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How Japanese Scientists Are Monitoring Fukushima Babies For Radiation Exposure

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the won't-somebody-please-scan-the-children dept.

Japan 95

KentuckyFC writes "Parents in the Fukushima region of Japan are intensely worried that their children may be consuming food and water contaminated with radiation. But whole body scanners used to monitor the internal radiation levels of adults don't work for children who cannot stand up inside them. What's more, the machines are not sensitive enough to detect problematic radiation levels in children. That's because children metabolize substances faster than adults and have a lower mass to start with, so the levels of radiation in their bodies tend to be lower. For example, if each adult ingests 3 Becquerels of cesium-137 every day, the internal levels would reach an equilibrium of about 400 Bq/adult body. But a similar intake for a 1-year old child would result in an equilibrium level of about 60 Bq/body, well below the 250 Bq/body sensitivity of adult scanners. Now a team of engineers has built a whole body scanner that is sensitive enough for the job and that children can play inside for the 4 minutes necessary to scan them. And they say the results of the first 100 scans of Fukushima children (average age 4.2 years) are reassuring--none show any evidence of cesium-137. So far."

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Other obvious tests (-1, Redundant)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#46387073)

Jesus, how hard is it?

- Does he roar flames?
- Does she have tentacles growing out of her?
- Do things start flying around the doctor's office while the baby gets a wincing, colicky-like face?

Re:Other obvious tests (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#46401143)

-1: Stupid, maybe. It is impossible for the first post to be redundant.

How they monitor babies... (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 8 months ago | (#46387075)

Depends... how "young" are these "babies" of which you speak? I've seen some videos involving school uniforms...

Exposure .... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387091)

That is because the radiation levels around the area of Fukisima are so low that no-one in the general population are likely to have any exposure

If one of them has an x-ray then they will get a radiation dose much much higher than any of these figures

This has been blown up out of all proportion to the actual likelyhood of anyone getting exposed

Re:Exposure .... (4, Informative)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 8 months ago | (#46387101)

The anti-nuclear crowd like to terrorise people with irrational fear.

Re:Exposure .... (3, Insightful)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | about 8 months ago | (#46387169)

This looks more like a way to actually monitor the real results. If the kids are fine it will go a long way towards dismissing that irrational fear. If they aren't then the fear wasn't that irrational.

Re:Exposure .... (0)

Optimal Cynic (2886377) | about 8 months ago | (#46387305)

Your optimism is a triumph, it really is.

Re:Exposure .... (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46387677)

Your optimism is a triumph, it really is.

People fear what they do not know or understand. Hard information, like this test provides, is a good antidote.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

kqs (1038910) | about 8 months ago | (#46391349)

So how do you explain the anti-vaxxers or the AGW-deniers?

Sadly, I assert that anyone who fears the radiation in Japan has already demonstrated that hard information is unimportant to them.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46387327)

I don't consider it irrational to fear something you can not smell, feel, see. Something you can not protect yourself from (you have to 'trust' the label on the food, e.g.) or something you can not heal from if you actually 'catch' it.
Considering that we are talking about Japan, which had a few 100 thousand post bombing nuclear death (people who died from radiation poisoning - or how ever you want to call it - from the remnants of the two WWII bombs till into the early 1980s)
The only 'positive' thing is that they seem to manage to keep contaminated food out of the food chain for children.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46387583)

Japan, which had a few 100 thousand post bombing nuclear death (people who died from radiation poisoning - or how ever you want to call it - from the remnants of the two WWII bombs till into the early 1980s)

Considering that there were fewer than 250,000 deaths as a result of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, mostly from the big explosions, it's unlikely they managed hundreds of thousands of deaths from radiation.

Note, by the by, that radiation from the nuclear blast is NOT the same as radioactive particle absorption....

How many die from murder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387895)

How many die in murders?

So the laws against murder are "irrational"?

Re:Exposure .... (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46388613)

The hospital bills contradict you.
The blast(s) happend instantly and killed both roughly 100,000.
Already a week later noth bombs had killed an anditional 100,000 each. That means a week later we are already far beyond your proposed 250,000.
Over the following 40 years roughly the same amount of people (another 400,000) died to late bomb effects.
Cam all be easily googled, and unlike your country I learned that in school during the 1970s-1980s ... perhaps my country and Japan both are considered losers of the war? No Idea.
Nevertheless the missery of the late effects of the bombs never where a secret in germany. A main reason why we are against atomic weapons and nuclear reactors.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#46391711)

The blast(s) happend instantly and killed both roughly 100,000. Already a week later noth bombs had killed an anditional 100,000 each. That means a week later we are already far beyond your proposed 250,000.

