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Japan Re-Opens Some Towns Near Fukushima

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the going-home dept.

Japan 178

JSBiff writes "Bloomberg, among others, is reporting that the Japanese government has partially lifted the Fukushima evacuation order, allowing residents to return to five towns previously in the evacuation zone. Additionally, a key milestone has been reached in achieving a full 'cold shutdown' of the damaged reactors — the temperature of all three reactors has dropped below 100 deg. C. It's a shame these people were unable to return home for six months. For people who lived closer to the plant, they might never be allowed to return home. Now, the question is: will residents actually want to return, other than to maybe retrieve stuff they left behind?"

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Ban nuclear! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594442)

burn japs instead!

Re:Ban nuclear! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37595848)

But the women are soooo cute? Just burn the salarymen instead?

"Re-Opens"? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594468)

Having read the article, it seems the summary is completely inaccurate, as the five towns in question were not evacuated. The government is just lifting a "be prepared for evacuation" warning.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37594522)

To be a bit more accurate, these were apparently voluntary evacuation zones where people were asked to evacuate or stay indoors. The NEI Nuclear Notes link says that around 28,500 were evacuated from that zone.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (2, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | about 3 years ago | (#37594532)

Ssh, we can't have accuracy enter into our nuclear hysteria!

Now, the question is: will residents actually want to return, other than to maybe retrieve stuff they left behind?

Some of the residents of Pripyat and other town inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone have returned to their homes, against the wishes of the Ukrainian government, as unless you're eating food grown from the soil there (or regularly bathing in groundwater) the health dangers are minimal. And that was a for worse incident than in Fukushima, albeit one where many decay products have already decayed, and the majority of the remaining danger is from heavy metal poisoning.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (4, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about 3 years ago | (#37594668)

The really neat thing about living in the UK is the BBC. Just today I watched "Bang goes the Theory" on nuclear power. They didn't treat it with hysteria, and they put into perspective the death tolls from Chernobyl, and the Fukoshima reactor etc. They also pointed out that most active nuclear tech is from the 70's, and modern tech is safer still.

Hopefully, enough of the populace here in Britain will become more educated on the topic, and be able to make a rational decision. And hey, even if you don't want it, please, for the love of whatever, base it on scientific knowledge, and not the hysteria saying that you don't want those naughty neutrons in your backyard.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (2)

amorsen (7485) | about 3 years ago | (#37594762)

Once 30 years have passed without incident, the industry and the regulators get complacent. The same thing happens in e.g. finance.

We have the technology to make nuclear power perfectly safe. It is just too tempting to cut a corner here or there when nothing bad has happened for a long time.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 3 years ago | (#37595382)

Regulation is what got us in the financial mess to begin with.

As for Japan, when nature decides to deliver the fifth largest earthquake next to a nuclear power plant, there isn't much you can do. Yes, I know hindsight is 20/20, but really, Fukushima was designed to withstand the vast majority of earthquakes, it was only a freak disaster that caused this. Yes, it could have been handled better, but nothing can be perfectly safe or perfectly foolproof.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37595492)

Regulation is what got us in the financial mess to begin with.

WTF? Were you alive in the last 20 years? I guess you missed the complete deregulation of financial sector by Clinton and later by Bush...

Yes, I know hindsight is 20/20, but really, Fukushima was designed to withstand the vast majority of earthquakes, it was only a freak disaster that caused this

It wasn't an earthquake. It was a tsunami. A tsunami is a word that originates in *Japan*. The tsunami on the scale that hit the east coast happens once every 300-odd years. And not planning for it is very very shortsighted considering lifespan of nuclear plants is 40-60 years.

Nothing is completely safe and foolproof, but plans for nuclear power plant getting swamped due to tsunami should have been in place. Maybe they couldn't have prepared for a small spacerock pulverizing the site, but sure as hell they should have prepared for a tsunami.

I'm an environmentalist and a nuclear power proponent, and unfortunately this lack of planning by Japan has set their energy independence decades away never mind the cost to the environment thanks to extra pollution from fossil fuels. The latter is a world wide problem - just look at impact of extra coal pollution from Germany over next 50 years.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37595804)

Don't be retarded. How many times in Japanese history has Japan been struck by tsunamis? Clue: LOTS.

The original site of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station was a hill. This was levelled, by the cretinous Japanese government, so they could build the power station at sea level. Presumably so it'd be more vulnerable to a tsunami hitting it.

There's plenty of INLAND where a power station could have been built, or even "above sea level", but no.

Look, I live in Japan, and I see day in day out what sort of crap the government here gets away with pulling. Putting the power station where it was was utter fucktardery, no if or buts, beginning, middle and end of story. A first-grade junior high school student would know better.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

microbox (704317) | about 3 years ago | (#37595838)

Regulation is what got us in the financial mess to begin with.

Alan Greenspan and co pushed for deregulation in financial markets to the point that even /fraud/ was not investigated, since that would be an inefficiency. "Let the market sort it out." Greenspan even got emergency legislation pushed through congress in order to prevent Brooksley Born [wikipedia.org] from carrying out her federal mandate in investigating fraud in derivative markets. It was *specifically* this policy that enabled the wide-spread fraud that almost brought down the entire world economy in 2008.

But I am sure that you think you know best. Regulation created the financial mess. So sad.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 3 years ago | (#37595892)

Regulation is what got us in the financial mess to begin with.

Yes, never let the facts get in the way of an ideology!

Yes, I know hindsight is 20/20, but really, Fukushima was designed to withstand the vast majority of earthquakes, it was only a freak disaster that caused this.

But it was not hindsight. Prior to the tsunami there were already experts warning about safety [japanfocus.org] of nuclear power plants in Japan and of the type of plant used at Fukushima specifically [telegraph.co.uk] . A freak disaster was exactly the thing that you should be planning for.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 3 years ago | (#37595994)

Regulation is what got us in the financial mess to begin with.....Taxation is legalized theft, no more, no less.

Proof that the invisible hand will eagerly provide a whip for your self flagellation.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#37596232)

Regulation is what got us in the financial mess to begin with.

