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Japan's Radiation Disaster Toll: None Dead, None Sick

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the but-won't-somebody-think-of-the-children?!?! dept.

Japan 319

An anonymous reader writes "This article discusses a recently-released U.N. Scientific Committee report which examined the health effects of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Their conclusion: 'Radiation exposure following the nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi did not cause any immediate health effects. It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers. ... No radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers involved at the accident site. Given the small number of highly exposed workers, it is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure would be detectable.' The article even sums up the exposure levels for the workers who were closest to the reactor: 'Of 167 exposed to more than the industry's recommended five-year limit of 100 mSv (a CT scan exposes patients to up to 10 mSv), 23 recorded 150-200 mSv, three 200-250 mSv and six up to 678 mSv, still short of the 1000 mSv single dosage that causes radiation sickness, or the accumulated exposure estimated to cause a fatal cancer years later in 5 per cent of people.' The report also highlights the minute effect it's had on the environment: 'The exposures on both marine and terrestrial non-human biota were too low for observable acute effects.'"

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319 comments

bs meter - yellow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918691)

lies, damn lies and statistics.

Re:bs meter - yellow (4, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | about a year ago | (#43918749)

On which side of the argument? 0 sick or with a minutely increased chance of cancer sounds a bit low, but closer to the truth than the media hysteria immediately following the event.

Re:bs meter - yellow (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918941)

On which side of the argument? 0 sick or with a minutely increased chance of cancer sounds a bit low, but closer to the truth than the media hysteria immediately following the event.

Stop it! Just, stop.

How in the hell are we going to get the dumb masses whipped up into a hysterical advertisement-selling frenzy of fear and framed debates and phoney controversy if you keep injecting rationality into the discussion? For that matter, how the hell are we going to perpetuate our addiction to Middle Eastern fossil fuels if you act all calm and rational about nuclear energy? For fuck's sake man, if you aren't REALLY CAREFUL you might even encourage critical thinking. Think about what that would do to the marketing and PR industries!

Don't you understand? Don't you get it?! We have huge investments in the status quo. Don't rock the boat! I mean, it's not like we were going to put someone like you on mainstream television anyway, so all you gotta do is stop being rational on this Internet thingy that we can't dominate and be the gatekeeper for, and we're fine.


Signed,

The Five Corporations Controlling American Mass Media

Oil and nuclear are separate markets (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#43919059)

There's almost no oil consumption for electricity generation, and until we get a large fleet of electric cars nuclear electricity will displace very little oil burning.

What nuclear power does is displace coal, thus saving thousands of lives every year.

Re:Oil and nuclear are separate markets (4, Insightful)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#43919389)

If it gets rid of coal and prevents natural gas' rise, it's damn worth it. Clean electric cars would be the icing on the cake.

Re:Oil and nuclear are separate markets (5, Informative)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year ago | (#43919677)

Actually Japan increased consumption of oil for power generation by over 105k barrels per day post-quake: Japan’s fossil-fueled generation remains high because of continuing nuclear plant outages - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) [eia.gov]. Prior to the quake they consumed ca. 100k barrels per day on average. Like the rest of the OECD they purged most of their burning of petroleum products for power 30 years ago in the wake of the oil price spike that occurred at the end of the 70s, but hung on to its use in limited and ever-diminishing quantities.

The US still burns a small amount of oil in Hawaii for power. "Small" in this instance means "only" around 300k barrels per day, last time I checked. It's a pittance when you consider we consume ca. 18 million barrels per day total.

FUD meter - yellow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918873)

naïvety, stupidity, and fixed beliefs.

lol... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918739)

Says who? People who have a vested interest in downplaying any serious problems...

Give it 5 years. Then we'll see what the toll really was. Maybe.

Re:lol... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918829)

Must be awesome to be someone with "vested interest in downplaying any serious problems". Just imagine!!!

Child: Mommmmmmm! I cut my leg with a chainsaw!

Mom: Nah, it's Ok.. you still have another one.

Re:lol... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919017)

And JFK was killed to prevent alien contact disclosure and the free energy is being oppressed by the Highlanders than run energy companies.