Only if that actually happened. It's amazing how many of these things never happened. I think what happened here is that someone used a really bad statistical method to generate a spurious and egregious overestimate of deaths from the two atomic bombs. And then a certain gullible Slashdotter sucked that up, hook, line, and sinker.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46396779)

Sorry,
You are mistaken. There plenty of books (over thousand) hundrets translated into german and english, written by people who lived during that time. The late death, mostly suffering for years and the malformed born are called Hibakusha.
There are dozens if not hundrets of jap. authors writing abouot their real live experiences. Just google ...
I'm a bit tired about the downplaying of the atomic bombs, is that a way to try to feel less guilty?

Re:Exposure .... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#46402575)

I'm a bit tired about the downplaying of the atomic bombs, is that a way to try to feel less guilty?

I think it's more that I'm getting real tired of the bullshit.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46404519)

Then use google or ask a history teacher.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#46409199)

I think it's better to contest these sorts of fantasy numbers wherever they appear. The US military did their own studies on deaths. They had far more incentive to exaggerate the effects of the blasts (for Cold War propaganda against the USSR) than your sources did and yet they didn't come up with 400k deaths in the first week but more like 150k deaths.

Let's examine something you wrote a little earlier:

There plenty of books (over thousand) hundrets translated into german and english, written by people who lived during that time. The late death, mostly suffering for years and the malformed born are

Note that this is not evidence (and yet this is the only thing so far that you have presented as such aside from hypothetical "hospital bills"). Whether the atomic bombs killed 150k or 800k, those testimonies would still exist in similar number. They fail to distinguish between the official version and your version.

My view is that people who exaggerate harm, even when they don't have to, are peddlers of propaganda without even a remote interest in the truth. You should be very careful of these people.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46409327)

My version is official as yours, after all most numbers I mentioned are on wikipedia with cross references.
Hence: it is not "my version".

Of course the books ARE EVIDENCE, they written mainly by people who lived in the areas and lost their families and friends. When they tell that a grand parent has survived the blast and the weeks afterwards but came into hospital 1960 where he was in a special treatment area with dozens of similar cases, and the author visited his grand pa every week for years ... why should anybody doubt that? I suggest you google a bit, at least a dozen of those authors gained world fame for their books.

I certainly trust a survivor more than an US report written 1949 ... people continued dying till the late 1970s early 80s, I doubt there are any reports about that made by the US military anyway.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#46409807)

My version is official as yours, after all most numbers I mentioned are on wikipedia with cross references.

Wikipedia tops out at an estimate of 250k deaths. And only 1900 deaths afterward are attributed to radiation-caused deaths.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46410381)

The US version perhaps, but there is the japanese and the german and the italian ...

210 k - 250k death are the direct death of the attacks and have nothing to do with the people who died later.

A no brainer to realize the number is not conclusive if it is equal to the amount of people that died in the blast.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#46415007)

210 k - 250k death are the direct death of the attacks and have nothing to do with the people who died later.

A no brainer to realize the number is not conclusive if it is equal to the amount of people that died in the blast.

150k are. The US studied this in careful detail.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#46410099)

Of course the books ARE EVIDENCE, they written mainly by people who lived in the areas and lost their families and friends.

Of course, they aren't. They don't tell us the number of deaths. No one is contesting whether there was use of atomic bombs.

When they tell that a grand parent has survived the blast and the weeks afterwards but came into hospital 1960 where he was in a special treatment area with dozens of similar cases, and the author visited his grand pa every week for years ... why should anybody doubt that?

So there were "dozens" of deaths in the aftermath of these bombings? We already know there were at least 1900. These stories don't tell us whether there was 1900 or 400k such deaths.

people continued dying till the late 1970s early 80s

People will continue to die until there are no more people. Again, you don't seem to understand what evidence is.

Since I pity your inability to form a logical argument, I'll give you a freebie. There are other ways to die after the fact from an atomic explosion than radiation.

If you get burned over half your body, that'll hurt your chances of future survival, even if you recover from it. It might even result in higher cancer rates due to the tissue regeneration and healing. Similarly, if you are permanently blinded by the flash from the atomic explosion then that can increase your chances of dying from various sorts of accidents (such as falling).

There should be a lot of people who die from what injuries they suffered from the atomic bomb blasts. They just won't be dying from radiation-caused deaths.

But rather than serious estimates based on actual injuries received, we get the anti-nuke hysteria. The whole point of these ridiculously exaggerated death counts is to scare people now not do a proper accounting of what happened then.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46410337)

WTF a book written by an eye witness is no evidence?
Wow ... perhaps you should go back to school?

Re:Exposure .... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#46415033)

WTF a book written by an eye witness is no evidence?

Yes, you idiot. How many hundreds of thousands of deaths did those eye witnesses personally count?

Once again, something is evidence if it distinguishes between two hypotheses. If it doesn't, then it isn't evidence. There is no question that a lot of people died. What is being discussed here is how many.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46433337)

Now, I imagine some people might be offended, including the person I'm replying to, but I think the label is well-justified here. If someone were on trial for the deaths of these people, I would consider these eye witness accounts as evidence for two reasons. First, that they support that the attacks actually happened and would demonstrate some of the destructive power of atomic bombs. Second, that they'd give an personal viewpoint and emotional depth to the would-be crime and would help bring the reality of the event to judges, jurors, etc.

