were told; hundreds of thousands would die if the plant exploded; even if that didn't happen, affected areas would be uninhabitable and residents' health would suffer for generations.

Instead, two independent international reports conclude that radiative material released from Fukushima's four damaged reactors, three of which melted down, has had negligible health impacts.

In February, the World Health Organisation reported there would be no noticeable increases in cancer rates for the overall population. A third of emergency workers were at some increased risk.

While infants in two localised hot spots were likely to have a 6 per cent relative increase in female breast cancer and 7 per cent relative increase in male leukaemia, WHO cautioned this was a small change. The lifetime risk of thyroid cancer, which is treatable, is only 0.75 per cent, so even in the worst-affected location it rose to only 1.25 per cent.

Now the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation has drawn on 80 scientists from 18 countries to produce a draft report that concludes: "Radiation exposure following the nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi did not cause any immediate health effects. It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers."

The committee has had two years to build a fuller picture of radiation dosages (measured as mSv) and impacts. It finds most Japanese in the first and second years were exposed to lower doses from the accident than from natural background radiation's 2-3 mSv a year.

Also, "No radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers involved at the accident site. Given the small number of highly exposed workers, it is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure would be detectable."

Those workers, who were allowed a maximum short-term dose of 250 mSv, have been closely monitored. Of 167 exposed to more than the industry's recommended five-year limit of 100 mSv (a CT scan exposes patients to up to 10 mSv), 23 recorded 150-200 mSv, three 200-250 mSv and six up to 678 mSv, still short of the 1000 mSv single dosage that causes radiation sickness, or the accumulated exposure estimated to cause a fatal cancer years later in 5 per cent of people.

So, not even one case of radiation sickness to report.

A swift evacuation of 200,000 residents within a 20-kilometre radius of the plant helped protect them WHO estimated most residents of Fukushima prefecture received doses of 1-10 mSv in the first year. By August 2011, however, the dose rate at the plant boundary was only 1.7 mSv a year.

The rapid decay of most of the radioactive material (iodine-131, which reduced to a 16th of its original activity in a month) also means the evacuated area has not been permanently blighted. Many residents have returned, although some areas have restricted entry until radiation drops below the 20 mSv-a-year threshold, expected in 2016-17.

Nor has the environment been devastated. The report says: "The exposures on both marine and terrestrial non-human biota were too low for observable acute effects."

The quake and tsunami damage is the real catastrophe.

About 1000 deaths have been attributed to evacuations. About 90 per cent were people older than 66, who suffered from the trauma of evacuation and living in shelters. Sadly, those of them who left areas where radiation was no greater than in naturally high background areas would have been better off staying.

Let's be clear, Fukushima was hit by a worst-case scenario: the world's fifth-most-powerful earthquake since 1900, a tsunami twice as high as the plant was built to withstand, and follow-up quakes of magnitudes 7.1 and 6.3. A Japanese commission of inquiry described it as a "man-made disaster" because of regulatory failure and lack of a safety culture.

This "perfect storm" hit a nuclear plant built to a 50-year-old design and no one died. Japan moved a few metres east during a three-minute quake and the local coastline subsided half a metre, but the 11 reactors operating in four nuclear power plants in the region all shut down automatically. None suffered significant damage. (The tsunami disabled Fukushima's cooling system.)


Yet such is the imbalance of dread to risk on matters nuclear that this accident was enough to turn public opinion and governments against nuclear power. Never mind that coal mining kills almost 6000 people a year, or that populations of coal-mining areas have death rates about 10 per cent higher than non-mining areas, or that coal emissions drive global warming.

And surely the fact that the more modern Onagawa nuclear plant was twice as close to the quake epicentre and shut down as designed, without incident, counts for something.

Japan struggled without 30 per cent of its generating capacity for almost two years before electing pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in December. About 50 reactors are expected to restart within a year. Worldwide, more than 60 plants are being built and 300 are in the licensing process, the strongest growth since the 1970s.