Re:lol... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43920065)

Tesla's free energy being suppressed is hardly a stretch of the imagination. Yet my understanding is less sinister and way more moronic. "I have plans to distribute free electricity to the whole world", "yes, but how do I profit from this?", "The whole world will have power, for free, that is the profit. Free light, heat, refrigeration! For everyone!", "uhuh, but how to *I* profit from this?", "Well the entirety of the world will be better positioned to fight the elements and remain free from the common drudgery of survival, free to pursue an intellectual frontier presently inconceivable!", "Ahh, precisely my friend, inconceivable - I will finance a machine which sends a telegram across the ocean for this I will make you an incredibly wealthy man", "Bah, you will make me a mad man.", "What was that?", "Oh the money yes, I will be a wealthy mad man, yes."

Re:lol... (2, Interesting)

Relic of the Future (118669) | about a year ago | (#43918955)

There will probably be a slight increase in thyroid cancer rates. Luckily, thyroid cancer is one of the most-survivable types, especially when detected early, and people who were in the area will be checked regularly. The number of cancer deaths statistically-attributable to this will be very low, and as someone further down noted, the 20,000 dead by the tsunami will far-exceed them.

Re:lol... (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#43919929)

There will probably be a slight increase in thyroid cancer rates. Luckily, thyroid cancer is one of the most-survivable types, especially when detected early, and people who were in the area will be checked regularly. The number of cancer deaths statistically-attributable to this will be very low, and as someone further down noted, the 20,000 dead by the tsunami will far-exceed them.

Further proof that the threat of all things nuclear is just a diversion to take our attention away from the true danger. Dihydrogen Monoxide [dhmo.org]. This is the true menace to mankind. If we would have rid this planet of this toxic substance years ago those 20,000 people wound not have died (in the tsunami). In fact we wouldn't even be talking about Fukashima at all right now.

Re:lol... (4, Interesting)

Macgrrl (762836) | about a year ago | (#43919983)

I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer a little under 3 months ago, I had surgery within 2 weeks of the diagnosis.It was diagnosed stupidly early because my GP decided to run a full blood panel when I had to go in to be tested for something entirely different (liver function due to a medication I was on, with previous history of liver issues triggered by prescription pharmaceuticals).

I've been told that due to the size of the tumour (about 8.5mm, too small to feel through the skin) and the fact that it presented as a single tumour only which had not metastasised even within the thyroid that survival rates is talked about in terms of 20 years - after which too many other factors can affect your survival that it can no longer be attributed to a 20+ year old cancer. It wasn't even recommended that I do radiation therapy.

In some respects I felt a bit of a fraud as I barely got sick (I was experiencing significant fatigue and feeling the cold a lot), but got all the 'Oh Noes, it's CANCER!!!111!!!' sympathy. The surgeon told me "If you have to get cancer, this is the one you want to get."

12 people have a cancer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918751)

This story is not true.
12 people have a cancer by radiation.

Re:12 people have a cancer (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43918801)

This story is not true.
12 people have a cancer by radiation.

If you look at enough people anywhere, you'll find cancer cases, but not necessarily from radiation:

Thyroid cancer found in 12 minors in Fukushima [japantimes.co.jp]

FUKUSHIMA – An ongoing study on the impact of radiation on Fukushima residents from the crippled atomic power plant has found 12 minors with confirmed thyroid cancer diagnoses, up from three in a report in February, with 15 other suspected cases, up from seven, researchers announced Wednesday.

The figures were taken from about 174,000 people aged 18 or younger whose initial thyroid screening results have been confirmed.

Researchers at Fukushima Medical University, which has been taking the leading role in the study, have said they do not believe the most recent cases are related to the nuclear crisis.

Re:12 people have a cancer (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43918987)

Researchers at Fukushima Medical University, which has been taking the leading role in the study, have said they do not believe the most recent cases are related to the nuclear crisis.

In a homogenous society like Japan, what would you expect them to say? Do you also know that the Japanese never used Korean "comfort women"? Except maybe in Okinawa:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22666899 [bbc.co.uk]

Re:12 people have a cancer (5, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#43919193)

Researchers at Fukushima Medical University, which has been taking the leading role in the study, have said they do not believe the most recent cases are related to the nuclear crisis.

In a homogenous society like Japan, what would you expect them to say

Perhaps OP should have included the next sentence in the article in question:

They point out that thyroid cancer cases were not found among children hit by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident until four to five years later.

IN other words, check back in a few years, but until then, chill....