But if these were meant to support a particular number of deaths, then they'd be dismantled instantly by a competent defense attorney - particularly if the eyewitness were suffering from injury, exhaustion, or deep hunger.

I basically said all that a couple of posts back. So when someone asks a question like the one I quoted - when I had already solidly and explicitly answered in the negative, what are they expecting as an answer? Repeating the question without even acknowledging my answer is IMHO idiotic.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46387749)

Something you can not protect yourself from

But you CAN protect yourself from Cs-137. Standard anti-radiation pills (potassium iodide) work well. Cesium is chemically very similar to potassium, and the surfeit of potassium from the pills causes Cs-137 (as well as K-40 and I-133) to be excreted with your urine. If you don't have anti-radiation pills, then water purification tablets and/or "lite-salt" will also work.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46388561)

Whater purification tablets against radiation problems?
Wow ....
Good luck with that.
What good is it to take "pills" against Cs-137 when you have to fight against one hundret different radioactive isotopes?
We are not talking about intake via the environmemt anyway, but about FOOD!
For your interest: if you are in an Cs-137 contaminated environment and you take Cs 'pills', it only lowers the total amount of Cs-137 incorporated, it does not protect you!
Or do you really think your body has a door with body guards that say: you are Cs-137, you may not pass, you are Cs-136, you may pass? They way it works is to flood you with Cs, so the radioctive part is a low percentage.
Same for every other salt/element.

You don't even know the basics about chemistry but feel you are an expert in radiology, wow ... I hope such accidents necver happen in your area.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46389031)

Whater purification tablets against radiation problems?

Yup. Check the ingredients on your tablets. The main ingredient is usually potassium iodide.

What good is it to take "pills" against Cs-137 when you have to fight against one hundret different radioactive isotopes?

There may be hundreds of isotopes. But there are only a few you need to worry about. Most decay too quickly, or do not bio-accumulate. Your biggest concerns are I-131, Cs-137 and Sr-90. The iodine is absorbed by the thyroid. Cesium behaves like potassium biologically, and strontium behaves like calcium. All of these are rare enough that you can swamp them with non-radioactive substances, and cause them to be mostly excreted. So you take potassium iodide tables to flush out the I-131 and Cs-137. Adults don't have to worry too much about Sr-90, but kids with growing bones should take plenty of calcium supplements if exposed.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46397055)

Nevertheless taking such pills only reduces the amount by this effect:
a) no pill: you get 100mg radioactive element via nutrition and 100mg non radioactive bia nutrition. Your body needs 100mg, it takes 50mg from both sources
b) you take a pill with 200mg, you receive still 100mg radioactive element and you also get 100mg non radioactive via nutrition. Your total intake is 400mg, 100mg radioactive element wander through you while you digest. Your body needs 100mg, your total intake was 400mg, 25mg the body incorporates is radioactive (because it is one quarter of the total intake)

Hence: the pills have only a limited effect.
That works for every element the same.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46389959)

Or do you really think your body has a door with body guards that say: you are Cs-137, you may not pass, you are Cs-136, you may pass?

No, the way it works is that quantum mechanics tells Cs-136 "sorry, pal, you're not gonna make it". Cs-136 has a half-life of 13.16 days and there's no way for it to be generated by decay of other elements (in other words, this isotope can only get produced in a live reactor).

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46397089)

Regardless what kind of sublemnt pill you take, a percentage equal to the percentage of radioactive elements you take in will be incorporated.

If your body needs 100mg of X and you get via nutrition 100mg radioactve ones and 100mg non radioactive ones the body will incorperate from both in a 50 / 50 relation.

So you take a pill to increase the intake of the non radioactive one. Now you still have 100mg radioactive and lets say for math sake the pill had 900mg non radioactive of that element.
Now as your body still wants 100mg it takes statistically 10mg from the radioactive one and 90mg from the (900mg pill) non radioactive one.

Pretty simple. In other words: pills don't protect you. They only lower the dose you will get in the end.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46397111)

In other words: pills don't protect you. They only lower the dose you will get in the end.

I don't see people stopping using antibiotics, even though you could make the same argument about them.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46387795)

Considering that we are talking about Japan, which had a few 100 thousand post bombing nuclear death (people who died from radiation poisoning - or how ever you want to call it - from the remnants of the two WWII bombs till into the early 1980s)

This is a highly spurious claim. As far as I'm aware, the vast majority of H&N deaths that were not immediate or mechanical in nature (killed by vaporizing, flying debris, crushing injuries, bleeding to death after injury etc.) and that were attributable to radiation poisoning happened in the few weeks following after the explosions. Any deaths following that period attributable to the bombings were cancer deaths where the exposure acted as a cause of heightened probability of getting cancer later in life. Wikipedia (linking to http://www.rerf.or.jp/general/... [rerf.or.jp] ) claims that 2000 such deaths (of cancer precipitated by long term effects of short-term radiation exposure) took place, not hundreds of thousands.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46388183)

Most deathes in the years from 1950 till 1970/1980 where not only cancer but malformed children and other genetic defects.

