Fukushima

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Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster Wikipedia

Five Years Later, Cutting Through the Fukushima Myths Andrew Karam; Popular Mechanics; 11 Mar 2016

Radiation expert Andrew Karam, who covered the disaster for Popular Mechanics in 2011 and later traveled to study the site, explains everything you need to know about Fukushima's legacy and danger five years later.
March 11, 2011 was a day of unimaginable tragedy in northern Japan, a tragedy exacerbated by the reactor meltdowns and release of contamination. But the nuclear part of this horrible day was, if the longest-lasting, certainly the least lethal event. Yet it's the part that still engenders so much fear. With the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima accident upon us this month, let's take a look at where things stand today with recovering from this calamity, and what might be happening next.

When Radiation Isn’t the Real Risk (NY Times; 21 Sep 2015)

No one has been killed or sickened by the radiation — a point confirmed last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even among Fukushima workers, the number of additional cancer cases in coming years is expected to be so low as to be undetectable, a blip impossible to discern against the statistical background noise.
But about 1,600 people died from the stress of the evacuation — one that some scientists believe was not justified by the relatively moderate radiation levels at the Japanese nuclear plant.

Fukushima and the Art of Knowing Clare Leppold; Huffington Post; 18 Jun 2016

When trying to evacuate, some were turned away from the homes of their families because radiation was misunderstood as contagious. I am told about the parents of young men, opposing their choice to marry a woman from Fukushima because it is assumed that she will not be able to bear healthy children. Some children themselves believe they will never be able to have healthy offspring in the future, because of what they have heard.

People should be given the freedom to go back to their homes Thoughtscapism; Facebook; 11 Mar 2016

This is madness! People should be given the freedom to go back to their homes - the risk from radiation is way below what nuclear plant staff are safely allowed to be exposed to (20 mSv/year). Some of my Finnish countrymen live with the natural radiation of 7 milliSieverts. There's a brazil beach famed for it's 'healing sands', with radiation levels of 175 mSv per year. Spots of 12 mSv/year in the Fukushima area are just *fine*.
"The radiation has not been the disaster. It's our response to the radiation, our fear that we've projected on to others, to say this is really dangerous. It isn't really dangerous and there are plenty of places in the world where you would live with background radiation of at least this level."
" If I were to stand outside here for 12 hours a day, every day of the year, I would receive an annual extra dose of radiation of around 13 millisieverts."
"...[this is] more than ten times above what the Japanese government has declared "safe" for people to return."
"There are places in Cornwall in the UK where background radiation levels reach 8 millisieverts a year.
The world's highest background radiation rate is found in the city of Ramsar in Iran, which has the astonishing rate of 250 millisieverts a year."

Radioactivity and radiation effects

Radioactivity monitoring around Fukushima

graphics and tables from atmc.jp

Radiation effects from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster Wikipedia

Politicisation and political effects

The world has forgotten the real victims of Fukushima Michael Hanlon; Daily Telegraph; 21 Feb 2012

A natural disaster that cost the lives of thousands of people was ignored in favour of a nuclear 'disaster’ that never was, argues Michael Hanlon.

Global fallout: Did Fukushima scupper nuclear power? Richard Black, Environment correspondent; BBC News; 10 Mar 2012

Health effects

Global report on Fukushima nuclear accident details health risks World Health Organisation; 28 Feb 2013

A comprehensive assessment by international experts on the health risks associated with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) disaster in Japan has concluded that, for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated.