Yes we'd clearly be better off with a law of the jungle type situation. Instead of this civilized post on a blog we could fight to the death dressed like gladiators.

Find my statement ridiculous? I like to reciprocate.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | about 3 years ago | (#37596668)

Take your copy of Atlas Shrugged and shove it up your anus.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37595700)

In the last 30 years, we had the 1980s Savings & Loan heist under deregulation, the 1992 recession under more deregulation, the 1999 .com bubble and crash under further deregulation, and the 2006-2011 mortgage bubble crash under the most extreme deregulation. Not to mention the many stock market crashes and bailouts outside those bottoms, like Long Term Capital and several market halts under Clinton. All enabled by deregulation.

There are likewise plenty of "incidents" at nuke plants. The Indian Point plant just a couple dozen miles upstream from NYC routinely leaks tritium into groundwater - and that's just what they admit.

There is nothing that is "perfectly safe". Nukes are the kind of thing that, when not "perfectly safe", periodically will cause intolerable damage. Since they, like anything else, will never be "perfectly safe", they can be counted on for periodic intolerable damage.

A self-respecting society that learns from its regular mistakes would outlaw these reckless risks. Instead the richest people build their wealth on it, and among the rest of us they can count on enough of us to explain it all away. Relying on amnesia has been paying off pretty reliably.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 3 years ago | (#37596550)

The parent comment deserves to be modded way up. It isn't that Nuclear tech is unsafe inherently, it is that we need to ensure the companies building and maintaining the plants are not cutting costs at the expense of safety. That is the lesson of Fukushima.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 3 years ago | (#37596940)

My claim is also that it is impossible to ensure a sufficient level of regulation. After 30 years, society forgets why the rules were put in place.

One of the few exceptions are religious prohibitions, but I am not sure that letting monks run the nuclear power plants is the right answer.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 3 years ago | (#37594992)

However deaths that are actually alowed to happen are only one side of the story, the other thing that keeps getting brought up with nuclear disasters (see this article for instance) is the areas of land that are rendered unsuitable for their previous use (be that habitation, farming or whatever) because the way we prevent deaths is to avoid consuming food from contaminated areas and removing people completely from the most contaminated ones or (in the case of an ongoing incident) ones that may suddenly become highly contaminated if the incident gets worse.

My suspicion is in terms of overall "land area rendered unusable for it's previous purpose" nuclear power is fairly low down the scale but it would be nice to actually see the comparison with other accidents on that basis done properly and in a place the public will see it.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (3, Insightful)

quenda (644621) | about 3 years ago | (#37595184)

My suspicion is in terms of overall "land area rendered unusable for it's previous purpose" nuclear power is fairly low down the scale but it would be nice to actually see the comparison with other accidents

You don't need accidents. Hydroelectric, solar and wind power all render a larger area uninhabitable when they are working normally, than the Fukushima accident did, per MW.
Numbers from Solandri: http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2439490&cid=37474650 [slashdot.org]

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 3 years ago | (#37595340)

IMO accidents (and possiblly eminent domain uses) are the correct think to compare against. Not people voluntarily using the land they own to build windfarms.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 3 years ago | (#37596408)

However... Now consider land area * time... The wind turbines will probably be mothballed in 50 years, the land around Chernobyl will be un-farmable for millennia.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (3, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37595396)

Fossil fuel consumption is contaminating the whole planet, and threatening to make the whole world inhabitable. Or at least, thanks to rising sea levels, swamping complete nations. And don't forget the huge swathes of grassland that have become desert now.

It's not that the alternatives are so much better; it's more that nuclear issues are located around and easily directly attributed to the nuclear plant. All those deaths from air pollution caused by burning coal are generally not directly linked to that coal fired power plant 20 km away.

Fossil fuels, desertification, and earth on empty (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | about 3 years ago | (#37595466)

Fossil fuels aren't causing desertification. If anything, global warming would INCREASE water, not decrease it, since heat drives the water cycle. Just like when you step on the gas in a car, there is more heat in the cylinders and ultimately more power, not less.

Now if you said hurricanes, that would make more sense.

The worst risk is when the fuel runs out.

Mass starvation and deaths due to disease from lack of sanitation and lack of medicine could kill billions.

Hundreds of millions would die from cholera alone, hundreds of millions would die from lack of diabetes medicines alone. Hundreds of millions would die from starvation alone.

If all the lights go out forever, we could very well have over half of the Earth's population dead in a decade.

Re:Fossil fuels, desertification, and earth on emp (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37595544)

It is not clear what global warming may cause exactly. The system is too big, too complex for us to fully understand and model.

One of the interesting effects may be that Europe - at a fairly high latitude but still having a moderate climate - may actually cool down considerably, if the Gulf Stream stops bringing warm tropical waters to the area. A totally opposite effect than the name "global warming" or "greenhouse effect" suggest.

Some areas will get wetter, other areas may get dryer. Large parts of China and Australia have been suffering serious droughts over the last years, which is attributed to climate change. More typhoons/hurricanes are expected too, and besides strong winds they tend to bring a lot of rain indeed. The big issue with climate change is that while we know it's happening, we don't really know what the results will be. Weather patterns are expected to become more extreme, that's bad. Climate zones are shifting fast, faster than nature can keep up with, and that's bad too.

And then of course that little issue of oil running out, probably within a few decades, i.e. well within my lifetime. Coal we have enough of to last a lot longer, but that's even dirtier a fuel than oil. So indeed for that reason alone we should look at alternatives, preferably renewables but nuclear is I think also a good option for at least part of our energy needs. It definitely has it's problems, particularly the waste problem hasn't been solved yet. And anyway putting all your eggs in one basket is a bad idea no matter what, and now we're dependent on oil based fuels for nearly all our energy needs and that alone should be reason enough to look at alternatives.

Re:"Re-Opens"? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 years ago | (#37596636)

I didn't see that programme but did see the recent Horizon episode about the safety of nuclear power, and it missed two very important points.

Firstly the majority of children living near Chernobyl got cancer and had to have their thyroids removed. Sure, most of them didn't die but they are all now incapable of absorbing calcium, which causes problems with bones and teeth among other things. Few people may have died but who wants to risk getting cancer? If you have children the knowledge that they might become seriously ill but probably won't die isn't very comforting.