Re:Exposure .... (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46389875)

And you have a source for that claim? You know, something like this:

By the way, a significant portion of fertilized eggs or embryos (up to half of them? [nih.gov] ) isn't viable because of genetic or developmental defects and they get spontaneously miscarried. This happens naturally, without any anthropogenic radiation or radioisotopes.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46397135)

You can google for your self. 'Hibakusha'.

If there where no birth defects I wonder where the pictures and the visits in german hospitals come from.

Or was there a huge education mafia when I was in school which taught us nonsense? Perhaps ...

Re:Exposure .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387367)

If no contamination is found, the anti-nuclear groups will just claim another cover-up by the government

Re:Exposure .... (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 8 months ago | (#46387921)

This looks more like a way to actually monitor the real results. If the kids are fine it will go a long way towards dismissing that irrational fear. If they aren't then the fear wasn't that irrational.

Obi-Wan once thought as you do. You don't know the power of irrational fear.

Re:Exposure .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387283)

The "pro-nuclear" "crowd" makes up bullshit "victimstance" to try to pretend there is nothing unsafe about 3 melted down nuclear reactors.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about 8 months ago | (#46387389)

The "pro-nuclear" "crowd" makes up bullshit "victimstance" to try to pretend there is nothing unsafe about 3 melted down nuclear reactors.

What meltdown?

It seems like lying is a prerequisite for joining the anti-nuclear brigade.

http://www.theage.com.au/comme... [theage.com.au]

Did you not read the newspapers? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387507)

The Fukishima nuclear plant has three inoperative nuclear power plants because it had a meltdown after being flooded by a tsunami.

Did you miss the news? If so, why did you not wonder what this entire thing was about?

Re: Did you not read the newspapers? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387679)

The person you replied to was being disingenuous. Because Tepco and the Japanese government have never officially stated that the reactors melted down, then of course (by the GP's logic), no meltdown occurred. Just some little hydrogen explosions.

Never mind that the reactors went without coolant for days, I'm sure the nuclear fuel is just fine and dandy, and the reactors could probably be started back up any time they want.

But yes, at any rate, at least 3 of the reactors at least partially melted down. They have been leaking radioactive coolant into the sea going on three years now. That's the reality of the situation, whether or not some people choose to ignore it.

Re: Did you not read the newspapers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46388223)

No No. Everything is fine. Nothing to see here. Its like a crate of bananas got dumped into the ocean. Are you saying there is something wrong with bananas?

Re:Exposure .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387653)

"What meltdown" - shows EXACTLY how dishonest and clueless people who pretend nuclear power has NO risks.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

phayes (202222) | about 8 months ago | (#46388147)

So tell us Coward, just how many deaths have there been from the meltdown? Still zero, right?

The dishonesty & cluelessness is coming from the anti-Nukes like you.

That the summary ends with "so far" when cesium levels should be slowly decreasing just shows how widespread the clueless are.

Re:Exposure .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46388263)

" just how many deaths have there been from the meltdown " - Because if you can't instantly attribute a death to something long-lasting like radiation exposure, it's harmless.

The "nuclear waste can do no wrong" crowd truly sucks the glowing dick of failed logic sometimes.

Re:Exposure .... (4, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 8 months ago | (#46387291)

The anti-nuclear crowd like to terrorise people with irrational fear.

Well, not completely irrational. If we were to take a non-nuclear but similar situation, let's look at the chemical tank leak in West Virginia. Despite authorities declaring it safe, residents still don't want to drink the water, and there are detectable levels of the poisonous chemical in the water.

Why the irrational citizens?

Trust.

The fact is that there is absolutely no trust in either case, Fukushima's reactor problems, nor West Virginia's water woes.

MCHM - a cocktail of chemicals implicated in the West Virginia incident is proven toxic.

Radioactivity is proven toxic to humans also. With an issue of being invisible, and not readily detectable by humans -without technology - except in the case of really massive doses.

Point is, with no trust, and reassurance that all is well and safe, how many people will look at all the footage from Fukushima, the exploding buildings, and other issues, and say, "As a completely rational person, I gotta get some of that Fukushima action in my hometown!"? It's sort of a case of the old adage, when words and actions conflict, believe the actions.

I'm pro-Nuc power. But I also understand something about people. And if you think that your calling most people stupid and irrational is going to get you anywhere, you are badly mistaken.

Why isn't it rational fear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387451)

I'm afraid of being run over in a car accident. That's rational, surely?

If not, why?

Re:Why isn't it rational fear? (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about 8 months ago | (#46389077)

It is not irrational at all, probably makes you behave in a manner consistent with a desire not to get run over in a car accident, so you don't play with cars on the freeway, you don't run into busy intersections when you don't have the right of way, etc.
Irrational is not leaving the house because there are cars out there.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 8 months ago | (#46387617)

"The anti-nuclear crowd like to terrorise people with irrational fear."