Fukushima was serious, but it was not the end of the debate about nuclear power, nor should it be. And it's hardly an informed debate when the good news about smaller health impacts than anyone dared expect is so widely neglected.
Interesting read. And good news for nukes. Though we currently have more power than we need, most of it is costly wind power, dirty coal, etc., it would be nice to get back to more nukes and make power super cheap. Cheap power helps the economy in so many ways.
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Old 06-06-13, 08:36 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

I work for an international engineering company that builds power plants. I have kept up on this story and was glad to read this update. Thanks.
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Old 06-06-13, 08:45 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Yeah maybe things are rosey now, but what is lurking below the waters?
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Old 06-06-13, 08:45 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

"No one died, nor is likely to die ..."

Is it too late to fly over there and get in on the immortality deal?
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Old 06-06-13, 09:06 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

The media went into a meltdown of overreaction and hyperbole?

Where did I put my shocked face?
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Old 06-06-13, 09:07 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

I have asian coworkers who blame the infamous Japanese pride with under reporting damages from this shameful national blunder. They are convinced that there is a lot that will come to the surface from food and babies damaged from the radiation.

Reminds me of this story:

"More than 230,000 Japanese centenarians 'missing' "
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11258071
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Old 06-06-13, 09:35 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
Yeah maybe things are rosey now, but what is lurking below the waters?
godzilla??
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Old 06-06-13, 10:08 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

That's a dumb article. The damage to Fukushima and Japan is a lot more than can be measured in the number of deaths and wounded.

There are a ton of articles and video documentaries of the disruption and economic impact to people who live in the region. You can't say that because only a few died and few developed cancer, that it is all OK. Ask the Japanese how many support the nuclear industry now, and they will tell you. Maybe the author knows better than them.

And if it can happen in Japan because of their supposed "lack of safety culture", why would it not happen in many other places? Are other countries more safety conscious than Japan?
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Old 06-06-13, 10:25 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Coal power plants produce more radioactive waste than nuclear plants do, and they poison the environment on every level in the worst ways. Anyone truly worried about 'global warming' should be the loudest champions of nuclear power, but the propaganda the Greenpeace-type organizations created in the 70's hangs around to this day in environmental circles.

The article is pushing the 'rosy picture' stuff a bit much, but it's accurate overall as to how little catastrophic damage came from such a 'worst case' scenario. It's amazing. But.. radiation levels continue to increase in waterways in Japan, this year, this month. Radiation in food for hundreds of kilometers around the site is being found with poisonous levels of radiation in it. Rice, etc. So the overall fallout of the damage will be a long time coming. It won't be anything like it was expected to be, even at that.

Still... overall it is kind of miraculous how well the whole thing turned out.
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Old 06-06-13, 11:09 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by Krayzie View Post
godzilla??
It took ten years for Godzilla to appear after Japan got nuked. Way too early to tell on this one..
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Old 06-06-13, 11:34 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

As always, it is far less damaging than was predicted (talking about the power plant part, not the earthquake and tsunami). Three Mile Island, Exxon Valdez, BP Gulf explosion and leak, even Chernobyl. This is not to say they are not disasters (well, that may be a little strong for Three Mile Island) but all are far less disastrous than the press and environmentalist weep and wail about.

Life is risk (among other things) and bad things are going to happen when we advance civilization. But it's far better than if we had never done these things. I wouldn't trade what fossil fuels and nuclear power have made possible (including a vastly better life for a vastly increased number of people) for what it would be if we had never had them.
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Old 06-06-13, 11:36 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
It took ten years for Godzilla to appear after Japan got nuked. Way too early to tell on this one..
I'm glad I'll probably be dead by 2021.
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Old 06-06-13, 11:39 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