The second issue they skirted around is the economic impact. Nuclear power is already very expensive and heavily subsidised, and that is without considering the impact on land and property prices, people's jobs, insurance and so on.

Yes, perfectly safe . . . (0)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37595150)

Mind putting your money where your mouth is? Cause the market has really taken a dump on JREITs [google.com] . If you look carefully, things are actually much worse now than they were when the Japan East cost was being submerged by mega-tsunami. One would tend to think this is a reaction to radioactive fallout.

Either the people with money know something you do not, or people like you are just coming out here spouting BS on how overblown things are while not taking any meaningful economic positions behind their claims. If you are right, you stand to make a fortune in JREITs. What percentage of your savings have you invested?

Re:Yes, perfectly safe . . . (2)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#37595316)

The Company primarily invests in office buildings, commercial buildings, logistics facilities and housings, among others. It aims to achieve stable earnings and asset growth from mid- to long-term perspectives through investment in properties, which are chiefly located in the Tokyo metropolitan area and other domestic major cities.

What thesis do you use to separate the broader economic consequences of the earthquake and tsunami from the nuclear risk you are apparently insinuating exists in Tokyo?

I bet it is something like "hurfa durfa hurf urf durf".

I see your "hurfa" (1)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37595548)

And raise you a Nikkei vs Orix graph [google.com] . YTD Nikkei is down 18% and Orix is down TWICE that. How do YOU explain real estate disproportionately undervalued to the equity market YTD?

Re:I see your "hurfa" (1)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#37595650)

I have no explanation for it. I don't study Japan's economy.

But I'm not claiming there is a direct link between mostly localized radiation contamination and real estate prices hundreds of kilometers away, I'm claiming that the price trends aren't evidence of anything by themselves, there needs to be some sort of coherent reason to link them to the radiation. Especially in the face of the Japanese government continuing to allow millions of people to occupy Tokyo.

I guess the other another to say it is if things in Tokyo are that bad, why haven't the prices gone to zero?

Re:I see your "hurfa" (1)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37595742)

Look, I was in the finance industry for over 5 years in Tokyo, own propriety North of Tokyo, and left after the accident. I have a friend who has been trying to sell otherwise very marketable propriety (Japanese "mansion" next to a major train line) for the last 6 months. The kind of response (no offers) is uncharacteristic of the Japanese real estate market prior to the accident. The real estate agents agree that people are afraid to buy in the area. But this is Slashdot, where my personal first hand experience is no match for the nuclear apologist's "gut" feeling on the situation.

"Especially in the face of the Japanese government continuing to allow millions of people to occupy Tokyo."
Really!? Look at the guys towards the end of this video [youtube.com] . You think THEY are taking this situation seriously? If I were still a nuclear apologist, I wouldn't be touching Fukushima with a ten foot pole. You really want to associate yourself with the filth like Edano and Fujimura?

"if things in Tokyo are that bad, why haven't the prices gone to zero"
Thanks for reminding why I should never try to have a serious conversation about economics on Slashdot again . . .

Re:I see your "hurfa" (1)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#37595826)

When did you try to have a serious conversation?

Re:I see your "hurfa" (1)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37596122)

Right . . . Perhaps we should just thank each other for wasting each other's time . . . Thanks.

Re:I see your "hurfa" (2)

maxume (22995) | about 3 years ago | (#37595872)

Also, feel free to track down this account 10 years from now.

I absolutely promise to apologize for laughing in your face if it becomes clear that I was wrong about there not being any substantial link between real estate prices in Tokyo and the incident at Fukushima (of course there is some link, some people are acting irrationally).

Re:Yes, perfectly safe . . . (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37595422)

Mind putting your money where your mouth is? Cause the market has really taken a dump on JREITs. If you look carefully, things are actually much worse now than they were when the Japan East cost was being submerged by mega-tsunami. One would tend to think this is a reaction to radioactive fallout.

Why would they be concerned now? Fallout already happened. What new development has happened since? I wouldn't expect market changes half a year after the accident to be related to the accident unless someone discovered new problems such as this company holding more properties near Fukushima than previously disclosed.

You are assuming an "efficient" market (1)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37595646)

We are dealing with quasi-capitalism here, where governments "assume" the downside risks for both large banks and nuclear plant operators. It took the government 3 months to even admit full meltdowns at the 3 reactors. There is new information coming out everyday regarding levels of fallout in areas even further Southwest from Tokyo (which contradict earlier information from the government). Fallout maps to the level of detail necessary to value the impact to real estate do not yet exist, and maps of any detail for Saitama and Chiba have only been released recently. And let us not forget, fallout of this level in areas of this population density is unprecedented. This is an out of lab experiment, the results of which will take years to come out.

Finally, there is increasing doubt in the credibility of the officials in charge. Don't believe me? Take a look at this "development" [youtube.com] from a couple of days ago. Would you trust these people when they say things are safe?

Re:You are assuming an "efficient" market (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37595726)

So is there a problem here? I just see the usual nuclear hysteria (with some not-so-professional giggling going on in the video). For example, why would one think that school milk is radioactive? (I must admit that the story of the school's bizarre reaction was hilariously over the top, hence, the giggles.)

Re:You are assuming an "efficient" market (1)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | about 3 years ago | (#37595798)

Milk accumulates radioactive iodine very efficiently. Shouldn't be radioactive iodine around anymore if there is no nuclear reactions happening as it has short half life.

Re:You are assuming an "efficient" market (1)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37595996)

Is your "shouldn't be radioactive iodine around" assumption based on the rigorous Slashdot research standards? Because, that must mean you have been able to explain the high radioactive iodine levels recently found and mentioned here [onodekita.sblo.jp] , here [shueisha.co.jp] , and here [niigata.jp] . Perhaps you could do us all a favor and explain here for us to benefit (and disprove any possibility of re-criticalities)?

Re:You are assuming an "efficient" market (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37596034)

(and disprove any possibility of re-criticalities)

There apparently were some "spontaneous criticality" through the end of March. Nobody has found indications of it since. Half-life of radioactive iodine is pretty short, but it should still be out there in detectable amounts.

