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Radioactive Concrete From Fukushima Found In New Construction

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the when-recycling-goes-bad dept.

Earth 237

mdsolar writes "The Japanese government is investigating how radioactive concrete ended up in a new apartment complex in the Fukushima Prefecture, housing evacuees from a town near the crippled nuclear plant. The contamination was first discovered when dosimeter readings of children in the city of Nihonmatsu, roughly 40 miles from the reactors at Fuksuhima Dai-ichi, revealed a high school student had been exposed to 1.62 millisieverts in a span of three months, well above the annual 1 millisievert limit the government has established for safety reasons."

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237 comments

More importantly, (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714336)

Why are the building new housing complexes in the Fukishima Death Zone? Build prisons instead.

Re:More importantly, (4, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714366)

Why are the building new housing complexes in the Fukishima Death Zone? Build prisons instead.

to spawn tentacle rape demons, have you never watched anime?

Cocktopus (2)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714792)

I believe he's talking about the legend of the cocktopus [upup-downdown.com] .

Re:Cocktopus (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715032)

You put horns and a tongue on the monster and didn't make them cocks? Big opportunity missed XD

A few retards born every now and won't hurt (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714532)

Because radiation is not THAT dangerous?

Or, which I'm more inclined to believe, it is just a risk some governments are willing to take, with their underlying sentiment "A few retards born every now and won't hurt the polls too much."

Cynicism.

Re:More importantly, (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714562)

Thankfully the Japanese have much more common sense than the person and people like him spouting this prison crap.

Prisons are built to take away freedoms, not cause lifelong implicit bodily harm from radiation exposure. I cake a couple of guesses where you're from, that being some first world country who treats their citizens like third world crap and their prisoners like dogs and feel justified in doing so. You are the problem with humanity.

Re:More importantly, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715166)

Prisons are built to take away freedoms.

Clearly you've never been to an American prison.

Re:More importantly, (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714568)

Why are the building new housing complexes in the Fukishima Death Zone? Build prisons instead.

They haven't developed the prison-industrial growth complex like the Americans have. Japan is a civilized society and does not have enough prisoners.

Before someone heartlessly suggests imprisoning the Fukishima workers, the guys who designed it / built it are retired / dead of old age, and a heck of a lot of the operators downed when they were sent home after the earthquake before the tsunami, and you don't need to build an entire prison to house the small number of fall guys left, and there seems little reason to punish the temps sent in after the disaster.

Re:More importantly, (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714670)

Take a look at their drug laws, and how they sentence about a third of non-violent drug offenders to hard labor. I don't think you picked the right country to make a statement about enlightened treatment of prisoners. They may not have the sheer volume that the US does, but then again, who does?

Re:More importantly, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714776)

The reason for this? The US has way more black people. 80% of all inmates in the US are black, and in Africa they are perpetually killing each other off. coincidence? I think not.

Re:More importantly, (-1, Offtopic)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714790)

Fuck off.

Re:More importantly, (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714880)

Trolling? the DOJ would disagree with the modder. http://www.project.org/info.php?recordID=115 [project.org]

Re:More importantly, (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714954)

There is nothing wrong with a little work, it is better then forcing all the prisoners to do nothing.
The absolutely least likely thing to stop someone from continuing to do drugs is putting them in prison.

Re:More importantly, (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715008)

I don't think you picked the right country to make a statement about enlightened treatment of prisoners.

I was commenting on their quantity, both numerically and as a population rate, not their quality. Kind of like saying a heck of a lot more Japanese rent than Americans rent is talking about percentages, going on about how much our apartment buildings suck compared to theirs has nothing to do with the numbers.

Honestly, if they only have 1/10th the percentage of prisoners per population that we have, and we optimistically assume they only incarcerate what would be our worst 10% of inmates, they probably deserve whatever they're getting...

I don't think the Japanese have done the concentration camp / death camp thing since the 1940s, but we're proud patriots because we have Guantanamo Bay, so again I'm unimpressed.