The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant accident United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation

On 11 March 2011, the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered major damage from the failure of equipment after the magnitude 9.0 great east-Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami. It was the largest civilian nuclear accident since the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Radioactive material was released from the damaged plant and tens of thousands of people were evacuated.
In May 2011, the Committee embarked upon a two-year assessment of the levels and effects of radiation exposure from the accident. It reported its findings to the General Assembly in October 2013 ( A/68/46), and a detailed publication titled 'Levels and effects of radiation exposure due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 great east-Japan earthquake and tsunami' with the supporting scientific data and evaluation was issued online on 2 April 2014 [ English] [ Japanese].
The main focus of the UNSCEAR 2013 Report was on assessing the exposure to radiation of various groups of the population, and the implied effects in terms of radiation-induced risks for human health and the environment. The population groups considered included residents of the Fukushima Prefecture and other prefectures in Japan; and workers, contractors and others who were engaged in the emergency work at or around the accident site. The environmental assessment addressed marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.

Fukushima - Five Years On Clinical Oncology; Edited by Gerry Thomas; Apr 2016

edition of journal devoted to studies of Fukushima

Radiation effects from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster Wikipedia

There is dispute about the neutrality of this article

The Effects of Fukushima Linger After Five Years - But Not From Radiation Richard Martin; MIT Technology Review; 10 Mar 2016

Is Fukushima's exclusion zone doing more harm than radiation? Rupert Wingfield-Hayes; BBC; 10 Mar 2016

includes interview with Professor Geraldine Thomas of Imperial College

Norwegian study

Global transport of Fukushima-derived radionuclides from Japan to Asia, North America and Europe. Estimated doses and expected health effects Nikolaos Evangeliou, Andreas Stohl, Yves Balkanski; Geophysical Research Abstracts; 2017

An attempt to assess exposure of the population and the environment showed that the effective dose from gamma irradiation during the first 3 months was estimated between 1−5 mSv in Fukushima and the neighbouring prefectures. In the rest of Japan, the respective doses were found to be less than 0.5 mSv, whereas in the rest of the world it was less than 0.1 mSv. Such doses are equivalent with the obtained dose from a simple X-ray; for the highly contaminated regions, they are close to the dose limit for exposure due to radon inhalation (10 mSv). The calculated dose rates from radiocesium exposure on reference organisms ranged from 0.03 to 0.18 µGy h−1, which are 2 orders of magnitude below the screening dose limit (10 µGy h−1) that could result in obvious effects on the population. However, monitoring data have shown that much higher dose rates were committed to organisms raising ecological risk for small mammals and reptiles in terms of cytogenetic damage and reproduction.

Fukushima's Meltdown Gave Every Human on Earth 1,000 Bananas' Worth of Radiation MIKE MCRAE; Science Alert; 8 MAY 2017

Assuming you've been living on Earth since the nuclear reactor at Fukushima in Japan was struck by a tsunami in March 2011, there's a good chance you copped about 1,000 bananas' worth of radiation over the past six years as a result of the meltdown.
That's what the Norwegian Institute for Air Research calculated, based on how far two radioactive isotopes of caesium have spread, putting the dosage for most people outside Japan at less than 0.1 millisievert – also equivalent to receiving one X-ray.
Of course, if you happened to be a little closer to the event – say, in Japan – the average dose over the few years that followed was closer to 0.5 millisieverts, which isn't even close to what you'd get if you underwent a computed tomography (CT) scan in hospital.

Consequences of evacuation

Fukushima evacuations were not worth the money, study says WILLIAM HOLLINGWORTH; The Japan Times; 14 Mar 2016

The costs of evacuating residents from near the Fukushima No. 1 plant and the dislocation the people experienced were greater than their expected gain in longevity, a British study has found.
The researchers found that at best evacuees could expect to live eight months longer, but that some might gain only one extra day of life. They said this does not warrant ripping people from their homes and communities.
The team of experts from four British universities developed a series of tests to examine the relocations after the Fukushima crisis and earlier Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
After a three-year study, the academics have concluded that Japan “overreacted” by relocating 160,000 residents of Fukushima Prefecture, even though radioactive material fell on more than 30,000 sq. km of territory.
“We judged that no one should have been relocated in Fukushima, and it could be argued this was a knee-jerk reaction,” said Philip Thomas, a professor of risk management at Bristol University. “It did more harm than good. An awful lot of disruption has been caused However, this is with hindsight and we are not blaming the authorities.”
The team used a wide range of economic and actuarial data, as well as information from the United Nations and the Japanese government.

