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14 March 2011 @ 08:11 pm
Sound and Fury  
Interesting article on the Fukushima nuclear meltdown.

Short version: despite appearances, not really that bad, the plant was very well designed, and even after massive cascading failures, the fallout (so to speak) should be minimal.

ETA: the only engineering mistake Japan made in building their nuclear plants was a pretty basic mistake: they built them in Japan.
 
 
 
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Douglas Triggsdoubt72 on March 15th, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know it's not great, and worrisome, but that article is also terrible journalism completely lacking in context. It does everything to make it sound catestrophic, but the numbers are extremely tiny -- measuring something in nanosieverts is ridiculous (that number is around 1/10,0000 of what you'd get flying to America -- one way -- from cosmic radiation), so if it stayed at that rate, it'd take more than two years to add up to the equivalent exposure of a single round-trip plane flight. Longer if you go through x-ray or backscatter machines on the way. Even longer if there happens to be a solar flare at the time. And those numbers have already dropped with wind changes.

I mean, I wouldn't want any extra exposure, either, but the news is obviously doing everything to make it sound as sensational as possible, which was kind of the original point of that article.
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hamanosilencehamanosilence on March 15th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Doses around 1mSv-4mSv are about what you get living in a normal country per year anyways. (There are special places in the world where you get a ton more .. natural of course).

And I hope for you you did not go to the doctor lately for a X-ray or god forbid a CAT/PET .... those doeses would make you sream ...
And it can get venen worse if you get special treatment for Thyroid malfunction ....

Of course the full failure of the blocks would be terrilbly more .. but this is rather unlikely to happen (lukcy all blocks are build with a good containment).. and we should hope that I am not wrong.
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hamanosilencehamanosilence on March 15th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
I am sorry, it seems my post came out wrong somehow.
I did not intend to be/sound rude (maybe due to my germanish english). Actually I wanted to point out that so far it seems that the actual radioactive dose apears to be rather small to the people not being inside or very close to the reactors. That's why I came with those examples ...
Obviously I misjudged the impression that this would deliver, sorry again about that.

asakiyume: corvus coroneasakiyume on March 15th, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, basically, it's not a great situation but not as bad as alarmists make it out to be, and not likely to get SUPAH BAD even if the worst things happen.

But it does unsettle me, all the same. Trying to channel Nausicaa's equanimity. Whatever the situation, you just deal with it.
Tully: rosetully01 on March 15th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Frankly, given the weather patterns to date and Japan's history of nuclear bombardment, odds are large that most of the radiation increase currently being detected more than a few miles from Fukushima is due to stirred-up dust from the general earthquake damage and not from the power plant. Unless you're actually on the grounds of the power plant itself, the radiation levels reported are actually pretty miniscule.

The major civilian exposure worry would be particulate cesium or iodine exposure if they had to flush-vent the inner containments and you were downwind, and that danger would dissipate after the first rain. Catastrophic containment failure is lottery-odds unlikely, and shrinks with each passing hour.

But people do so love to panic and run in circles screaming hysterically whenever someone says "nuclear," and the media feeds that. I quickly noticed that almost all the doomcrying "experts" the media keeps trotting out are from anti-nuke groups grinding their axes, and not from, say, nuclear medicine practices.