New Scientist asks “How did the population of Fukushima prefecture dodge the radioactivity?” — Chernobyl 10 times more radiation

Published: November 16th, 2011 at 10:36 pm ET
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Radiation levels in Fukushima are lower than predicted – health, New Scientist, Nov. 16, 2011 (Emphasis Added):

The fallout from the radiation leak at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan may be less severe than predicted. [...]

How did the population of Fukushima prefecture dodge the radioactivity? Gerry Thomas at Imperial College London, director of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank, says the answer is simple. “Not an awful lot (of radioactive material) got out of the plant – it was not Chernobyl.” The Chernobyl nuclear disaster released 10 times as much radiation as Fukushima Daiichi. [Uses the low-end figure provided early on by Japan Gov't and Tepco; Subsequently contradicted by numerous scientific estimates]

Thomas says the quick and thorough response by the Japanese government limited radioactive exposure among the population. [...]

The Japanese authorities also removed contaminated food and gave iodine to those who were very young, she says. [...]

The evidence?

Radiology researcher Ikuo Kashiwakura of Hirosaki University, Japan, and colleagues [...] measure[d] radiation levels in more than 5000 people [in Fukushima] between 15 March and 20 June.

They found just 10 people with unusually high levels of radiation, but those levels were still below the threshold at which acute radiation syndrome sets in and destroys the gastrointestinal tract. Geiger-counter readings categorised all others in the area at a “no contamination level”.

More reports featuring Gerry Thomas:

Published: November 16th, 2011 at 10:36 pm ET
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