The Japanese know firsthand (and secondhand) that fearing nukes is nothing irrational.

Re:Exposure .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387935)

The anti-nuclear crowd like to terrorise people with irrational fear.

While the pro-nuclear crowd likes to act like it's perfectly safe, which is itself completely irrational.

Somewhere between those two positions is reality.

But don't go around acting like there are no dangers associated with nuclear energy. We already know there are many, and the people who are supposed to be able to deal with it often can't.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

phayes (202222) | about 8 months ago | (#46388205)

Compare the zero deaths from the meltdown to the thousands of deaths from the tsunami. The Anti-Nuke crowd (like the submitter) wants us to worry about the zero death scenario whereas the rational man worries more about the thousands of deaths. I don't claim that there are no dangers to nuclear energy but between the need to reduce carbon without breaking the economy and the massive amounts of radioactivity dispersed by coal plants without the Anti-Nukes reacting, I am more pro Nuke than anti & refuse to be swayed by irrational arguments.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46388637)

Western journalists, fricasseed as they have been in the anti-technology faith they absorbed in the Seventies, are the ones fanning the irrational fear. The Japanese have a history of being a lot more rational about engineering risk, which is why they will restart their reactors long before we get around to building the first of our own new-generation designs.

Having an instrument sensitive enough to detect the low emissivities cited in this article will do a lot of good, especially given that the average human body crackles day and night with about 7000 Bq of background.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 8 months ago | (#46391719)

The Japanese did restart a couple of reactors at Ohi about a year after 3/11 happened. Due to the way nuclear power is licenced and regulated in Japan they ran for 13 months before they were shut down for refuelling and inspection. Those two particular reactors have not yet restarted in part because the restart requires the agreement of the local government; in US terms that would be the county seat that hosts the reactors. The locals agreed to the first restart, they have hesitated allowing a second restart. A lot of the existing reactors in Japan (38 of them, I think) have been through a test and prep exercise over safety from earthquakes, tsunami, kaiju attacks etc. and the operators have applied for restarts. Nothing will happen quickly though.

On the other hand the US broke ground on four GenIII AP1000 reactors in 2013 as well as restarting the construction of another reactor in Tennessee (Watts Bar 2) that was left half-built a couple of decades ago. This one should be online next year, tabun.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46391913)

I'm aware that those US reactors were NRC-approved, but under the US system that is just the start of a twenty-year process of legal challenges by every "environmental" activist cabal known to hypochondria. Remember, those same activists added several years to the build for the Ivanpah solar plant in California. On nuclear, their whole strategy is to keep imposing years of gratuitous delay while the bonding interest keeps steadily clicking upward. Then they can claim that nuclear "costs too much" because of the extra cost their own pettifoggery imposes. With the same strategy, they could make a single family house cost ten million dollars.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 8 months ago | (#46392327)

No, the four new reactors are being built right now, bending rebar and pouring concrete on site as I type this. The legal challenges and other distractions are done and dusted, the financial instruments are arranged with Government guarantees for the commercial-market loans (not financial payments, just guarantees) that are paying for the builds.

I don't think there are many if any new starts going to happen this year, on the other hand about 75% of the existing nuclear fleet in the US has received licence extensions past the original forty year mark and most in that age bracket are in train for mid-life upgrades and replacement of parts that are wearing out, like steam generators etc.

Right now gas is cheap, coal is cheaper, nobody cares that much about flue gases and pollution from coal and gas generators and wind and solar are still getting lots of financial and legislative support from the government. Nuclear is the Cinderella of the US electricity market, unloved and untrusted but working away day after day generating about 20% of the US total requirement without emitting CO2, mercury, nitrous oxides, sulphur compounds, dioxins, cadmium, radium, radon gas etc.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46393323)

Let's all hope that no "stakeholders" with a direct line to the Ninth Circuit show up when we least expect it.

And sorry for the unclosed tag.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46387125)

This has been blown up out of all proportion to the actual likelyhood of anyone getting exposed

Which will likely, and hopefully, remain true. But what if it doesn't? And wouldn't it be exactly this sort of test which would bring it to attention?

Re:Exposure .... (1)

KDN (3283) | about 8 months ago | (#46387141)

I'm not an expert in radio isotope absorption. But my understanding of the protective effects of potassium iodide is that it floods the body with iodide, thus lowering the odds that the radioactive version will be absorbed. My understanding of strontium-137 is that it is chemically similar to calcium, and therefore is absorbed when there is insufficient calcium. I read these theories in articles on Three Mile Island, so the research may be very old. If anyone has newer research I'd be interested.

Its good that they are checking the kids, and that the detectors are picking up the normal potassium exposure. Like it or not, they have become a laboratory on radiation exposure. Also I agree that the environmental and anti business people will be trying to scare everyone.

