Title: Live Chat Now: Nuclear Power in the Wake of Fukushima
Date: Jan 18, 2012
Chat Transcript Excerpts
Comment From Nancy
Why wasn’t conservation mentioned in the piece? It could make nuclear unnecessary.
We did have a section in the program that illustrated examples of conservation – people in Japan wearing sandals and tee-shirts to work, using fans instead of AC. But this section was taken out due to time constraints. But we did take it seriously as a topic. It just didn’t end up in the film quite as much as we’d wanted.
Wouldn’t it be better for a whole lot of reasons to use conservation to replace, say, coal?
I think we have reached criticality in this live chat. More than 200 live readers! Not sure how many dead readers…
there is no question conservation is better than coal. Anything is better than coal. I repeat: anything is better than coal.
(To the previous question) We repeatedly requested on-camera statements from Westchester Co. officials to explain the evacuation plan in the event of a radiological accident at Indian Point, and were repeatedly denied. This suggests a lack of willingness/interest of public officials to talk to the media about emergency planning, specifically about Indian Point. What does this suggest about other emergency situations?
it probably has been overdone and the level at which a evacuation is triggered in Japan-20 Millisieverts of exposure per year is extremely low [ABC: "After Chernobyl anyone likely to be exposed to more than 5 millisieverts a year was evacuated, and those in areas of 1-5 mSv were offered relocation and bans were placed on eating locally produced food."]. I am certain the government of Japan would like to walk that one back. But it’s impossible to do that. The truth is the stress and anxiety of dislocating 180,000 people will pack a much greater health risk over the long term than if they stayed in an area that was contaminated at those levels.
Comment From Jeffrey Hausaman
Miles, what would be the consequences for Fukushima prefecture long term if people went back to live there normally? Forget the official government policy, if people actually moved back into those ghost towns and went about their normal way of life would they be at significant risk?
All I know is that the levels are higher….I haven’t done the math. But if you go back where the levels are high, this would probably increase your risk of cancer over a lifetime.
it depends on who they are and where they live. If you’re a mother with young children who like to play in the dirt and maybe even little of it, you might rather live somewhere else. But if you’re older, you might rather be at home and except the slight additional dose of radiation over the remainder of your life. You might very well get cancer, but that could be from smoking or drinking or the big risk factor: obesity. So wherever you live, stay away from the cheeseburgers and french fries! They are a much bigger risk to our health than cesium.
Read the full chat here
Published: January 18th, 2012 at 8:09 pm ET
- Tokyo-based Writer: Over 1,000,000 Japanese still living in areas with high daily radiation exposure — Previous cesium limit in rice was just 0.1 Bq/kg; Now 1,000 times higher June 24, 2012
- Fish with cesium near gov’t limit caught hundreds of miles from Fukushima January 19, 2013
- NRC Transcript: Evacuation zone “would possibly have to get beyond 50 miles” February 22, 2012
- Highest Yet: Fish 20 times more radioactive than any other caught since 3/11 — 380 times limit for cesium -NHK August 21, 2012
- NYTimes: Gov’t scientist not allowed to publish findings that Fukushima cesium-137 levels could be 10,000 times higher than after Chernobyl in Pacific surface waters — Japan researchers pressured to downplay disaster’s impact — Professors obstructed when data might cause public concern March 16, 2014