Re:12 people have a cancer (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about a year ago | (#43919853)

Bull. They admit the comfort women, it was even explicitly mentioned in an ill-posed statement by the mayor of Osaka.

Re:12 people have a cancer (3, Insightful)

schrall (1361555) | about a year ago | (#43919073)

Indeed. But they confirmed 5 cases out of 174.000 tested children... when the prevalence rate of thyroïd cancer is less than 2 in 1.000.000 in this area of Japan and age range, according to the article you are citing. Smells fishy to me.

Re:12 people have a cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919171)

The prevalence rate you quote is a lot narrower age range than "children under 18" mentioned as being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. For some kinds of thyroid cancer, age of exposure and development of problems make a huge difference. Additionally, is that the prevalence rate found due to thyroid cancer found from symptoms, or found from screening? Thyroid cancer is one of the cancers heavily discussed when talking about issues of over-diagnosis, where some times the treatment has much greater risks than not treating it at all, and that screening finds a lot more cases of it that would otherwise gone unnoticed because a portion of thyroid cancer never produces any symptoms or health impact.

Re:12 people have a cancer (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43919207)

Indeed. But they confirmed 5 cases out of 174.000 tested children... when the prevalence rate of thyroïd cancer is less than 2 in 1.000.000 in this area of Japan and age range, according to the article you are citing.
Smells fishy to me.

When you screen 100% of a population for a disease there's going to be a higher incidence rate than when only those showing obvious symptoms are found... especially for a disease like thyroid cancer, which is typically slow growing so it may not be discovered for years.

The 2 in a million rate is for "those aged 10 to 14 in Japan", while the screenings were for "174,000 people aged 18 or younger". A big difference in age range.

Re:12 people have a cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919809)

Could be all kinds of reasons, which is why neither you nor me are experts in epidemiology.

Would it have shown up so soon? (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#43919089)

Isn't there a long delay between exposure and visible cancer? Does the fact that the cases are visible now imply that they must have started before the accident?

Yes. This is about establishing a baseline. (2)

robbak (775424) | about a year ago | (#43919363)

Testing for cancers in a population at this time is all about establishing exactly what cancers existed before the problem. so you can accurately determine what effect the plant's failure will cause.

As the numbers seem slightly high, I suspect regression toward the mean will cause a drop in the number. That will cause confusion in the masses!

Re:Would it have shown up so soon? (5, Insightful)

rbrander (73222) | about a year ago | (#43919495)

Great article here on the effects of Cherynobyl: http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/chernobyl/backgrounder/en/index.html [who.int]

It does indeed say many thyroid cancers took years to turn up - but the number STARTED to increase right away, and it's fair to report that hasn't happened.

It seems unlikely that any effects of Fukushima will forever be impossible to count by keeping statistics. You cannot, even with Cherynobyl, ascribe a *particular* cancer case to the one cause, even there they can only say that "the cancer rate is higher by X%". They figure that some extra 4000 will die of cancer (than would have gone on to die of other causes later, of course) - but this is across hundreds of thousands exposed, so it's an increase in cancer rates of 3%-4% on that large group.

Chernobyl had the problem that they DIDN'T STOP DRINKING THE MILK in the area, the contaminated milk. Nobody made that mistake with any food near Fukishima. Worse yet, the kids in the area were iodine-deficient!

The cancer rate increase from Fukishima could be, say, a hundredth of Cherynobyl's (it's probably less), and be 0.03-0.04% ... you'll never be able to say whether the number is higher or not, because the error bar on just COUNTING cancer deaths (when Grandma has cancer and dies of a heart attack, would she have had the attack without the cancer? A doctor's call on that can change the outcome.) is much higher than 0.05%.

The cancer rate around Fukishima could be, say 100,000 dead out of 300,000 people when we add them all up 60 years from now - when the stats said it should have been 101,000. Then some stats guy will have to wearily explain that it was really 101,000 plus or minus 4,000 - and if only 100,000 died, then in that area's case it would have been 99,890, because by 2020, researchers using the disputed "no threshold" model had put the probable deaths at 150.

So our real story here, is why are we caring about a death rate that is smaller than a statistical error bar that nobody gives a crap about, at least as a news story.

Re:12 people have a cancer (5, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year ago | (#43918977)

This story is not true.