Re:More importantly, (5, Informative)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715136)

I'm Japanese and I actually live about 20 minutes from one of the largest prison complexes in the country. The "hard labour" thing is true but it's not like they're smashing rocks in chain gangs - the prison I'm near they build and repair boats. Other prisons apparently make them do construction or factory style work. Most female prisons they apparently have them do things like cook and clean instead of harder labor. They are awarded the ammount of money for the work they've done at a set rate at the end of their sentence and in many cases they end up with skills (and a work ethic) they can use to make a living.

For juvenile offenders there is some physical labor (cleaning of their living quarters, etc.) but mainly they force them to study.

So the Japanese prison system just tries to make use of those imprisioned to reduce their societal debt, and in the process hopefully make them into valuable members of society by release. Of course if you are making the argument that they shouldn't imprison non-violent drug offenders to begin with it's not like other countries don't do the same. Prisons are societally treated like generic rehabilitation facilities anywhere you go in the world.

Re:More importantly, (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715212)

You forget that cleaning one's room counts for 'hard labor' in the US.

Re:More importantly, (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714742)

Why are the building new housing complexes in the Fukishima Death Zone? Build prisons instead.

All they need is one kid with a homemade lab growing guppies in that apartment complex to brew up the first in Godzilla's family tree. Hollywood is that desperate for a blockbuster sequel.

Re:More importantly, (5, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714796)

Wait, why is it the Fukushima Death Zone? Because of the people that died there when they drowned or were crushed by the tsunami?

Nobody has died from the radiation released by Fukushima, and likely no one will.

Re:More importantly, (0)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714816)

Yeah because they evacuated the area. You forgot that little fun-fact.

Re:More importantly, (1, Flamebait)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714900)

I expect that even if they had not, still no one would have died.

Since you so sincerely believe that not to be true, would you mind working up the cumulative dose of radiation over the past year for someone inside the evacuated region near the plant?

Re:More importantly, (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715022)

Since you so sincerely believe there is no danger in that zone, why don't you go live there?

Re:More importantly, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714978)

since that movie Back to the Future, I've seen this pattern. Is everyone named Biff an idiot?

I mean, how many people don't understand the simple thing that just because a disaster didn't happen due to taking precautions, the precautions were not unnecessary. You are kind of idiot who would complain about wasted tax dollars if massive efforts were made people were actually relocated during Katrina and not a single person died. Pathetic.

Re:More importantly, (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715162)

Nice troll. Attack a meaningless aesthetic issue (someone's knickname on /. - btw, my name isn't Biff, that's just part of a knickname) instead of something meaningful, then put words in someone's mouth that have nothing to do with what they said.

There are some "hotspots" where people should definitely not live till it's cleaned up. The immediate evacuation of the zone was certainly the right thing to do, until the fallout had fallen out, and measurements could be made of actual contamination. At this point, there are many parts of the zone where people can return and live safely, because the increase in radiation in those areas is just too low to be a hazard.

The more contaminated parts of the zone could be cleaned up; that might be happening, I'm not sure, but when you have a few small hotspots, you can clean those up, and leave the areas with very low contamination alone.

Outside of nuclear power, there's very few industries where you can pretty easily save pretty much everyone's life by doing a simple, orderly evacuation for a few weeks, then let people return to their homes. People somehow view nuclear accidents as worse than other Industrial Accidents, but I don't. Industrial Accidents are part of life (a part we try to take as much precaution as possible to avoid, but they will happen from time to time).

It's just that Nuclear Accidents, if you look at it rationally, are mostly much more benign than any other type of industrial accident.

I'd happily go live in the evacuation zone, except, I have no interest in living in Japan. My job, family, and life are here in the US.

Anti - Nuke Scare Tactics!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714354)

Who cares if a few Japs get irradiated. It didn't do them no harm after WW2, and all the slashbots know that nucular energy is safe.

If these little Japs want to build schools with radioactive concrete I saw we let em.

If I can eat microwave popcorn, these Japs shouldn't complain about there radiation.

We've got bigger problems like that uppidy nigger Obama.