Re:You are assuming an "efficient" market (0)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37596082)

Thanks, but I have 3 sources and you have 0. Did you bother looking at the numbers of INCREASING levels of radioactive iodine well after March? You write so matter-of-factly, but where are your facts? And how do you explain the facts I have presented?

Such writing styles are usually reserved for shills. Don't you know there is already a very organized nuke shill process [austinchronicle.com] ? Why go to the hard work of replying to posts on /.?

Re:You are assuming an "efficient" market (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37596240)

What sources? They weren't in English so they could have been cricket scores for all I know. My view is that while English isn't a universal language, if this information were true or at the least credible, then it'd spread to an English source.

Let us also keep in mind that there are a bunch of people measuring radiation from Japan. If radiactive iodine levels were increasing well after March, then they'd notice something as well.

Such writing styles are usually reserved for shills. Don't you know there is already a very organized nuke shill process? Why go to the hard work of replying to posts on /.?

I agree. Your writing style is well adapted to shilling. As I was saying, come up with some credible evidence, then we'll have something to talk about.

I love Slashdot . . . (1)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37595814)

"So is there a problem here?"
"why would one think that school milk is radioactive"
Nice . . . I don't think you recognize who was in the video nor the history behind the issue being discussed. But I must be new here (which I am not) for thinking differently and trying to have a serious discussion about Fukushima with you . I blame myself . . .

Move along folks, nothing to see here . . .

Re:I love Slashdot . . . (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37595968)

I don't think the video was relevant. You'd have to have a heart of stone to not laugh at the school's actions.

Re:I love Slashdot . . . (1)

Idou (572394) | about 3 years ago | (#37596048)

It is relevant to the credibility crisis of the Japanese government, which appears to be growing every day. Credibility is what makes people believe the government when it says a situation is "safe."

Look, I have lived in Japan for the last 7 years. Your defense of Edano and Fujimura is inappropriate given the context of the situation and culture, for which you seem grossly unaware.

Love nukes all you want, but I would advise you stay away from Japanese politics. You are making your side look like of bunch of fucking sociopaths due to your ignorance of the situation.

Re:I love Slashdot . . . (1)

scosco62 (864264) | about 3 years ago | (#37596208)

Wow.....I don't even know how to process that. If the Japanese government had invested a hundredth of the energy expended in this thread, we'd all have fusion reactors in our basements......

Re:I love Slashdot . . . (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37596218)

I noticed something about arguments about the dangers of Fukushima. A number of people argue not on the facts in the situation or the actions of the people involved, but on their own personal emotional state. They speak of perception of the public, but they're the ones who are panicky or whatever. That is, they project their insecurities on the general public.

You may have lived for a bunch of years in Japan, but you're jittery like a sheep. Frankly, I don't think you're up to making decisions about nuclear power. Maybe after you've had a few years to cool down and think about it.

Love nukes all you want, but I would advise you stay away from Japanese politics. You are making your side look like of bunch of fucking sociopaths due to your ignorance of the situation.

I am. I continue to exercise exactly zero care about whatever idiotic point you think you're trying to make here. In the long run, Japan will either continue to run nuclear power or it'd find a substitute (a substitute which doesn't currently exist for them I might add). They can choose to mess up their electricity infrastructure by say, banning nuclear power here and now or by imposing onerous regulation on it, but my take is that they'll look at Fukushima and say, "It wasn't that bad" and continue with nuclear power for a long time to come.

Tsunami names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594494)

Was this one called Shima?

Earn cash (-1, Offtopic)

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Its a new word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594542)

Man those people are so Fukushima'd.

Ah, yes, what will people do? (0)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#37594592)

I seriously doubt anyone will want to return, at least not for a long time yet. The risk of further pollution during the cleanup is likely going to be seen as high, the damage to houses through abandonment will make it uneconomic for those hardest-hit, it may be safe but infrastructure rebuilding has focused on other areas, completely abandoned towns in Britain and America (and they were this way during the housing boom) show that a bad reputation beats excessive demand any day, and those who are the most mobile are in the most need of jobs that don't exist in the fringe areas.

Given that similar tsunamis hit the area every 500 years or so, it seems likely that it'll have recovered completely and have yet more critical generators along the direct line of attack before the next strike, along with the obligatory denial that anyone could have predicted a periodic event would be periodic.

The cleanup itself - well, that depends on the isotopes present in the soil. Which the scientists know and we don't. If they're relatively short-lived, waiting them out will be quicker and cheaper than replacing the topsoil. Very long-lived isotopes, depending on their mass and depth, are the problem. It's one thing to scrape a bit off the surface, it's another to lower ground level by 10-20' over a 50 mile radius. Since we know that radioisotopes enter the food chain via plant life, one could imagine a decontamination method that involved establishing a forest of trees with exceptionally deep tap roots and high water circulation. It wouldn't eliminate all the contaminants, but it would lock up some. And since it would also lock up CO2, it would lower Japan's greenhouse gas footprint at the same time. It would also be quicker than the Chernobyl approach, which will take a few hundred million years to complete. Decontamination via biomass would likely only take a few hundred years to complete.

Re:Ah, yes, what will people do? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37594662)

What towns were abandoned here in the UK? The only thing I can find about that is villages that were forcefully taken over by our army during World War II for training grounds and such.

Re:Ah, yes, what will people do? (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 3 years ago | (#37595266)

I remember driving through an abandoned mining town up in the hills north of Cardiff a few years ago.

Re:Ah, yes, what will people do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37595110)

these people in small towns have shops or family estates that have been in their family for hundreds of years, not to mention destroyed temples, shrines, museum, etc... that's a lot of history to pick up and just leave. all the talk since 3/11 and i've seen very few reports or discussion on the cultural loss of the people who lived in that area, near Fukushima or along the Sanriku coastline.

Re:Ah, yes, what will people do? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37595478)

Virtually all such towns are because it's no longer economically viable to live there. No work in particular. For example, the mining town you mentioned in Wales. There are plenty of ghost towns like that went away when the mine, the sole source of employment, went away. I don't see the towns near Fukushima going away just because of radiation scare. If there's jobs nearby and the land gets cheap enough, someone will live there.