Re:Exposure .... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 8 months ago | (#46388113)

That is because the radiation levels around the area of Fukisima are so low that no-one in the general population are likely to have any exposure

[citation needed]

Re:Exposure .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46389167)

A 2013 WHO report predicts that for populations living in the most affected areas there is a 70% higher risk of developing thyroid cancer for girls exposed as infants (the risk has risen from a lifetime risk of 0.75% to 1.25%), a 7% higher risk of leukemia in males exposed as infants, a 6% higher risk of breast cancer in females exposed as infants and a 4% higher risk, overall, of developing solid cancers for females.

No offense random slashdot denizen, but I don't believe you know what you're posting about.

http://rt.com/usa/fukushima-ge... [rt.com]

The fact that radiation is measurable 5 times higher on the california coast, should give you an idea of the coverup being performed to prevent mass hysteria. This is neither good nor bad, just simple deduction.

Re:Exposure .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46389455)

. . . area of Fukisima [sic] are so low that no-one in the general population are likely to have any exposure

This is bullshit and does not help the nuclear cause. Please stop. Learn how to spell Fukushima first before spouting out BS. You are embarrassing. . . .

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46397527)

Are you fucking serious?

If it didn't find any one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387119)

Then it's probably not working eh?

so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46387131)

Okay, they've developed a new way to measure radioactivity (NOT radiation! I wish people would make the effort to distinguish between the two properly) in children.

And, horror of horrors, found that none of the children show any sign of abnormal radioactivity levels.

Which is why, presumably, the author of TFS added that "So far" to the end.

It should also be noted that cows haven't started slaughtering people by the millions. So far.

And gold hasn't started raining down from the skies. So far.

And the sun hasn't gone supernova this week. So far (it's early in the week).

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387277)

Hey, look! A slashdot nuke shill circle jerking session! Having fun, boys?

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387435)

Aren't you pleased that the children don't show signs of contamination?

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387821)

Yes. But the original post is saying, "so, nothing to be seen here, move along," which is a fucking callused response. Testing should continue. This says nothing of Strontium 90, which this test cannot detect. It says nothing of what the impact will be as leaks of water soluble contaminates continue for the next 100, 1000, who-the-fuck-knows fucking years, either. There are too many uncertainties for KentuckyFuckingCunt's cunt post to be appropriate anywhere else in the world, other than a /. circle jerk. Fuckity, fucking, fuckfuck . . .

Normal people look at such circle jerks with disgust. Go outside, out of the fucking basement, and get some fucking perspective. Posts like that are just nailing the coffin that natural gas put nuclear technology in.

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46388497)

The airborne Sr90 release from the Fukushima accident would be up to about 3% of the amount of Cs 134/137 in areas close to the plant. In Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagawa, it's about 0.01% of the Cs. That's why they are more interested in the Caesium.

Still, I agree it should be monitored. The only really effective method is from analysing teeth, which is rather cumbersome and slow though.

"It says nothing of what the impact will be as leaks of water soluble contaminates continue for the next 100, 1000, who-the-fuck-knows fucking years, either. "

That's because it's a scientific study of a single issue. If you want to know about the plans for future soil decontamination, ask TEPCO.

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (1)

Idou (572394) | about 8 months ago | (#46389653)

airborne Sr90 release

Sr 90 has a molecular form soluble in water. Water is leaking from the plant everyday, so airborne models are not the full picture. Either way, please provide links to the model supporting these numbers. I am curious on how such models are created when beta emitters are so difficult to track.

That's why they are more interested in the Caesium.

Or perhaps they are more interested in Cs because they would have a hell of a time trying to measure Sr 90. Sr 90 seems the most dangerous, with a widely debated biological half-life.

The only really effective method is from analysing teeth, which is rather cumbersome and slow though.

Yes, or in this case, teeth are not developed yet (can they just remove a speck of tooth or do they need the entire tooth)?

That's because it's a scientific study of a single issue. If you want to know about the plans for future soil decontamination, ask TEPCO.

Exactly my point. That is why I went off on CrimsonAvenger. And, no, I will not bother asking the manifestation of organized incompetence that is known as "TEPCO."

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46389983)

> Sr 90 has a molecular form soluble in water. Water is leaking from the plant everyday, so airborne models are not the full picture.

In terms of the contamination that the children would have been exposed to, the airborne release is currently the most significant. It's important to remember there was a huge airborne release of radioactive materials during the first few weeks of the accident. Although people's attention is now on the seawater, the sheer scale of the initial release means it is still a big problem, even after three years or so.

Here is an article discussing strontium levels on land:
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201207250060
The graph on the right is illuminating.

> Or perhaps they are more interested in Cs because they would have a hell of a time trying to measure Sr 90. Sr 90 seems the most dangerous, with a widely debated biological half-life.

If they are not finding Cs, there shouldn't be a lot of Sr90, considering the ratios measured from ground contamination. I agree that it must be measured rather than assumed though, as biological half life differs for Sr90.