Re:Anti - Nuke Scare Tactics!! (-1, Offtopic)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714410)

Troll

Troll

Troll

LOL

Re:Anti - Nuke Scare Tactics!! (0)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714422)

I've made a couple of O/T posts recently on /. This is another one. What the hell is going on with these racist n-word posts that keep popping up on /. recently, I would think that it's trolls, but they always seem to be ACs in the first 4-5 posts made on an article. It seems like they're far too active to be your standard troll.

Re:Anti - Nuke Scare Tactics!! (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714458)

Clearly you weren't on Slashdot in 2003 and 2004, when the GNAA (Gay Nigger Association of America) troll group dominated the early posts in a comment thread. A handful of scattered, rather pathetic comments like the OP is nothing to be concerned about.

Re:Anti - Nuke Scare Tactics!! (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714594)

From memory, they didn't post as AC though. Although it may just be wishful thinking that leads me to remember it that way.

Re:Anti - Nuke Scare Tactics!! (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714760)

Wow, talk about a blast from the past. I had all but forgotten the GNAA.

Funny thing about that, is locally there is a adolescent/teen sports league called the GNAA. I laugh whenever I see the fliers.

Re:Anti - Nuke Scare Tactics!! (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714460)

It works...

"Japs to build schools with radioactive concrete" (-1, Offtopic)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714748)

Seems to improve that classic, yellow complexion somehow...

(/sarcasm_off... -- This indicator is a necessary precaution, mostly because of mods with atrophied sense of humor, and racists with an exarcebated one...)

A bit of perspective (5, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714364)

While the use of contaminated materials is something to be concerned about, let's not forget how much radiation this actually is. It's roughly the equivalent of one chest CT scan per year [xkcd.com] .

Re:A bit of perspective (2, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714434)

While the use of contaminated materials is something to be concerned about, let's not forget how much radiation this actually is. It's roughly the equivalent of one chest CT scan per year [xkcd.com] .

You want you children growing up with that? 18 years worth? really?

Re:A bit of perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714500)

I guess everyone in Norway should move, since that place has some of the highest radeon levels in the world...

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714548)

Radeon? I knew they were high-tech, but didn't know they had a high density of video cards.

Oh, you mean radon [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:A bit of perspective (4, Funny)

quenda (644621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714552)

Norway ... has some of the highest radeon levels in the world...

Radeon levels? Is Nvidia an obscene word in the Norwegian language perhaps?

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715256)

Finally a chink in slartibartfast's armor.

Re:A bit of perspective (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714570)

From the same chart, 18 years of that (117 mSv), if it were absorbed in only one year, would still be only marginally higher than the lowest dose clearly linked to an increased risk of cancer (100 mSv/year). Since it's being absorbed over 18 years, the body has a much better chance of repairing any damage, so health is most likely not affected.

The human body can take a surprising amount of radiation and do just fine when compared to detectable levels. A report of "radiation found!" really means very little in terms of overall health. Much more concerning is that the contaminated materials were used at all, implying that the construction controls aren't right. Finding some low levels of contamination should lead to an inspection of all buildings recently built by the same company, to see where else (potentially more) radioactive materials have been used, and to assess if there's any real danger.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714710)

Wasn't there some study of a housing complex somewhere in Europe that had very high radon levels for decades.
IIRC. The study actually showed a lower cancer rate than the norm.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714736)

Would you live in that building?

Re:A bit of perspective (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714808)

Yes. I also drive a car to work, which is far more dangerous. I also use a laptop on my lap, stand near the microwave, and have a slippery shower floor. I'm a risky person. Please don't tell my insurance agent.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714840)

Fair enough, it was actually an honest question. A lot of times I see people making claims like that, but then turn around and say they wouldn't live there. At least you are consistent.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714980)

I do try to be consistent, though I should perhaps note that given the choice between two identical apartments, with all other things being exactly equal except their yearly radiation dose, I would of course choose the one with lower radiation, because a minimal risk is still risk, and with no cost to eliminate it, I would.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715138)

While there is a part of me that disagrees with the way you flippantly blew off the radiation concern, there is another part of me that genuinely enjoyed the wit you displayed while doing so. Well done indeed, sir!