Now you're arguing with UN scientific research just like those "anti-science" AGW sceptics.

Yay for cherry picking your preferred science.

Japan doesn't need nuclear power (3, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43918755)

They have more than enough power projected to meet summer demand despite having only 2 of 50 nuclear power plants online:

http://japandailypress.com/no-electricity-austerity-measures-for-japan-this-summer-0926652 [japandailypress.com]

Anyone know how they made up the slack besides conservation? More coal? The article mentions "electric power companies have been looking to thermal power generation for their supplies", but it's not clear what that means - geothermal?

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (2, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#43918823)

Energy saving, which has brought Japan to this seemly comfortable position grants just a temporary relief. They will be hard pressed to turn the reactors again sooner or later. More likely sooner. Nuclear energy is not an option, either for Japan or any other country, it is an unavoidable path.

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43919007)

Nuclear energy is the safest, cleanest and cheapest energy we can have right now. Sure, one day we might have unicorn-powered rainbows that provide all of our energy needs but today its basically either coal or nuclear for practical, cheap energy. The problem with nuclear energy is that everyone's too scared to build new plants and so the only nuclear power plants we're running are the older, less safe design. Fukishima was designed in the 1960s, nuclear technology has advanced a lot since then and its become a lot safer.

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (5, Informative)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43919673)

A new nuclear plant costs billions of dollars, and the only way they ever get built at all is if the government guarantees to backstop disaster liability with taxpayer dollars. Otherwise private investors would never touch them.

That doesn't sound particularly cheap to me. And in fact it isn't [ucsusa.org].

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (2)

toQDuj (806112) | about a year ago | (#43919995)

Not energy saving (at which they are quite bad, as I can see living here), but burning coal is why they only need 2 power plants.

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (4, Informative)

lloydchristmas759 (1105487) | about a year ago | (#43918827)

The article mentions "electric power companies have been looking to thermal power generation for their supplies", but it's not clear what that means - geothermal?

No, thermal usually means coal [wikipedia.org].

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918835)

They made up for it with oil/natural gas fired turbine plants

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919361)

oil/natural gas

And of those two, what is "oil gas"?

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (3, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | about a year ago | (#43918839)

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (2)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#43919297)

Shades of Foundation here. Asimov was goddamn prophetic. We mismanage nuclear power and the response is not to learn and improve but to regress.

Coal ash is highly radioactive (5, Informative)

Attila the Bun (952109) | about a year ago | (#43919303)

The trouble is coal-fired power stations emit more radiation [scientificamerican.com] than nuclear reactors do. From the article: "fly ash emitted by a power plant [...] burning coal for electricity carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy." That statistic is from 1978, and nuclear reactor technology has greatly improved since then (and continues to improve).

Re:Coal ash is highly radioactive (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about a year ago | (#43920015)

Well, nuclear reactor designs may have improved, but the newer designs are not being built. So we are stuck with the old ones.

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919015)

Yes, yes they very do need nuclear power.

There were brownouts and blackouts for months when they were trying to import enough damn resources to keep the power grid stable, and still are. (aka, coal)

They sorely need nuclear, no modern country can go without it unless they are tiny. (and by that, I also mean density or size, whichever is smaller)
Either that or they can enjoy being massively dependent on other countries.

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about a year ago | (#43920029)

No brownouts or blackouts for the last 1.5 years here (north of Tokyo), I assure you! (and before that in the 60Hz-half of Japan).

Re:Japan doesn't need nuclear power (3, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#43919659)

Anyone know how they made up the slack besides conservation? More coal?

Yes coal. In fact they've been buying long-term contracts, or outright buying mines in Western Canada to supply their energy needs, though the fact that we are dripping in coal up here is of no consequence. One of the mines(Grande Cache Coal) where my sister lives(Grande Cache, AB) was bought out simply for that. And GC coal is now on the road to open a 2nd and 3rd strip mine, I believe that the agreements are complete, though I may be wrong. Oh and all this stuff is shipped by train, to the west coast.

I did find it funny there, there's so much oil, coal, and tar sands around there that you can watch it either ooze up from the ground, or right into the river. Oh and I can't forget natural gas, there's a reason the entire area from there to Grande Prairie is known as sour gas alley.