> Yes, or in this case, teeth are not developed yet (can they just remove a speck of tooth or do they need the entire tooth)?

That's an interesting question. I'll have to research it.

> And, no, I will not bother asking the manifestation of organized incompetence that is known as "TEPCO."

You don't have to trust them to want to know what they are doing, and where they are dedicating the funds allocated to decontamination.

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (1)

Idou (572394) | about 8 months ago | (#46390553)

Thank you for the link. I will try to find the underlying data the article is based on. A key attribute I would look for would be the "uniformity" of the readings. When the contamination source is thousands of miles away, a uniformed air distribution could be assumed. With reports of "hot spots" and contamination maps indicating a wide range of contamination densities, I would think a different approach would be required. Either way, it looks like the areas where over 4 million people most at risk (Fukushima and Miyagi) were excluded. I really wish they would just throw all this data at a place like Google Data Explorer [google.com] .

there shouldn't be a lot of Sr90, considering the ratios measured from ground contamination

I think you are assuming the primary "vector" of contamination is the air and are discounting cumulative effects. Do all foods pull in Cs and Sr in equal proportions to ground contamination? Does Cs and Sr have the same biological half life in humans?

You don't have to trust them to want to know what they are doing, and where they are dedicating the funds allocated to decontamination.

I want to know, but how much control do have when they decide not to tell. [reuters.com]

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46387347)

You assume the story is about the radioactivity of Japanese children, rather than the technological innovation. A reasonable assumption given the motto "Slashdot: News for Japanese Parents. News about radioactive children."

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 8 months ago | (#46387619)

I note that TFA didn't bother with the "So far".

Which strongly suggests that the author of TFS is more interested in increasing the level of fear of radioactivity than in discussing the virtues of this new machine.

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387853)

CrimsonAvenger, you are a fucking cunt. Thanks for politicizing a thread about technology improvement. You are the fucking StartTrekie that turns off normal people to StarTrek. The nuclear industry does not need POS like you. Go back to your basement and STFU.

Re:so, nothing to be seen here, move along? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46389187)

Chernobyl affects were not measurably expressed until 3-5 years after the initial disaster. I think you've totally missed the point of concern.

Hopefully they find one (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387155)

Hopefully they find one capable of defeating Godzilla.

How hard can it be? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#46387161)

You just count the number of fingers/toes >10, number of arms/legs/eyes >2, and note which super powers are emerging.

fear (3, Insightful)

ssam (2723487) | about 8 months ago | (#46387219)

But can it measure the harm done by fear of radiation?

Victimization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46388645)

The thing is, people equate "fear of" to actual thing they are afraid of. They don't view their anxiety to be irrational. They just label the object of their anxiety as "more dangerous".

Fear of getting fat? - you ridicule and point out people that are fat.

Fear of crime? - tough on crime legislation! Even when crime rates are dropping.

Fear of failure in your child? - "No Child Left Behind" debacle

Just look at the Chernobyl debacle. There are hundreds of thousands of people on "disability" because 30 years ago they received more than 1mSv of radiation. Thousands and thousands have *died* because of panic induced alcoholism shortened and fucked up their lives. There were suicides because of Chernobyl. Yet, less than 100 people have died because of the actual radiation, most because they were fighting the actual fire and died in days and weeks afterward.

There are people alive today that honestly believe their lives were irreparably harmed by Chernobyl. Some of them are in their 80s with a clean bill of health. If someone gets cancer, they talk about "oh, another one because of Chernobyl" despite cancer rates being no different than in the "unexposed" places.

Victimization is the real harm being done. Once you label yourself a victim, you are fucked. Either because you view yourself as diminished individual or rest of society start to view you as something less. Just ask the Hibakusha [wikipedia.org] . (ie. be a survivor, if anything, never a victim)

Re:fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46390137)

Or, can it measure the harm done by assholes who oversimplify the situation and call people who do not oversimplify the situation "irrational?"

Re:fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46391025)

That is actually a very interesting question. Radiation in your body can but does nt have to cause serious harm. At least as long as we talk about small amounts of stuff. Depends where the particles in question are and wherethey decide to decay and if anyvsignificant changes are introduced to affected cells etc. Lots of ifs and whens. That is why some people survived high levels of expousure. But because there is no direct `if A then B` the nuclear is best crowd is going to to say - no problems here, move along.

Well done, for gamma. How about alpha and beta? (1)

Idou (572394) | about 8 months ago | (#46387229)

When it comes to internal exposure, I thought alpha and beta radiation were the more dangerous forms. Can anyone here confirm the "sensitivity" of quantifying alpha contamination through indirect detection, and how to assess beta emitter risk (any other methods that can detect it)? Any new technology companies addressing these on the horizon (that I can invest in)?

Re:Well done, for gamma. How about alpha and beta? (4, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 8 months ago | (#46387365)

They are looking for specific material - cesium137. It emits approximately 95% beta and 5% gamma. That is why they had problems looking for it in babies - they basically look for that 5% and calculate the entire exposure based on it.