Cold shutdown, really? (0)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | about 3 years ago | (#37594622)

Unbelievable they would claim 'cold shutdown' when reactor containment has been breached at 3 units! More like: "the molten corium has burrowed deep enough to be cooled by groundwater and we are only reading 90 degrees at the twisted, melted reactor because the radioactive steam coming from below ground is dissipating the heat" How reassuring.

Re:Cold shutdown, really? (2)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37595112)

Look up the definition of cold shutdown. It doesn't matter if reactor containment is breached.

More like: "the molten corium has burrowed deep enough to be cooled by groundwater and we are only reading 90 degrees at the twisted, melted reactor because the radioactive steam coming from below ground is dissipating the heat"

If there is steam, then the bottom of the corium isn't below boiling point and hence, the reactor isn't in cold shutdown. Also, why so hysterical? Sure corium has leaked from the central vessel (pressure vessel? I forget the proper term), but it's still in the building and it's not going anywhere. Your scenario didn't happen.

Re:Cold shutdown, really? (1)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | about 3 years ago | (#37595682)

A Melt-through has been acknowledged by TEPCO (see The Guardian 8th June article). While I don't think I was being hysterical, that would actually be a pretty reasonable response to the event. 1) primary containment - pressure vessel failed 2) secondary containment (toroidal pool) failed 3) building breached by explosions This IS worse case scenario. Plutonium 40km from site, contaminated water, food and soil. And there is radiation still being released with no viable plan to contain it. I'm sorry but cold shutdown implies there is still a functioning reactor to shut down.... Just smoke and mirrors...

Re:Cold shutdown, really? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37595818)

I'm sorry but cold shutdown implies there is still a functioning reactor to shut down....

As I said, no it doesn't.

While I don't think I was being hysterical, that would actually be a pretty reasonable response to the event. 1) primary containment - pressure vessel failed 2) secondary containment (toroidal pool) failed 3) building breached by explosions

Secondary containment didn't fail (though the hydrogen explosion probably did create some breaches in containment). Radioactive water did (and I gather continues to) leak from one or more of the reactors. But no corium escaped secondary confinement.

A worst case scenario would be a molten core boiling away in the ground with no attempt made to cool it off, you know, the China Syndrome thing.

Re:Cold shutdown, really? (2)

Animats (122034) | about 3 years ago | (#37596108)

Look up the definition of cold shutdown. It doesn't matter if reactor containment is breached.

Not in this case. Here, "cold shutdown" has been redefined somewhat [jaif.or.jp] , to "below boiling if we can keep cooling water going in." Normally, in a cold shutdown, you can take the lid off the reactor, look inside, and replace fuel rods. They're a long way from that point.

More like: "the molten corium has burrowed deep enough to be cooled by groundwater and we are only reading 90 degrees at the twisted, melted reactor because the radioactive steam coming from below ground is dissipating the heat"

But not that bad, either. These reactors were built on bedrock. That placed them lower than would have been desirable for flood protection, but if they leak, they leak sideways, not down. There's been plenty of sideways leakage, but by now most of that water is being collected. There's now a cleaning plant in place to run the water through zeolites and catch the radioactive salts and solids. (Water itself doesn't become radioactive from exposure to gamma radiation; the longest lived radioactive isotope of oxygen has a half-life of 122 seconds.)

Now they have to figure out how to do the tough job - safely dismantling the radioactive mess in the melted core into small bits for disposal. That may take decades.

the part the proponents miss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594624)

"they might never be allowed to return home"

This is the part the nuclear proponents always studiously ignore. Such disasters can render areas uninhabitable for thousands of years. It isn't the direct deaths that are the problem, it is the long term impacts to the environment that remove chunks of the earth from human habitation for many generations.

Re:the part the proponents miss (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 3 years ago | (#37594722)

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are habitable and heavily populated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshima [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagasaki [wikipedia.org]

What should worry people MORE than the radiation is the subsidence of the land in the disaster area, making it extremely vulnerable to the NEXT tsunami.

Atomic fear is delectable and I, too, masturbate in sweet anguish while contemplating it. (fapfapfap)

As for the fuckteen thousand people killed outright by the OCEAN, they don't count because the ocean is much less radioactive.

Re:the part the proponents miss (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37595016)

Actually, the level of radioactivity released in a nuclear blast is comparatively small. That's because nuclear reactors have a lot more junk in them (the total amount of fission that occurs in a normal reactor over its lifespan orders of magnitude more than a fission bomb), and the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nukes were not that large. Nuclear blasts also spread the radioactive material out a lot more making it not as concentrated. I do think that the fears of nuclear power are wildly exaggerated but at the same time I don't think that pointing to the modern day habitability of these two cities is good evidence.

Re:the part the proponents miss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37596080)

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are habitable and heavily populated.

And how the fuck does that matter in a discussion about a power plant that has released 100 times the amount of Cesium 137 of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined?

Re:the part the proponents miss (3, Informative)

Rising Ape (1620461) | about 3 years ago | (#37594764)

Such disasters can render areas uninhabitable for thousands of years.

The isotope responsible for almost all of the long term contamination is Cs-137, with a half life of about 30 years. So every century, the activity level drops by a factor of 10. IIRC, the most heavily contaminated area discovered (very close to the reactors) was giving a dose rate of 500 mSv/yr, so even that should be down to below background levels in 3 centuries, with most of the currently excluded area safe long before then.

Now, that's still a heck of a long time - but it's not the thousands of years you mention, and it means that large scale use of nuclear power for centuries will not result in ever-increasing amounts of land lost due to contamination from accidents.

It's worth noting for comparison that hydroelectric power is appalling for rendering large areas uninhabitable, even when it works as planned.

Re:the part the proponents miss (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 3 years ago | (#37595062)

It's worth noting for comparison that hydroelectric power is appalling for rendering large areas uninhabitable, even when it works as planned.

And that is why there are few new hydro schemes in the west. Finding areas that are both geologically and politically suitable for turning into giant hydroelectric reservoirs is extremely difficult.