Oh noesss (3, Funny)

imikem (767509) | about a year ago | (#43918775)

The true message of this article should be quite different: All nuclear power must be abandoned this instant, forever, because, well, umm, if all the millisieverts were put together and given to a baby, it might get radiation sickness.

Won't somebody think of the children?

And for those who are mentally challenged: .

Re:Oh noesss (0)

imikem (767509) | about a year ago | (#43918781)

Lost the /satire tag...

Re:Oh noesss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918841)

I shall not have a scaremongering piece of trash such as you besmirch my good name! You're cowering in the face of my power because my it is incomprehensible to you. "How could he be so powerful?" you ask. You wouldn't be able to comprehend the explanation even if I told you, Slashdot intellectual. Just vanish, you piece of trash! You'd better not leave a single spec of dust behind; every single particle that makes up your body is poisoning to reality itself!

And meanwhile (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | about a year ago | (#43918779)

And meanwhile, foreign media all but ignore the close to 20 000 dead from the tsunami; that was the real disaster.

Not just foreign media (3, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#43918897)

Japan itself has been fixated on the nuclear aspects of the disaster. They're used to earthquakes and tsunamis and know that there isn't that much that can be done to prevent those disasters. They've focused on the nuclear aspect because 1. it's a newer type of disaster and 2. unlike earthquakes and tsunamis, it could have been prevented with a little more planning.

Re:Not just foreign media (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year ago | (#43918927)

Uh no earthquake and tsunami fatalities can be prevented as well. Building codes come to mind. Civilian disaster warning systems. Etc.

Re:Not just foreign media (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#43919091)

Preventing fatalities is not the same as preventing a disaster from actually occurring. All nuclear accidents can be prevented with enough planning and prevention. We haven't quite figured out how to stop a tsunami from hitting shore.

Re:Not just foreign media (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919139)

Nukes, with enough nukes you'll flat the bastard or boil the water trying to.

There is something that can be done (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43920025)

They're used to earthquakes and tsunamis and know that there isn't that much that can be done to prevent those disasters.

There isn't much that can be done... except of course for building a huge sea wall [dailymail.co.uk].

Step down from the soap box... (3)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43918937)

And meanwhile, foreign media all but ignore the close to 20 000 dead from the tsunami; that was the real disaster.

Nobody is ignoring the tragic lose of life from the tsunami. This story is about the nuclear power plans and the ability of the Japanese people to adjust to other forms of energy (including dirty coal).

Re:Step down from the soap box... (1)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | about a year ago | (#43919477)

No one is denying that this is about future of nuclear power here, but the gp provided an on-topic injection of perspective. Over 50% of the media coverage in this country was dedicated to a specific aspect of the larger tsunami disaster that from the very beginning clearly was going to claim a very small number of lives, if any.

Though I'm not sure what's the point any more. There is a portion of the population that extends far beyond the viewership of Fox News that refuses to base any decisions on anything but gut feelings. Quick, without googling, how many people died because of Three Mile Island? And yet it was still enough to be a death warrant for nuclear power in favor of technologies that merely cause global warming and poison the seas with mercury.

it was sickening (4, Insightful)

foreverdisillusioned (763799) | about a year ago | (#43919041)

This. In a rage I gave up trying to follow the disaster in the media after just a few days as it became clear there was little interest in the tens of thousands dead and harrowing stories of survival.

It's all the more screwed up seeing as how the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill happened just a year before. Eleven people died, instantly. Because unlike a modern nuclear reactor, oil will in fact explode with a giant fireball if something goes wrong. Unlike Fukushima, the ensuing geiser of oil quickly polluted hundreds of thousands of square miles to an extent that it was easily and prominently seen from space. Our solution to this was to dump millions of gallons of toxic and carcenogenic chemicals on top of it until we couldn't see the oil any more. Problem solved! Out of sight, out of mind. Meanwhile, how many billions of sea creatures perished and how many new cases of cancer are we going to see in the decades to come? We'll probably never know, because oil disasters just aren't sexy like nuclear disasters are.

Oh yeah, and I am sick and fucking tired of not being able to eat large amounts of the tastiest fish in the sea because they are contiminated with huge amounts of mercury, primarily (from my understanding) through the burning of coal. Imagine the hysteria we'd see if the fish were actually mildly radioactive instead of merely full of toxic heavy metals that, unlike most radioactive sources, linger in your body unless you undergo chelation therapy.