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714756)

From the same chart, 18 years of that (117 mSv), if it were absorbed in only one year, would still be only marginally higher than the lowest dose clearly linked to an increased risk of cancer (100 mSv/year). Since it's being absorbed over 18 years, the body has a much better chance of repairing any damage, so health is most likely not affected.

The human body can take a surprising amount of radiation and do just fine when compared to detectable levels. A report of "radiation found!" really means very little in terms of overall health. Much more concerning is that the contaminated materials were used at all, implying that the construction controls aren't right. Finding some low levels of contamination should lead to an inspection of all buildings recently built by the same company, to see where else (potentially more) radioactive materials have been used, and to assess if there's any real danger.

When I was a child I figured one day that I'd break up the sidewalk with a hammer. This isn't bullshit, I don't know why I did so and I got my ass beat but would my parents have had to take me to the hospital if I lived in this place? What if I eat dirt.

I am not against nuke power. We need it... in my backyard even. But we don't have to put up with failure. We have always been told it could never happen. It does... Then everyone says well it's your fault build new reactors... come on now... If the old ones are unsafe turn them off. Prices go up, new ones get built.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715000)

but would my parents have had to take me to the hospital if I lived in this place?

No. Your parents wouldn't even notice if you weren't wearing a dosimeter. Nor would you.

What if I eat dirt.

The biologicals in dirt are far more of a hazard than 1.17 mSv per three months.

You're more likely to get tetanus than experience any noticeable effects from the radiation dose mentioned.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714680)

No, but it was caught, and the /. story didn't have any info relating to what that amount was really worth and most people, like yourself, are woefully unaware of what that really amounts to.

btw, one chest CT scan is quite a bit of radiation. It's essentially a numerous series of low regular X-rays compiled to form the tomographic/3d like image. I know a head and chest is amount to several hundred chest x-rays in an adult (I have a lot of radiation exposure compared to most). Worse, children are more susceptible to radiation, and a chest CT scan given to an adult requires more radiation than that given to a child, given modern CAT scans doses are adjusted on the fly for the image being taken to reduce radiation exposure.

So it's not insignificant, but it's not like they swallowed radioactive iodine either.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714484)

Help me out here. Is this radiation transferred by residue, or lingering readings from the constant irradiation. If it's the later, how much radiation are these children actually getting at the source during the times spent at home? Doesn't inverse square law apply with regards to the source of radiation and distance from it?

Re:A bit of perspective (4, Informative)

quenda (644621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714592)

The kid is not radioactive. He carries a "dosimeter" which measures the total dose he receives.
Anyone living in a brick or concrete building gets more radiation than in a timber house, but this particular block has rather more than usual.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714648)

Those are all good questions, which should be answered by the thorough investigation that I hope will follow. If and only if the investigation reveals an actual danger, we should be worried.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715074)

The article is a bit vauge it sounds like radioative material from the fukushima disaster transferred to the gravel pit (probablly via groundwater) and contaminated the gravel that was used to make the concrete.

16 chest x-rays / year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714520)

1.6mili Cv is 160micro Cv - that's 4x4= 16 chest X-rays /year

Re:16 chest x-rays / year (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714706)

1.6 mSv is 1600 uSv. Just clarifying.

640 chest x-rays / year (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714942)

Right.

64 chest x-rays / year (2)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714752)

And that dose was in only three months, so it is 64 chest X-rays per year.

Re:A bit of perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714542)

Sorry, comparing something to a CT is like comparing death-tolls to traffic. Did you know that all terrorist attacks of the world ever combined is less than a day of traffic deaths?

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714606)

Yes, I did know that. I'm not concerned about terrorism, either, but I do worry about my wife being late coming back from work.

Re:A bit of perspective (5, Interesting)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714546)

I have a good friend who married a Japanese girl 2 years ago and moved there. I mentioned to someone that I was planning to visit him and her first reaction was, "Aren't you afraid that you'll die from radiation poisoning?".