Re:the part the proponents miss (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 3 years ago | (#37595078)

To clarify my previous post it was reffering to "conventional hydro" (as was it's parent afaict). "Run of the river" hydro doesn't have this problem but that has the same problem that wind and solar have.

Re:the part the proponents miss (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 years ago | (#37594936)

This is the part the nuclear proponents always studiously ignore. Such disasters can render areas uninhabitable for thousands of years. It isn't the direct deaths that are the problem, it is the long term impacts to the environment that remove chunks of the earth from human habitation for many generations.

It's not being ignored. It's accounted for.

1) The vast majority of the region around Chernobyl will probably be safe within a few hundred years. The area immediately around Fukushima will probably be considered contaminated for 50-100 years. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were continuously inhabited, with very little to no negative effect on post-bombing residents. This is nuclear science 101. If radioactive isotopes are extremely dangerous, that means they have short half-lives, and thus are only around for hours or days. If contaminants last for thousands of years as you allude, that means they have long half-lives, and thus are not very radioactive nor dangerous enough to render the area uninhabitable.

It's the radioactive contaminants with medium half-lives which are most dangerous. Their half-lives are long for them to stick around for years/decades, but short enough that they're still dangerously radioactive. These typically have half-lives of 10-30 years, meaning their contamination will only last a few decades to a century. Very few, rare isotopes match your criteria of long half-lives but high radioactivity (it happens when the decay chain of a long half-life isotope results in a bunch of short half-life isotopes in quick succession).

2) As I outlined in the previous Fukushima topic [slashdot.org] , hydro and wind render more land area uninhabitable per MWh of energy generated than nuclear. Solar technically only renders the land shaded rather than uninhabitable, but if the panels/reflectors are installed on the ground, then it's uninhabitable. And unlike nuclear which only renders land uninhabitable when there's an accident, the renewable technologies render land uninhabitable as a consequence of their normal operation.

If, as you state, you wish to minimize the "chunks of earth removed from human habitation for many generations," nuclear is the power source which has the smallest footprint per unit of energy generated.

Re:the part the proponents miss (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | about 3 years ago | (#37594990)

Such disasters can render areas uninhabitable for thousands of years.

Don't you need a mechanism by which this would occur first? Cesium 137, for example, has a half-life of around 30 years. in a thousand years, it'll have halved about 30 times which is over a billion reduction in concentration. A lot of the other stuff that made up the radiation leakage from Fukushima has half-lives in the tens of days, they already are considerably reduced.

OTOH, plutonium 239, if it was put into the environment, would have a half-life of 24,000 years. If any land around Fukushima is uninhabitable because of that isotope, then a few thousand years won't dent it much.

So what's the isotope that's going to keep Fukushima uninhabitable for thousands of years? Also how big is this uninhabitable area? Sounds like the worst affected areas are only a portion of the current exclusion zone.

My point for bringing this up is the hyperbole that surrounds the Fukushima accident and clean up. We need to cut through that and realistically figure out what happened.

It isn't the direct deaths that are the problem, it is the long term impacts to the environment that remove chunks of the earth from human habitation for many generations.

Humans do other things with land than just live on it. This sounds to me ideal for industry and, of course, more nuclear reactors. If they have another meltdown, then it won't matter as much due to the exclusion zone around the Fukushima site.

Not so bad (0, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 years ago | (#37594656)

This hardly took any time at all. I guess all the posts telling us "nothing to see here...Nuclear, yay!" were right all along.

Clean, safe and too cheap to meter.

Re:Not so bad (-1, Troll)

Falconhell (1289630) | about 3 years ago | (#37595820)

Ah Slashdot, where the truth is modded troll. Funny how the pro nukers tend to be AGW deniers, who are happy to discredit climate science, but believe every pro nuke word from the paid industry scientists!

True story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37594726)

I heard the radiation hazard has gone away now because they've signed ACTA.

Long-term exclusion zone? (1, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37594798)

So the really big question is how long the primary evacuation zone is going to be left open. At this point it looks like it won't be that terribly long, maybe 50 years or so. However, Japan's history of negative attitudes about nuclear power (for quite understandable reasons) makes it likely that the zone will stay for longer than necessary. Even when we people are let in, it is likely that few people will actively want to return for a while. Since Japan is so small and has such population density issues this could have a much more disproportionate than Chernobyl did on the USSR even though that was by many metrics a much worse accident.

However, none of this is a good reason to be that fearful of nuclear power. It still seems clear that nuclear power is far safer and more reliable than most other forms of power including coal, gas and oil. By number of deaths per a terrawatt hour nuclear power is one of the safest. http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html [nextbigfuture.com] . Nuclear power simply seems worse because radioactivity is so scary and because when disasters occur they are rare and spectacular rather than routine. To see how irrational the various anti-nuke fears are one needs to only look at how groups like Greenpeace protest anything remotely nuclear such as fusion power even though it shares none of the risks of fission power. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/ITERprojectFrance/ [greenpeace.org] .

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (2, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | about 3 years ago | (#37594884)

Holy crap, that greenpeace press release reads like something scribbled on a napkin by someone half-drunk (of half-asleep). I guess it must be really bad there if even their PR {person|department} can't polish the turd...

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 3 years ago | (#37595404)

Yet Hiroshima and Nagasaki are inhabited to this day. The people that survived the bombing never left, and the cities clearly managed to repopulate well.

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37595470)

The radioactive contaminants that resulted from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings are completely different in makeup and volume than the Fukushima explosions. These are nuclear power plants with many tons of fuel in them. They also continue to burn out of control. TEPCO claims to have some of the reactors under 100 degrees but this is simply because the fuel has sunk down below in to the ground. The sensors are in the empty reactors measuring heat from far above the sunken fuel.

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37596038)

The only isotope that matters in the medium to long term is Cesium 137. Fukushima has released about 100 times the amount of Cesium 137 of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. In this respect the closest analogy to Fukushima is Chernobyl, which had a Cesium 137 release within an order of magnitude of Fukushima. And we may observe that the repopulation of Pripyat is considerably lagging behind Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37596418)

How odd it may seem, an atomic bomb does much less damage than a power plant like Fukushima.
The amount of radioactive material is much less than the amount used in power plants.

