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Few Radiation Problems from Fukushima

June 21, 2013

We now have had three nuclear disasters, with, for the most part, little effect on people from radiation.

The latest report from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effect of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) says that radiation from the Fukushima disaster had little effect on people. UNSCEAR’s May 31, press release said:

“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.”

So, once again the radiation bugaboo has been refuted.

Only Chernobyl had any health consequences whatever, and UNSCEAR has shown them to be minimal. Certainly not the horrendous consequences claimed by extremists, such as Greenpeace, or the Union of Concerned Scientists, or the Aspen Institute, or the Natural Resource Defense Council.

In addition, Chernobyl was of a design prone to being unstable at low power, with a test conducted under low load conditions that led to the meltdown and subsequent graphite fire, where there was no containment vessel.

No U.S. reactor, and no modern reactor in the world, has conditions similar to those that created the Chernobyl disaster, which precludes this type of accident from happening again with modern reactors.

And, the Three Mile Island incident had no radiation consequences … period.

In spite of the hugely successful safety record of nuclear power, extremists have created unwarranted fear among people.

It’s ironic, that, if CO2 was actually the cause of global warming, the same fear mongers claiming a worldwide calamity from global warming are the ones condemning nuclear power.

They are discrediting the only method for generating electricity that can provide base load power without emitting CO2, i.e., nuclear, which, if they were right about CO2 causing global warming, is the only method for preventing the calamity they predict from global warming.

Let there be no illusions about what these extremists say.

The leader of Greenpeace U.S.A., said:

“Greenpeace is working to end the expansion of nuclear power. … If a meltdown was to occur, the accident could kill and injure tens of thousands of people and leave large regions uninhabitable.”

Such rhetoric is unsupportable, yet extremists are willing to say or do anything to create fear among the public.

Here we have extremists creating fear about CO2 causing global warming, and also creating fear about nuclear power, when neither CO2 nor nuclear power should cause any concern whatsoever.

UNSCEAR makes this clear with respect to nuclear power, as they once again provide facts about radiation, this time from the Fukushima disaster, where radiation had little, if any, effect on people’s health.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. donb permalink
    June 21, 2013 10:12 am

    I support nuclear energy. However, although Fukushima produced no serious health problems, both Fukushima and Chernobyl produced widespread areas, including farms and villages, in which normal human activity cannot resume for a very long time. This is a good reason to make such reactors as fail-safe as possible, at whatever expense.

    • July 7, 2013 10:38 am

      The evacuation zone from the Fukushima Daachi accident has an average additional radiation of 250 mrem per year. This is the same increase as would be received by moving from sea-level to Denver. Most of the “evacuation” zone is safe to live in for residents who wish return.

      • July 7, 2013 12:06 pm

        Good information.
        Many thanks.

      • July 7, 2013 4:20 pm


        I very much like your blog. You research the information and do not cry wolf like so many people do on the subject of radiation. We need more people like yourself speaking out on the subject.

    • July 7, 2013 10:55 am

      Donb, When you say that reactors should be as fail-safe as possible. The way the accident at Fukushima could have been prevented is if TECO would have listened to the engineer who by searching for records found that a tsunami hit the area about 1000 years ago and went 2 1/2 miles inland. TECO decided to take the issue under consideration rather than fortify and increase the height of the sea-wall. If they had spent $10 million, they could averted tens of billions in losses.

      • July 7, 2013 4:27 pm

        Thank you. I appreciate your comment.

  2. June 21, 2013 10:41 am

    Your comment is interesting because the UN report shows that the areas around Chernobyl are perfectly suited for people to live safely. No area, except the Chernobyl reactor itself, is uninhabitable. Please look at my article Radiation Fears on June 17, 2011.
    A section from that article said:
    “It’s worth taking a look at Chernobyl.
    “Forget the unit of measurement; it becomes complicated and obscures the obvious.
    “Between 1986 and 2005, average whole body radiation doses were estimated at 2.4 mSv in Belarus, 1.1 mSv in Russia, and 1.2 mSv in the Ukraine (UNSCEAR 2008).
    “Compare these measurements with Ramsar, Iran, where natural radiation doses reach 400 mSv/year, and in Brazil and Southern France where they reach 700 mSv/year.
    “Clearly, the low doses caused by the hydrogen explosion and fire at Chernobyl are tiny compared with natural radiation doses in many, if not most, parts of the world, e.g., northern Norway 11mSv/year and 5.5 mSv/year at New York City’s Grand Central Station. (Average worldwide level is 2.4 mSv/year.)”
    I can’t comment yet on the farms etc around Fukushima, because of the effect of the tidal wave, but it’s important to set aside the idea that huge areas are left uninhabitable by Chernobyl, and certainly there were no such problems at Three Mile Island.

  3. donb permalink
    June 21, 2013 11:03 am

    There are two possible health issues with radioactivity. One is the radiation (mostly gamma) that is most readily picked up on radiation monitors. But even after these readings decrease, there can be the issue of radioactivity still remaining on dust grains (including betas). Even at relatively low levels, if these are taken into the lungs, long-term exposure there can be more damaging than background radiation in the environment.

  4. VACornell permalink
    June 21, 2013 2:29 pm

    Donn….truth will conquer…Vern

    Sent from my iPad Vern Cornell

    • June 21, 2013 4:39 pm

      That’s the premise behind all my articles.

  5. Bryan Leyland permalink
    June 21, 2013 5:14 pm


    Regards, Bryan Leyland Phone 021 978 996

  6. June 21, 2013 5:18 pm

    Thanks. Your professional opinion is greatly appreciated.

  7. Janet Dorigan permalink
    June 22, 2013 2:24 pm

    Hi, Donn

    I toured with you at the RR during the Rawhide Circle get together. Just a note to add to your nice nuclear article: there were no inherited genetic effects from Hiroshima or Nagasaki. People died of radiation but no effects were passed on. I always check with my DOE friends to be sure nothing has changed – and it hasn’t and in all probability never will. I find it amazing, but worth mentioning.

    Hope to see you again in the Fall Rawhide retreat. I am enjoying your postings on power issues. Thanks for your fine efforts.

    Janet Dorigan

    Sent from Janet’s iPad

    • June 22, 2013 2:30 pm

      Great, thanks. That’s important information about genetic effects. I look forward to seeing you again.

  8. July 7, 2013 10:48 am

    I wanted to comment on the beta emitters that cling to dust particles in the evacuated areas. By restricting farming and by making sure that proper ground cover is maintained the exposure can be decreased greatly. When I was taught about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki of the victims who were exposed to 125 REM or more of radiation the cancer rate was increased by approximately one percent. This was in 1979; 33 1/2 years after the exposures.

    I have a medical condition caused by stomach acid that causes a 4500 percent increase in cancer risk. I would take one percent any time.

  9. July 9, 2013 2:11 am

    Reblogged this on BIGTIX.

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