The fear of radiation poisoning seems to me to be an infantile reaction similar to fear of the dark(nyctophobia). It's a fear of something that we can't see, and can't quantify with our own senses. Why be mindlessly afraid of radiation when it can be measured and the risks are understood? I'm not particularly afraid of travelling to Tokyo when Fukushima is hundreds of kilometers away and virtually unaffected?

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714666)

I mentioned to someone that I was planning to visit him and her first reaction was, "Aren't you afraid that you'll die from radiation poisoning?".

Either she's a complete dumbass, or she was making an awesome Godzilla joke.

Re:A bit of perspective (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714698)

Maybe she was concerned about the extra radiation dose that you would receive from flying in an airplane at high altitudes.

Re:A bit of perspective (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714704)

The correct response is only as much as you fear of dying from tanning.

The real response is people are afraid of what they dont understand.. since the average person is an idiot, and half of them ate dumber than that. They have no understanding of radaition its effects, etc. Therefore it is to be feared. Take a look at religions they love that effect. If it isnt us then it isnt goig to our heaven and often added on then kill it to hell.

Re:A bit of perspective (0)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714764)

Given that atomic scientists can't seem to agree on when it becomes dangerous, can you really call a non-expert an "idiot" for not knowing more than the experts?

Re:A bit of perspective (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714920)

Yes. Disagreement among scientists is about the range of problems connected to the range of radiation doses received. Below a given dose, nobody except crackpots thinks radiation causes problems. Above a certain dose, nobody except crackpots thinks radiation's safe. These crackpot thresholds apply to almost any risk. There's a certain height above which a fall is deadly. There's a certain amount of water that can be in the lungs without any problem. There's a certain amount of traffic that can go through an intersection before it will work better with a stoplight.

The non-idiots recognize that some things aren't known perfectly, so they learn the crackpot thresholds and just try to stay on the safe sides, without worrying too much. They don't need to know exactly how much radiation causes what problems, just that a little bit has almost no risk. The idiots are the ones who see "radiation" and immediately assume it's an absolutely-deadly dose, and that the child in TFS is now doomed to die of cancer at 20.

Re:A bit of perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715168)

atomic scientists

Did you fall through a wormhole from the 1950's?

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714914)

The fear of radiation poisoning seems to me to be an infantile reaction similar to fear of the dark(nyctophobia). It's a fear of something that we can't see, and can't quantify with our own senses. Why be mindlessly afraid of radiation when it can be measured and the risks are understood? I'm not particularly afraid of travelling to Tokyo when Fukushima is hundreds of kilometers away and virtually unaffected?

And that's what people said about smoking. People don't worry about dangers until it hits them, but as long as I'm aware of it, I'll stay away!

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715026)

It's a fear of something that we can't see, and can't quantify with our own senses. Why be mindlessly afraid of radiation when it can be measured and the risks are understood?

Well that is exactly why its scary. We can't register it with our own senses, well unless is so strong as to cause heating. I could be being irradiated right now, and I would not know it. So yea anytime you elevate the risk that could be happening by saying going near the TSA, or the site of recent nuclear safety incident, yes I worry.

Now I also understand *some* of the physics and if I had the tools measure and map it I'd worry less. I don't have those tools so the only option is look for secondary indicators, like TSA uniforms, posted warnings, and exercise caution.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714740)

Yeah, nuclear appologists just love that xkcd chart. Unfortunately, it doesn't distinguish from external exposure of radiation and internal exposure. Internal exposure is far more serious.

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714962)

>internal exposure is far more serious

Because, you know, people eat concrete every day.

--
BMO

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715052)

Actually, yes. Part of the dust in your appartment comes from the concrete, some of which you are going to inhale inadvertantly.

Re:A bit of perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714982)

Since most people don't eat concrete, how exactly is internal exposure relevant to this article?

Re:A bit of perspective (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715110)

"Far more serious" perhaps, but at these levels it's still nowhere near serious enough to actually be worried.