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37596838)

Half lives are different

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (2)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | about 3 years ago | (#37595706)

"seems clear that it is safer" - are you serious. Your argument is a straw man the whole way, yes coal is polluting bit that doesn't mean nuclear is the answer. I'll support nuclear when all the high level radioactive waste now crowding cooling ponds is in geological storage, oh wait, I forgot that would also make nuclear economically unviable.

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 3 years ago | (#37596454)

I don't get how he's misrepresenting an argument. I don't see any straw men there at all.

Re:Long-term exclusion zone? (1)

zeigerpuppy (607730) | about 3 years ago | (#37595750)

Perhaps you should lead the way and offer to live in the exclusion zone when it opens. Also grow your food there and drink the water, tour the plant with your kids on weekends. That is fantasy, of course, living in this area in even 100 years will result in a pretty decent caesium load even if you manage to avoid the heavier hot particles. If we ever see figures, compare pre-Fukushima explosion cancer and teratogenic rates with after, there's a lot of deaths still to come from this disaster. And a lot of land and sea that has lost its utility.

Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37595034)

Now S.T.A.L.K.E.R. can get a real sequel, with differently looking new areas!

Definitely (1)

Sigvatr (1207234) | about 3 years ago | (#37595052)

There will be a lot of elderly people who worked for forty years to earn their home and won't care about a bit of radiation. That is, if they even cared enough to leave in the first place.

Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (5, Informative)

TUOggy (1253848) | about 3 years ago | (#37595172)

As someone living in Japan (about 50 miles away from the reactor), I can tell you that most of the "Voluntary Evacuation Areas" (the places that they are "reopening") were never actually evacuated. They saw the complications with what was happening to those from the mandatory evac areas, and decided against it. Having said that, almost everyone with children took of to Tokyo or further south.

I talk to a lot of people here, and everyone seems to say the same thing. "It sucks, but what can we do?" People don't know what is and isn't safe. Different government agencies give different, and more often than not, contradictory reports. People aren't necessarily afraid of the radiation. They're afraid because they don't know what to believe. They don't evac because one report says they're safe, but then they think they should because another one says they're not.

Talking to people here about the alternatives to nuclear power, and what is feasible, I find that they all seem to agree. They'd like to see it go away, but they understand that there's only one way to get rid of it right now, and that would put Japan back in the stone age. Having said that, it seems that the market for household solar panels has increased dramatically for those who have houses and can afford it, but the majority of people here live in apartment buildings or condos. With most people living in the cities, they know there's no way they're going to get rid of nuclear power anytime soon, unless some magical new energy source appears that can produce enough power for everyone while taking up very little land.

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37595622)

They're afraid because they don't know what to believe.

Well, there's your problem. If they believe, instead of building their own model of reality, then they aren't individuals anyway, but extensions of the body/mind of whoever they believe (in). And there's nothing anyone can do. They have to grow up beyond the autonomy level of a small child themselves.

Because then, the first thing to do, would be to get a Geiger counter. And the second thing would be to research online what certain amount of radiation do.
I would then publish those values, and work with others who do the same, to create a map, colored by how much you can do in that area. green for "you can live there", yellow for "you can go there, but you shouldn't live there", and red for "don't even go there!".
Even young schoolchildren have the mental capacity to do this. (They may no have the interest though.)
So this should be absolutely so problem for grown-up individuals.

But if they want to stay cattle, then think of them as already dead. They just don't know it.

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (4, Insightful)

NeoTron (6020) | about 3 years ago | (#37595654)

I too live in Japan. I'm 33 miles due west of Fukushima Daiichi, on the far eastern fringes of Koriyama city. My family and I also have access to my wife's parent's second house which is located on a mountain and is about 1km from Miyakoji village in Tamura city, and where we lived for over a year before moving to Koriyama. That mountain house is roughly 21.5km due west of Fukushima Daiichi, the centre of the village is about 20.5km, and parts of Tamura city area further east are within the 20km "Stay out" zone.

After the March 11th quake, most if not all the villagers around there evacuated the area at first. It is my understanding some returned a couple of months after the event. A friend of ours decided to stay at her house nearby and has done so ever since.

Myself and my wife and son stayed at our house after the March 11th quake (apart from the night of that incident because a sizeable fissure had appeared on the ground at the rear of my house and we didn't know if it was safe to stay there after consultation with a local fireman, so we stayed overnight at the local community centre).

Since then, I have visited Miyakoji town and the mountain house, with my Geiger counter, and have taken measurements there, and at those locations the levels are around 0.5 uSv/hr - some spots much higher (1.2 uSv/hr), some much lower, depending on what the wind was doing the days after the nuclear plant accident.

People do want to move back to their homes there, I know that much. The various Municipal governments are making or are currently already implementing decontamination plans - at first removing top-soil from schools and government buildings and then presumably from other areas after that. Water supplies in Miyakoji are most often supplied via deep water wells (the water has always been extremely high quality there), and from what I've read, because of this, water supplies should be safe from contamination because any radioactive material will have been filtered out by tens of meters of soil layers above the water extraction point, and by the time any caesium etc. reaches that level, the radioactivity will have gone down to background or safe levels anyway.

I have a map of radiation levels on my personal website, which clearly shows that the radiation plume was mostly blown away from that area towards the north north-west and which agrees with the measurements I personally have taken around where I live and around Tamura.

Lastly, I want people to remember that there has been more widespread devastation, disruption, and death from the magnitude 9 quake and subsequent tsunamis, than there has been even from the nuclear disaster (and I just know someone's going to play the "but what about future deaths from radiation exposure which haven't and can't be counted yet" card - my answer to them is there still will have been more widespread devastation, disruption, and death from the magnitude 9 quake and subsequent tsunamis, than there has been even from the nuclear disaster").

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 3 years ago | (#37595840)

BTW it's slightly weird to give one distance in miles and all the other distances in km.