Nuclear sucks, it has security issues (although it could also safely and usefully dispose of all the Uranium 235 in the world, an angle I rarely hear anyone mention), and it's not renewable. But it would be so, so nice if people would fucking grow up and make even a token effort at objectively evaluating opportunity costs instead of continually screaming at the top of their lungs about pet issues.

Re:it was sickening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919229)

You are not alone. But I don't rage at this. This is unintentional ignorance and malady. At least. And few people have all these answers.

Re:it was sickening (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43919715)

This. In a rage I gave up trying to follow the disaster in the media after just a few days as it became clear there was little interest in the tens of thousands dead and harrowing stories of survival.

The problem isn't the media - the problem is that you're a sick bastard. How many must suffer so the media can feed your hunger for "harrowing stories of survival"?

Farse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918871)

There have been plenty of people in Japan that have gotten sick, many with common acute radiation sickness, such as hairloss, teethloss, stroke, Thyroid, etc, They just ignore reporting the victims or classify their illiness to something else so they can claim it not a problem.

As Orwell wrote " 'He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.", he that controls the news controls the past and future.

Stepped in a pool of radioactive water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918891)

Something seems maybe not quite right; wasn't there an engineer(s) who inadvertantly stepped in a pool of radioactive water, and got enough exposure to get skin burns? My google-fu is lacking, I can find references to the incident, but I can't find their estimated doses - I remember it being a big deal at the time, though...

Re:Stepped in a pool of radioactive water (2)

mu22le (766735) | about a year ago | (#43918921)

Something seems maybe not quite right; wasn't there an engineer(s) who inadvertantly stepped in a pool of radioactive water, and got enough exposure to get skin burns? My google-fu is lacking, I can find references to the incident, but I can't find their estimated doses - I remember it being a big deal at the time, though...

Q: What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool? Would I need to dive to actually experience a fatal amount of radiation? How long could I stay safely at the surface?

A: Assuming you’re a reasonably good swimmer, you could probably survive treading water anywhere from 10 to 40 hours. At that point, you would black out from fatigue and drown. This is also true for a pool without nuclear fuel in the bottom.

http://what-if.xkcd.com/29/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Stepped in a pool of radioactive water (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#43919021)

Something seems maybe not quite right; wasn't there an engineer(s) who inadvertantly stepped in a pool of radioactive water, and got enough exposure to get skin burns? My google-fu is lacking, I can find references to the incident, but I can't find their estimated doses - I remember it being a big deal at the time, though...

Q: What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool? Would I need to dive to actually experience a fatal amount of radiation? How long could I stay safely at the surface?

A: Assuming you’re a reasonably good swimmer, you could probably survive treading water anywhere from 10 to 40 hours. At that point, you would black out from fatigue and drown. This is also true for a pool without nuclear fuel in the bottom.

http://what-if.xkcd.com/29/ [xkcd.com]

I think the XKCD case is quite different than what the grandparent poster said -- the XKCD case is talking about a purified water tank, while a random "pool of radioactive water" in a disaster zone is likely full of radioactive contaminants (not that the water itself is radioactive).

However, I haven't heard of the "stepped in a pool of radioactive water" cases. There were some reports early in the disaster of workers taken to the hospital with radiation exposure, but without enough detail or followup to know if it really was radiation exposure, electrical arc flash burns, conventional fire exposure, etc. Information is muddled in a disaster and even official spokesman don't always have the correct information. Are there any other sources that verify that the workers suffered from radiation exposure?

Re:Stepped in a pool of radioactive water (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#43919257)

There were some reports early in the disaster of workers taken to the hospital with radiation exposure,

The two workers were released from hospital a few days later. It wasn't splattered over the world news channels the way their admittance to hospital was.

Re:Stepped in a pool of radioactive water (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919049)

posting to clear bad mod

Re:Stepped in a pool of radioactive water (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43919037)

    I thought they had like a death squad of volunteers to go fix something. Guess they did not die.

        If you look at old videos of the Chernobyl incident. Helicopters falling out of the sky into the sarcophagus and people dieing hours after they got out of the building were the reactor was housed (they were sandbagging or pouring cement trying to seal it etc...)