Re:A bit of perspective (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714838)

Wlet's not forget how much radiation this actually is. It's roughly the equivalent of one chest CT scan per year.

Sure about that? They're getting 1/3 of a mSv per month, so about 4 per year. one chest CT scan is about two dozen or so as a rough rule of thumb. Closer to a CT scan per six years. Since most kids go to primary school about a dozen years, its about the equivalent of two chest CT scans. Not one per year, not two per year, but two. two total. Hmm I went thru two pneumonia x-rays in the last almost 40 years, although those were not CT scans, at any rate the kids are getting about three times the dosage that a middle age non smoker like me is going thru. Not too serious.

Theoretically the girls are getting mammograms every, like, year or something, and each is about 2 mSv, so you do the math. For genetic risk factors my wife gets the girls squashed and zapped every year or so, which is ... 2 mSv per year, so apparently from a radiation dose standpoint its about twice as dangerous as ... being a girl. Not too serious. Well I mean cancer sucks, but I mean the situation of the kids is not much more dangerous for the girls than being tested for cancer.

Also you get "about" 3 or so mSv per year naturally, from eating bananas, cosmic rays, granite countertops, stuff like that, which is pretty much how the scientists pulled the 1 mSv figure out of some orifice, that an extra 33% probably can't hurt anything? I know the radiation dosage in colorado is much higher than sealevel and the Fukushima kids live at sea level, so you can also describe their increase dosage as a height above sea level. I'm guessing their increased dosage is about the same as moving to Denver. Again, not too serious, although I would not want to live in Denver.

Note this average normal does assumes you don't smoke... the polonium in tobacco means one cancer stick per day equals about one mSv per year, so the 4 mSv increase is equivalent to smoking about four cigs per day, roughly, which is probably about as bad as the second hand smoke from living with a smoking parent. Again, not too serious.

Radiation is fun to learn about because its "secret". Even on /. where people know volts and mV and amps and mA, very few know mSv and rads and rems and such and its pretty easy to learn, and fairly easy to memorize rough comparisons, like a cancer stick per day is a mSv per year, or a CT scan is about two dozen mSv, or a natural dose from mother earth is about a mSv per season depending on your altitude, etc etc.

Wrong (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715124)

The chart says 40 microsieverts for one chest X-ray. TFA says 1.6 millisieverts in three months. So, the rate is 640 chest X-rays per year, not one. That is much higher than the NRC's public exposure limit of 100 mrem/year (1 millisieverts/year).

Re:Wrong (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715264)

I said a CT scan, not an x-ray. A CT scan (7 mSv on the chart) is made from a few hundred "normal" x-ray images, composited on a computer. This kid's getting about 6.5 mSv/year from his house. The 1mSv/year exposure limit is for a "member of the public", meaning that if an average person had more than that amount of exposure, it's abnormal and should be investigated (as it is here), because there might be a dangerous radiation source nearby. A malfunctioning x-ray machine in a doctor's office that turns itself on every night and continuously irradiates a neighboring house would be dangerous. A small amount of radioactive contamination in concrete is probably not.

From TFA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714498)

The gravel used in the cement came from a quarry in the town of Namie, located just miles from the Fukushima plant. While Namie sits inside the government mandated 12-mile “no-go” zone because of radiation concerns, it wasn’t completely closed off until the end of April, meaning the gravel was exposed to radiation spewing from the Fukushima plant during that time.

Mystery solved. The only thing we need to know is if the contractors got the gravel at a "special discounted price".

Re:From TFA (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715126)

The gravel used in the cement came from a quarry in the town of Namie, located just miles from the Fukushima plant. While Namie sits inside the government mandated 12-mile “no-go” zone because of radiation concerns, it wasn’t completely closed off until the end of April, meaning the gravel was exposed to radiation spewing from the Fukushima plant during that time.

Mystery solved. The only thing we need to know is if the contractors got the gravel at a "special discounted price".

Another important question is did they analyze the isotopic signature of the accident debris and match it to the isotopic signature of the gravel?