BP was much worse than the public was lead to believe - it's still leaking now - as was Exxon Valdez.
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Old 06-06-13, 11:43 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by Dr Mabuse View Post
Anyone truly worried about 'global warming' should be the loudest champions of nuclear power, but the propaganda the Greenpeace-type organizations created in the 70's hangs around to this day in environmental circles.
One of the earliest members and former president of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, has become an advocate of nuclear power.
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Old 06-06-13, 11:46 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ln8-Y-fIbqM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Old 06-06-13, 11:47 AM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

The wisdom of Germany:

http://carboncounter.wordpress.com/2...-power-plants/
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Old 06-06-13, 12:04 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
It took ten years for Godzilla to appear after Japan got nuked. Way too early to tell on this one..
Originally Posted by movielib View Post
I'm glad I'll probably be dead by 2021.
I am sure by then they will have an army of Gundam mechs to defeat Godzilla.
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Old 06-06-13, 01:03 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by Krayzie View Post
I am sure by then they will have an army of Gundam mechs to defeat Godzilla.
Actually, the top-secret Gundam factory was washed away by the tsunami. Giant rusted gundam shells have been washing up onshore for the past two years. They've kept it out of the media, although Sunrise is putting together a new Gundam season about it.
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Old 06-06-13, 01:17 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by movielib View Post
I'm glad I'll probably be dead by 2021.
If only you had been at Fukushima.
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Old 06-06-13, 01:19 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by movielib View Post
I'm glad I'll probably be dead by 2021.
That's only 8 years from now...uhh everything ok?
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Old 06-06-13, 01:29 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
Actually, the top-secret Gundam factory was washed away by the tsunami. Giant rusted gundam shells have been washing up onshore for the past two years. They've kept it out of the media, although Sunrise is putting together a new Gundam season about it.
Well, the Japanese are developing a new, cheaper and easier to use anti-Godzilla weapon, however, the kinks still need to be worked out.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/nwBHI2hQ1D4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Old 06-06-13, 01:35 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by kuroiinu View Post
That's a dumb article. The damage to Fukushima and Japan is a lot more than can be measured in the number of deaths and wounded.

There are a ton of articles and video documentaries of the disruption and economic impact to people who live in the region. You can't say that because only a few died and few developed cancer, that it is all OK. Ask the Japanese how many support the nuclear industry now, and they will tell you. Maybe the author knows better than them.

And if it can happen in Japan because of their supposed "lack of safety culture", why would it not happen in many other places? Are other countries more safety conscious than Japan?
Actually, it says that no one died, and no one developed cancer. And to argue "economic impact" is a bit silly. Without the tsunami, how much impact would this have had on their economy by itself?

And to think that asking the Japanese if they support the nuclear industry? Well, what did Americans think about it after Three Mile Island where nobody died, nobody was injured, and no study has ever shown any effect from the small amount of radiation that got out? It's silly to think that people can't vastly overreact to these things. And like the article says, they did just elect a pro-nuke prime minister. I think that says something about what they think.

As to your last paragraph of fear, we are talking about a 50 year old plant that was hit by a tsunami twice the size of what it was designed to withstand, was getting ready to be scuttled, and the 11 other newer reactors in the area had zero problems.
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Old 06-06-13, 01:59 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
That's only 8 years from now...uhh everything ok?
Yeah, that really was just a joke.

I've got a bunch of conditions but absolutely nothing life threatening. I'm probably the healthiest nonhealthy 66 year old person on the planet.

But then my mother died at 58 and my father at 71.
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Old 06-06-13, 02:05 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by kuroiinu View Post
And if it can happen in Japan because of their supposed "lack of safety culture", why would it not happen in many other places? Are other countries more safety conscious than Japan?
After the levels of gross incompetence and cronyism displayed by tepco and the rest of the nuclear crowd there, I'd say yes, most countries that use nuclear power are more safety conscious than japan.
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Old 06-06-13, 02:07 PM
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Re: A look back at Fukushima. No one dead, no one sick.

Originally Posted by JasonF View Post
If only you had been at Fukushima.
Hormesis!
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