        I think Chernobyl was way worse then Fukishima. But I don't really trust the Japanese government nearly as much as I trust the U.S. one and I trust neither very much.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbCcutzXzYg [youtube.com] -- video footage of the worst of Chernobyl

        I doubt the press could even get near Fukishima's danger zones.

***Note I do not necessarily disagree with the below comments etc...

Re:Stepped in a pool of radioactive water (2)

Relic of the Future (118669) | about a year ago | (#43919195)

A "death squad" volunteered, but they were not permitted to help. And no "thinks" about it, Chernobyl was worse.

Re:Stepped in a pool of radioactive water (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43919277)

Your right. I could have used more absolute terminology. I wouldn't say Fukishima is near as bad as Chernobyl. For starts people knew how to handle the situations vs rushing in blindly.

IT IS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918895)

JAPANESE RESILIAAAAAAANCE,notice that in bombardment pictures those fucking Toris never fall!

more evidence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43918979)

That we need to stop nuclear power immediately
love,
antinucular-activist

helpful benefits too (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about a year ago | (#43918999)

In another story the families of the irradiated workers are claiming how nice it is to have a night light for free...

Re:helpful benefits too (2)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#43919071)

"There is no radiation related problems", said the committee chairman, as ge gesticulated wildly with his tentacles.

Re:helpful benefits too (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43919795)

"There is no radiation related problems", said the committee chairman, as ge gesticulated wildly with his tentacles.

Listen to him. Anybody that has two heads must be pretty smart.

We unfortunately cannot rely on the numbers... (5, Insightful)

schrall (1361555) | about a year ago | (#43919011)

... because some of the subcontractors were forced to shield their counters [asahi.com]. The problem was even discussed on Slashdot [slashdot.org]. This means that the numbers are underestimated. Probably badly, knowing how japanese usually keep quiet on this kind of problems.

Re:We unfortunately cannot rely on the numbers... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#43919379)

... because some of the subcontractors were forced to shield their counters.

From your citation, there were 5 people so affected, and the exposures could have been as much as 30% low as a result of the 3mm lead shields in question.

Assuming that the five in question were among the six that TFA says got up to 678 mSv, then it's possible that one or more of those five might have gotten ALMOST 1 Sv, which is the single dose (lower) limit for acute radiation sickness.

Assuming, of course, that one or more of those five actually got their total dose in a single exposure, as opposed to over a period of weeks/months.

Re:We unfortunately cannot rely on the numbers... (1, Insightful)

GoChickenFat (743372) | about a year ago | (#43919631)

But it's a UN Scientific Committee made up of scientists. We always believe scientist because we are not scientists and they are so we are not allowed to question their science.

Re:We unfortunately cannot rely on the numbers... (2)

toQDuj (806112) | about a year ago | (#43919833)

Well, you are allowed to question, but we (nuclear scientists) hope that you know what you are talking about and bring something insightful comments to the table.

Re:We unfortunately cannot rely on the numbers... (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43920011)

The study isn't about received radiation, but observable health effects.

Opportunity for government coercion: none (0)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43919035)

Chance of this story getting widely reported: none.

Since this story doesn't advance the opportunity for governments to exercise and consolidate power over individuals, it will not be widely reported.

The wingnuts (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#43919233)

But there are still wingnuts who claim they can detect the radiation as far as California, that all tuna in the oceans are radioactive, etc.

The blinding stupidity of the human race and it's gullability for what they read/see on the internet will never cease to amaze me.

Re:The wingnuts (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43919697)

But there are still wingnuts who claim they can detect the radiation as far as California, that all tuna in the oceans are radioactive, etc.

That's the beauty of the Internet; it turns the million-monkeys-on-typewriters idea from a thought experiment into an actual everyday experience.

For any idiotic idea you can think of, there's someone on the Internet proclaiming it as true.

I wouldn't use that as a method for judging the intelligence of the entire human race, though.

Re:The wingnuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919969)

>I wouldn't use that as a method for judging the intelligence of the entire human race, though

I would.

We're stupid.

Emergency Safety Measures Work (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919247)

From the article:

A swift evacuation of 200,000 residents within a 20-kilometre radius of the plant helped protect them â" WHO estimated most residents of Fukushima prefecture received doses of 1-10 mSv in the first year.

[...]

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

Philosophical Question: Do those 1000 deaths not count because they were not directly due to radiation poisoning? I mean, they wouldn't have happened if there had been no meltdown...

