Fukushima Radiation

Thanks Peter Walker for directing my attention here. Wow, I’m astounded to read this on a BBC news website (though he lost me a bit with his mention of climate change), and really wish this kind of sanity appeared in its TV news programs . It doesn’t. I select out the BBC in this respect mainly because it’s funded by a compulsory tax, yet ITV and Sky have been just as bad. I must add that I have found a TV news program that seems free of much of the bias of the ones above and from which I at last obtained some sensible perspective on what’s happening in Libya. Ironically that program is ‘Russia Today’.

And Chernobyl? The latest UN report published on 28 February confirms the known death toll – 28 fatalities among emergency workers, plus 15 fatal cases of child thyroid cancer – which would have been avoided if iodine tablets had been taken (as they have now in Japan). And in each case the numbers are minute compared with the 3,800 at Bhopal in 1984, who died as a result of a leak of chemicals from the Union Carbide pesticide plant.

So what of the radioactivity released at Fukushima? How does it compare with that at Chernobyl? Let’s look at the measured count rates. The highest rate reported, at 1900 on 22 March, for any Japanese prefecture was 12 kBq per sq m (for the radioactive isotope of caesium, caesium-137).

A map of Chernobyl in the UN report shows regions shaded according to rate, up to 3,700 kBq per sq m – areas with less than 37 kBq per sq m are not shaded at all. In round terms, this suggests that the radioactive fallout at Fukushima is less than 1% of that at Chernobyl

Go read the whole thing.

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