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (1)

NeoTron (6020) | about 3 years ago | (#37595918)

Nit-picking, much? :)

I'm from Scotland and hence I'm used to miles. The Japanese use the metric system and hence use km for distance. I'm kind of used to thinking my house is 33 miles away from Fukushima Daiichi genpatsu rather than 54km.

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37596456)

I thought that numbers like 0.5uSv/hr felt a bit incomprehensible so I tried to put it in context.
With 8766 hours / year that will put you at a yearly dosage of about 4.4mSv/year. This is quite a lot above IAEAs recommended yearly maximum of 1mSv/year.
I happen to live in Sweden where it is pretty much impossible to follow this guideline since the high amounts of naturally occuring radon and uranium in the ground here puts us in the 3mSv/year range. Because of this the recommended yearly dosage is set to 4mSv/year. (Tells you a bit about where that recommendation comes from, doesn't it?)
To get to the 4.4mSv/year that you are exposed to I would have to do something crazy like drilling my own well so that I can get drinking water with a bit more uranium than I get through the tap water but even then I would probably only get to around 4mSv/year.

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (1)

rastos1 (601318) | about 3 years ago | (#37596666)

I have a map of radiation levels on my personal website

Care to provide the link? (because I don't see any map on http://127.0.0.1/ [127.0.0.1] , which is what /. lists as your homepage ;-) )

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37596710)

I wish I lived in Japan.

Earthquakes, nuclear fission power plant oopsies, etc, at least despite the problems the country has it is still trying hard to move forwards.

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37595674)

Of course they all seem to agree. That's the main reason Japan is in this position: dissent against the official "nukes are the only way" has never been taken seriously there, even less than in many other countries with nukes.

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 years ago | (#37596118)

People don't know what is and isn't safe. Different government agencies give different, and more often than not, contradictory reports. People aren't necessarily afraid of the radiation. They're afraid because they don't know what to believe. They don't evac because one report says they're safe, but then they think they should because another one says they're not.

This is a consequence of ethical restrictions on biomedical research. Not saying those are bad to have, just saying that this is one of the consequences of having them. The majority of what we know about long-term exposure of people to low levels of radiation comes, ironically, from survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ethical considerations prevent further systematic scientific research on the topic. Consequently, there are two trains of thought when it comes to radiation exposure:

A) We know a certain amount of radiation is fatal. We know that there is no cellular damage from zero radiation exposure. Draw a line between these two points, and assume that cellular damage is proportional to radiation exposure.

B) Most of the survivors of the atomic bombings lived long, healthy lives. Cancer rates were not excessively higher than the norm. The same holds for cities in areas with higher than average levels of normal background radiation. So the body appears to have some ability to repair small to moderate amounts of damage from radiation.

Depending on which train of thought you subscribe to, either "stay the h*ll away from Fukushima" or "it's safe" are both correct answers. And until we get more data from unintended experiments in widescale radiation contamination like Chernobyl and Fukushima, it'll continue to be debated whether (A) or (B) is correct.

We won't get more data (1)

Goonie (8651) | about 3 years ago | (#37596544)

If you assume the LNT (theory A) the cumulative effects of the dose at Fukushima on the surrounding population might be a 0.1% increase in cancer deaths over what would be expected. Given that there are 100,000 people in the vicinity, that might be 100 extra deaths (pulling numbers out of my backside here, but they are plausible to within an order of magnitude). The trouble is that a sample size of 100,000 isn't enough to reliably demonstrate a 0.1% increase in cancer rates, in the same way that tossing a coin 100,000 times isn't enough to reliably demonstrate that a coin comes up heads 50.1% of the time rather than 50. There's no way in the world we'll ever get this kind of data from human studies absent global nuclear war, in which case we'll have more important things to worry about. The only plausible way you might useful data would be a very, very large scale animal study, probably costing many millions of dollars.

Re:Re-opens? Those towns were never closed. (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | about 3 years ago | (#37596726)

Dumb question: why can't they just buy a geiger counter and check whether the radiation is higher than the safe limit? And only drink and eat stuff from the market.

Hot Homeland (-1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37595666)

Why wouldn't the Japanese government reopen these areas to residents? The government obviously doesn't care one bit about the health or safety of those people. Or anyone else in Japan - the people near Fukushima aren't being singled out.

Or, for that matter, anyone else. America's government isn't doing anything more to protect us, even as several nuke plants were threatened to within a hair of their design specs (or beyond) this Summer, by floods and by earthquakes.

The heroic sacrifice of workers to entomb Chernobyl in 1986 at tremendous loss of life, health and everything else really starts to make the demonized Soviet government look pretty good in comparison.

The Eldery Class in Nippon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37595926)

The "Eldery" Class in Japan by many accounts is the fastest growing demographic there.

The problem is that Nippon can not pay for the benifits of retired workers ... i.e. the Elderly Class.

To the politician in Tokyo the Fukushima Diaster represents a God-Send!

The earthquake, tsunami and Nuclear events represent together a means to attrit Nippon of the Eldery Class ... a ver significant money draw-down.

The scheming inside the Deit goes along lines that the Government should and encourage re-patration of the abandoned lands surrounding fukushima and encourage the Elderly Class to re-enter. Once re-patrated the Elderly Class will suffer and surcum to the leathal radiation there and they themselves will die in droves. Thus ridding the current and future rulling class from having to bother with the Elderly Class.

Hay, with the Elderly Class attrited, we wont be bothered with the Nazi trucks in Ginza and their loud "blow-horns" shouting about the infidel immigrants and the US Military fucking the stray korean dogs like there is no tomorrow.

Ha ha.

==

that doesn't sound like cold shutdown (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 3 years ago | (#37596420)

The cores are under 100C but only as long as they spray extra amounts of water on them from above?

I think the idea of cold shutdown is the reactor is shut down and even if left alone it wouldn't overheat. But this doesn't sound like the case here.

Normally you'd shove the control rods in and slow the reactions until not enough heat is generated to overheat even without special cooling (perhaps just immersed). But the cores are too melted for that I presume. They're going to have to chip the slag into smaller pieces and physically separate them before they really start producing less heat.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R Call of Fukushima (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37596948)

http://demotivation.me/cics33cqbyndpic.html

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