People forget that power plant and the processing plant were radioactive before the accident, theoretically all behind closed doors. I'm Sure This Doesn't Happen In Japan, but in a third world country like China or the USA, I would not be totally surprised if something got dumped in a nearby gravel pit back in '73. Digging it up again after an accident in 2011 proves virtually nothing about the accident. If they dig up Jimmy Hoffa's body in that quarry, that doesn't mean the reactor accident killed Jimmy Hoffa.

Re:From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715274)

The gravel was "hot", so yes.

Calling Dr. Freeman (4, Insightful)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714506)

I guess one important question is, what's the half-life of this particular contamination?

And is it (relativly) sealed in, or can it become airborne?

Re:Calling Dr. Freeman (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714580)

Well TFA says that the radiation levels are higher inside the building than outside of it.

Re:Calling Dr. Freeman (2)

quenda (644621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714614)

TFA says caesium in the concrete, so 30 years half life.
And if the concrete of the apartment becomes airborne, you have bigger worries than the radiation.

Re:Calling Dr. Freeman (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714654)

Caesium 134 has a half life of about 2 years, and caesium 137 about 30 years. It is mostly gamma radiation, so that will get through the amount of concrete typically used to make walls.

Re:Calling Dr. Freeman (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714732)

The article specifies Cesium. I assume this is Cesium (or Caesium)-137, half-life 30 years, or Cesium-134, half life 2 years. The decay chain is mostly to Ba-137 (half life 153 seconds), which emits gamma rays of 662keV. Cs-134 doesn't seem to have a description of the decay chain on wikipedia, and based on what I can see I would assume it is produced in much smaller quantities (i.e. not a major factor). Also, it is in the gravel used to make concrete: chances of airborne contamination are tiny. Finally, they just say the radiation inside is higher than outside (concrete is a radiation shield, so this is unusual), not how much. Seems like a pretty small problem: 1.62mSv/3 months is higher than you want but not incredibly dangerous or even incredibly high.

Re:Calling Dr. Freeman (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714770)

Correction (meant to change but didn't): it is barium-137m, a radioactive isotope. Ba-137 is a stable non-radioactive isotope that ends the chain. Also, Cs-137 -> Ba-137m produces some beta radiation, Ba-137m -> Ba-137 produces gamma.

Easy Solution. . . (1, Funny)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714774)

So, the cesium is in the concrete. We need a way to block the radiation. Lead is usually a pretty good material for blocking radiation.

Oh... Lead Paint!

You're welcome.

John Hodgeman would be proud.

On a more serious note, does this actually matter? Kids don't stay at home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so any estimates of the increase in exposure should, I hope, include the fact that kids are going to be gone something like 1/4 - 1/2 of the time they live there?

We live in a constant bath of low-level radiation. I'm not too worried about a slight increase in that background level of radiation.

Life evolved to live in varying levels of low-level radiation and survive. I'd have no fear of living there, or having my kids live there (I don't currently have kids, but I have no fear of low levels of radiation).

Re:Easy Solution. . . (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714864)

when you carry a dosimeter, it's not an estimate of exposure, it's a measure of exposure.

Re:Calling Dr. Freeman (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715012)

It's probably Cesium, and that's 30 years. It is apparently in the foundation, and is much higher on the first floor. Technically I think Cesium is water-soluble but it's probably not an issue when encased in concrete. It's probably a tear-down, but maybe they can use methods similar to radon remediation to reduce the effect.

Radioactive Cars Too? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714826)

So should we continue to buy Honda's and Toyota's? I certainly don't want a vehicle that's going to expose me to radiation.

Re:Radioactive Cars Too? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715176)

So should we continue to buy Honda's and Toyota's? I certainly don't want a vehicle that's going to expose me to radiation.

My wife has an '05 toyota. Its not made of cement, and to my best knowledge they have not switched to cement since then.

I have heard innumerable stories about people building canoes and small boats out of concrete, which I suppose you'd want to avoid in this application. Most concrete canoe stories seem to end with an explanation that they sunk it in the lake because it weighed 600 pounds, or to avoid rebar corrosion they avoided rebar, so it promptly cracked and sank. That's the only cement vehicle anecdote I've heard of, until your /. comment.