Re:Emergency Safety Measures Work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919927)

Which is why the "better safe than sorry" approach doesn't always work in the real world, because sometimes the "safe" approach has its own costs, which may be higher than the costs of what you are trying to avoid.

Fukushima radiation disaster no injuries? (2, Informative)

dgharmon (2564621) | about a year ago | (#43919315)

Mar 2011: "Tokyo Electric, the owners of the plant, said five workers had been killed at the site, two were missing and 21 had been injured." link [telegraph.co.uk]

Apr 2011: "On March 24, three workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant were exposed accidentally to high localised radiation while standing in contaminated water". link [thelancet.com]

Jul 2011: "A newly released document says the Japanese government estimated in April that some 1600 workers will be exposed to high levels of radiation in the course of handling the reactor meltdowns at the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant". link [time.com]

Dec 2011: "Masao Yoshida, who led the fight to bring Japanâ(TM)s crippled Fukushima nuclear station under control, steps down tomorrow for medical treatment after almost nine months directing the disaster response from inside the plant". link [businessweek.com]

Dec 2012: "Dozens of workers received potentially cancerous doses of radiation to their thyroid glands during recovery work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to data submitted to the World Health Organization. link [asahi.com]

July 2012: "An executive at construction firm Build-Up in December told about 10 of its workers to cover their dosimeters, used to measure cumulative radiation exposure, with lead casings when working in areas with high radiation, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and other media said." link [fairwhistleblower.ca]

July 2012: "Japanese officials are investigating whether workers cleaning up in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster were pushed to shield their radiation meters so they could keep working for longer on the contaminated plant". link [latimes.com]

Re:Fukushima radiation disaster no injuries? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919711)

And yet, no one seriously injured. Even the 3 people that were standing in highly radioactive water, they only had some redness that went away after a few days. They are just fine now.

Mar 2011: "Tokyo Electric, the owners of the plant, said five workers had been killed at the site, two were missing and 21 had been injured."

When a fucking crane collapsed on them because of the earthquake and tsunami! Some others drowned or were swept away. Yes sir, the tsunami was because of nuclear power! Maybe you should blame the 20,000 people that died on nuclear power too???

Now, get back to burning more coal! Burn baby burn!

For those that say Japan doesn't need nuclear power, you people don't know about economics. Japan is basically in a trade deficit because they have to import coal, oil and gas. Nuclear power saves Japan $50B (not yen, dollars) a year. Not only that, the money spent on nuclear power is spent on local employment using local currency. Coal, oil, and gas have to imported from outside Japan using up foreign reserves. They also create jobs outside Japan, while increasing local unemployment and poverty.

Japan has a choice. It will remain nuclear powered, or it will be taken down a few notches on standard of living scale.

It has only been 2 years... (5, Informative)

I_am_Syrinx (461302) | about a year ago | (#43919323)

In a 2004 study on this very subject, it was determined that the mean latency period for thyroid cancer to appear after radiation exposure was over 30 years. Some appear sooner, of course, but many appeared much later than that. What is the point of this report? At best, the proclamation of not causing any noticeable immediate harm is premature. But saying that the exposure is "unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future" borders on irresponsible, and seems driven by an agenda.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1356259/ [nih.gov]

UN & Fukushima vs. Climate Change, attitudes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919555)

I wonder. If one takes all the Slashdotters that, in responding to this post, tout the accuracy of the IPCC report (ostensibly a UN Body), but decry this report as being wrong, bad science, improper collection, etc. I wonder what that would look like. My hunch is that when the science agrees with your worldview you see the subject opinion as science, consensus, etc. and when it doesn't, it's a fraud... probably equally so for those observers on the left (most Slashdotters) as those on the right on a per capita basis.

Maybe that article sometime ago about biases in viewing science results based on political viewpoints might prove out in a way the authors of that study thought only applied to conservatives.

I smell a video game a brewin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919561)

Fallout 4 Fukushima!

Biznatch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43919759)

OUTER sPACE THE Of OpenBSD. How

Exclusion zone? (1)

multi io (640409) | about a year ago | (#43920031)

So they minimized the number of statistical radiation-induced deaths down to some small value by permanently evacuating an area of hundreds of square miles around the reactor? Still doesn't sound like a trivial thing to me.
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