Marine effects

Detectable but not hazardous: radioactive marine life of Fukushima Miriam Goldstein; Deep Sea News; 1 Jun 2012

Fukushima Radiation Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Scientists continue to study the effects of radioactive contaminants on the marine environment following the earthquake, tsunamis, and resulting radiation leads from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

True facts about Ocean Radiation and the Fukushima Disaster Dr Martini; Deep Sea News; 28 Nov 2013

On March 11th, 2011 the Tōhoku earthquake and resulting tsunami wreaked havoc on Japan. It also resulted in the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl when the tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Radioactive particles were released into the atmosphere and ocean, contaminating groundwater, soil and seawater which effectively closed local Japanese fisheries.
Rather unfortunately, it has also led to some wild speculation on the widespread dangers of Fukushima radiation on the internet.
contains Simpsons guide to radiation and debunks of some scare stories

Scare stories

Radiation at Japan's Fukushima Reactor Is Now at 'Unimaginable' Levels Fox News; 8 Feb 2017

Fukushima Radiation Has Contaminated The Entire Pacific Ocean (And It's Going To Get Worse) zerohedge.com; 21 Feb 2017

Story using the NOAA tsunami wave height graphic, which hasn't even cropped out the legend showing height mapping to colours
Floats the conspiracy theory that General Electric has managed to suppress reporting on Fukushima for last 5 years
Claims that "Not long after Fukushima, fish in Canada began bleeding from their gills, mouths, and eyeballs" and that "the US and Canadian governments have banned their citizens from talking about Fukushima so “people don’t panic.”" (citing a 2012 BBC News report on the Harper government's media protocol)

Oh, Fukushima Snopes

A chart purportedly showing radioactive water seeping into the ocean from the Fukushima nuclear plant actually depicts something else.

Here's your go-to source for debunking all the Fukushima fables Sarah Keartes; Earth Touch News; 25 Feb 2016

From "mutant" eels to fish "tumours", viral stories linking the Fukushima nuclear disaster to seemingly strange marine events are probably crowding your news feed. And each time one pops up, radiation-related panic spirals ensue.

Chris Busby

Wikipedia article on Chris Busby

Is Fukushima's nuclear nightmare over? Don’t count on it Chris Busby; RT; 12 Mar 2016

Wikipedia article on Russia Today

No matter what BBC says: Fukushima disaster is killing people Chris Busby; The Ecologist; 14 Mar 2016

Onagawa

Onagawa: The Japanese nuclear power plant that didn’t melt down on 3/11

Nuclear is Normal: When Your Local Reactor is the Safest Place in the World Energy For Humanity (via Internet Archive Wayback Machine); 6 Mar 2016

1993. The second boiling water reactor at the Tōhoku Electric Co’s Onagawa nuclear station is completed after a three and a half year build, costing $2.64 billion in today’s US dollars. The site is already elevated and fortified beyond historical tsunami indications, the legacy of a corporate safety culture instilled by vice president Yanosuke Hirai. This diligence pervaded and persisted through the company, driving safety focus and disaster preparedness. A further unit is later constructed beside Onagawa-2. The plant operates well above average Japanese availability factor.
The response of Onagawa to the natural disasters in 2011 has been detailed in the literature by senior personnel, as well as by an independent journalist. All three reactors shut down automatically, as designed, when the quake struck. Workers were quick to organise and get to work ensuring the plant’s safety. Backup power sytems including diesel generators and offsite power lines were safe from the waves and continued to cool the decay heat within the reactor cores. Tsunami damage was limited to a non-safety switchgear fire and auxiliary building flooding.
The safety and electricity at the plant in the midst of unprecedented devastation drew local survivors. Hundreds of people were housed in Onagawa’s gymnasium for three months and provided with warmth and supplies.