Re:Well done, for gamma. How about alpha and beta? (2)

Idou (572394) | about 8 months ago | (#46387723)

I see, thank you. So I guess Cesium 137 represents one of those "certain circumstances" that beta emitters can be measured. I assume the "degraded sensitivity" model would include some kind of 1/0.05 factor for the portion of gamma energy (i.e. oversimplified, maybe the process is 1/20th as sensitive to Cs 137 compared to a 100% gamma emitter).

Strontium 90, on the other hand, appears to be 100% beta decay (please correct me if I am wrong). Accordingly, I assume that whole-body counting process is not capable of detecting it (have to wait for baby teeth for that?). The question, I suppose, would be whether Cesium 137 could be a proxy for Strontium 90 detection. Both appear to be water soluble (Strontium 90, itself, is insoluble, but it can chemically react to create a soluble molecular form).

However, if we are talking about exposure through food, then the problem becomes much more complicated because of all the potential differences in biological interaction Cesium and Strontium may have (how much of this has been mapped out so far?). Is this understanding correct? Can anyone here add to this?

Re:Well done, for gamma. How about alpha and beta? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46387401)

It's easy to measure beta and alpha emitters in humans. You just have to dry the children, then grind them to a powder, finely spread it over a surface, and use a conventional geiger counter to measure the radioactivity..

Re:Well done, for gamma. How about alpha and beta? (1)

ssam (2723487) | about 8 months ago | (#46388713)

I suggest that this is done to children (especially noisy ones) on airplanes, so study radiation doses from cosmic rays.

Re:Well done, for gamma. How about alpha and beta? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46388685)

You are correct that alpha and beta radiation are generally the most dangerous, for the same reason that internal emitters are almost impossible to detect - they are heavily ionized and thus "hit" just about anything in their path, initiating a cascade of generally unhealthy chemical reactions from the immense kinetic energy they dump into a highly localized area. The rule of thumb, IIRC, is that alpha radiation (helium nuclei) will be just about completely blocked by a sheet of paper, and beta radiation (electrons or positrons) by a sheet of aluminum foil. A quarter-inch of flesh will presumably do the job even more effectively.

If your contamination is purely an alpha- or beta-emitter, detection will be essentially impossible unless you can expose it directly to the detector, a process that's generally thoroughly destructive to the sample. It also means that anyone claiming to detect alpha or beta contamination in the body is almost certainly a scam artist - you can't detect what isn't there, and the radiation never leaves the body (though it does stop being radiation once it hits something and is slowed down to normal speeds).

If on the other hand your contamination also emits gamma radiation (insanely high-energy photons) then you're in luck - due to the way atoms absorb photons, most material is mostly transparent to gamma rays, meaning that a great deal of the radiation emitted by the contamination will leave the body and reach your detectors, so you can detect it's presence without trouble. Or more accurately you can detect its *absence*. If you're emitting above-ambient levels of gamma radiation you can conclusively be stated to be contaminated with *something*, but you can't conclusively state what the contamination is without further tests, though if your detector measured the exact energy of the individual gamma rays you could probably make a pretty good guess as to what the sources are (gamma spectroscopy).

And if you know the kind of contamination you can make a pretty good estimate as to exactly how extensive it is, as any given radioactive isotope will emit a constant percentage of its total radiation as gamma rays.

Also worth mentioning as long as we're on the subject is neutron radiation: neutrons have no charge, and hence pass unaffected directly through the electron cloud that gives atoms their size, interacting only if it hits the nucleus directly - and that's a clump smaller than a single grain of sand in the center of a football field sized atom. As with gamma rays that lack of interaction makes exposure far safer, and detection far easier, since the vast majority of the energy will pass harmlessly through your body and reach the detectors.

Re:Well done, for gamma. How about alpha and beta? (1)

Idou (572394) | about 8 months ago | (#46389415)

Thank you very much for the thorough explanation. This is why I come to Slashdot.

I don't believe them (3, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 8 months ago | (#46387521)

In light of all their previous obfuscation and lies about Fukushima does anyone believe Japan is monitoring anything that might make Japan Inc. look bad?

Re:I don't believe them (2)

greg_barton (5551) | about 8 months ago | (#46390275)

In light of the anti-nuclear propaganda lies spreading FUD about Fukushima does anyone believe any news about it at all anymore?

Re:I don't believe them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46391053)

It did not happen?

i have a question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46389977)

wat about the babies that have not yet been ..err..."combined"?

Most of the long-term effects of radiation exposed (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#46391995)

Most effects from radiation exposure didn't show up until exposed subjects were in their 40s or 50s, or at least that's what happened in the counties surround Hanford where we built the nuclear bomb.

So, I wouldn't be all that happy about this short-term result.

Some plants store heavy metals in their leaves over time, and kids eat them or play with them, putting almost anything in their mouths.

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