They should just raise the limit again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714828)

They should just raise the limit again and all this goes away.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/16/501364/main20043822.shtml

In the apartment's defense, (4, Funny)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714872)

They're already receiving glowing reviews.

Does the nuke industry troll here? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714902)

Or are Slashdot posters that infatuated with nuclear? Seems like no matter what news comes out on that disaster, we've got apologists crawling out to explain how we don't need to worry about it and any concerns are the ignorant fears of the anti-nuke brainwashed.

Eating doughnuts in the control room (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715170)

can be boring without slashdot. If they are not here, they are probably napping....

Re:Does the nuke industry troll here? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715190)

Or are Slashdot posters that infatuated with nuclear? Seems like no matter what news comes out on that disaster, we've got apologists crawling out to explain how we don't need to worry about it and any concerns are the ignorant fears of the anti-nuke brainwashed.

A site with endless ranting about software / IT FUD in the early years, then along comes totally non-scientific fear mongering anti-nuclear FUD, what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Does the nuke industry troll here? (4, Insightful)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715282)

Or are Slashdot posters that infatuated with nuclear? Seems like no matter what news comes out on that disaster, we've got apologists crawling out to explain how we don't need to worry about it and any concerns are the ignorant fears of the anti-nuke brainwashed.

Yes, because posts like this

by Tyr07 (2300912) on 10:15 16 January 2012 (#38714956)
*snip*
If I lived there, I'd have radiation meters weaved into my clothes.

People go 'OH it's not that much' FINE, let government leaders live in those places. I wouldn't want my life shortened at all, I'm thinking 40 years down the road I don't want to die from horrible radiation inflicted disease, nor do I want to find out some sort of penis monster finds me attractive.

are the epitome of rational and calm appraisal of the dangers...

Japan didn't fail, Radiation did. (1)

Tyr07 (2300912) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714956)

It wasn't Japan that lost the war. It was Japan's army, it was there fault.

In this case it's not the Japan government letting their people get radiation, it's radiations fault.
If I lived there, I'd have radiation meters weaved into my clothes.

People go 'OH it's not that much' FINE, let government leaders live in those places. I wouldn't want my life shortened at all, I'm thinking 40 years down the road I don't want to die from horrible radiation inflicted disease, nor do I want to find out some sort of penis monster finds me attractive.

Re:Japan didn't fail, Radiation did. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715244)

I'm thinking 40 years down the road I don't want to die from horrible radiation inflicted disease

If you did, how would you know the disaster caused it? Seriously?
Since the typical dose per person is lower than the natural dosage, almost all of the people in Japan who die from "horrible radiation inflicted disease" will have gotten their exposure from smoking, eating bananas, getting doctor xrays, getting dentist xrays, taking transcontinental flights, eating certain seafood, etc etc etc.

brilliant!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715046)

Now pave all the roads with this new concrete! No more need for street lights! :)

Check your damn units. At least on wikipedia. (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715100)

well above the annual 1 millisievert limit the government has established

1.62 mSv is not "well above" 1 mSv - it is practically the same.

Physics courses should be mandatory for "journalists"- as usual, they have no fucking clue what the hell they are writing about.

RTFA (4, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715224)

The limit is 1 millisievert PER YEAR. The dose was accumulated in three months so the rate is 6.4 millisievert PER YEAR, well above the limit.

And Orange Fiestaware (1)

shoppa (464619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715238)

If you've got a Geiger counter, orange Fiestaware is the cat's meow.

1.6 mSv is 0.00162 mrem.

http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/consumer%20products/fiesta.htm [orau.org] Estimates for consumer exposure to the uranium in the glazing of orange Fiestaware show you could rack up to a mSv in just a few hours exposure.

Who wants to bet, that this batch of concrete had some orange Fiestaware mix into it, or perhaps just a natural concentration of pitchblende, and it has nothing to do with Fukushima?
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