Fears of health risks from radiation rise in Japan


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yeah a lot of people are also escaping Tokyo.

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Mod, I have a link for a livestream geiger counter in Tokyo, to help people remain calm. Will you relax your usual policy of nixing links in posts so this useful information can get to everyone? I think it would be in the public interest.

Moderator: Post it without the http://www

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Live geiger counter from Tokyo

ustream dot tv/channel/geiger-counter-tokyo

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Anything under 60 CPM is considered normal. Over 130, start worrying.

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Mod - it took me three attempts to post the above, as the "." was "potentially offensive content". Surely we could relax the rules in these circumstances?

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Ivan, cyan, thank you.

It's a bit difficult to see - am I right in reading it as 16.something?

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Subject: UK Embassy feedback re Tokyo radiation

Feedback by Sir John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, after conference held at British Embassy (yesterday). Their assessment of the current situation in Japan is as follows:

In case of a ‘reasonable worst case scenario’ (defined as total meltdown of one reactor with subsequent radioactive explosion) an exclusion zone of 30 miles (50km) would be the maximum required to avoid affecting peoples’ health. Even in a worse situation (loss of two or more reactors) it is unlikely that the damage would be significantly more than that caused by the loss of a single reactor.

The current 20km exclusion zone is appropriate for the levels of radiation/risk currently experienced, and if the pouring of sea water can be maintained to cool the reactors, the likelihood of a major incident should be avoided. A further large quake with tsunami could lead to the suspension of the current cooling operations, leading to the above scenario.

The bottom line is that these experts do not see there being a possibility of a health problem for residents in Tokyo. The radiation levels would need to be hundreds of times higher than current to cause the possibility for health issues, and that, in their opinion, is not going to happen (they were talking minimum levels affecting pregnant women and children – for normal adults the levels would need to be much higher still).

The experts do not consider the wind direction to be material. They say Tokyo is too far away to be materially affected. If the pouring of water can be maintained the situation should be much improved after ten days, as the reactors’ cores cool down. Information being provided by Japanese authorities is being independently monitored by a number of organizations and is deemed to be accurate, as far as measures of radioactivity levels are concerned.

This is a very different situation from Chernobyl, where the reactor went into meltdown and the encasement, which exploded, was left to burn for weeks without any control. Even with Chernobyl, an exclusion zone of 30 miles would have been adequate to protect human health. The problem was that most people became sick from eating contaminated food, crops, milk and water in the region for years afterward, as no attempt was made to measure radioactivity levels in the food supply at that time or warn people of the dangers. The secrecy over the Chernobyl explosion is in contrast to the very public coverage of the Fukushima crisis.

The Head of the British School asked if the school should remain closed. The answer was there is no need to close the school due to fears of radiation. There may well be other reasons – structural damage or possible new quakes – but the radiation fear is not supported by scientific measures, even for children. Regarding Iodine supplementation, the experts said this was only necessary for those who had inhaled quantities of radiation (those in the exclusion zone or workers on the site) or through consumption of contaminated food/water supplies. Long term consumption of iodine is, in any case, not healthy.

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I have posted information on radiation levels so they are very relevant to readers here

Lots of useful info /leevivlee/ (no space)

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it includes radiation in fukushima, ibaraki. so far so good. also includes charts in E/J on radiation, done by residents living in tsukuba... japantoday does not allow me to post the link ...

so written, it is: ameblo DOT jo SLASH leevivlee SLASH

no spaces

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ameblo DOT jp SLASH leevivlee SLASH (jp and not jo)

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This may help to alleviate some stress and worry, some research has shown this to be true.

Further to todays developments with events at the Fukushima Nuclear plant, the word is that today in Shinjuku Tokyo the highest level of radiation was 1.222 microseiverts per hour and out by Yokohama the highest level was 0.809 microseiverts per hour. (Note that is a . not a , )

Bare in mind that the average person will receive between 20 - 50 microseiverts a day naturally from the sun and daily life.

A CT scan will give you a dose of 6,900 microseiverts.

A return flight from New York to Tokyo will give you 200 microseiverts.

A simple chest X Ray will give you 80 - 100 microseiverts.

So from this information you can see the radiation levels were/are very small.

A bit of comparison might help -

Bananas are radioactive - 365 bananas, which would mean 1 per day, has about 36 microsieverts.

If the readings are currently at 1.6 microsieverts it's basically the equivalent of eating just over 20 bananas.

If you were in a banana plantation, you would be exposed to more radiation.

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ExportExpert at 11:35 AM JST - 16th March Bananas are radioactive - 365 bananas, which would mean 1 per day, has about 36 microsieverts.

I am deeply disappointed. I've been eating radioactive bananas my whole life and not one single super-power. Who should I sue?

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Morry, Japan has 54 operatnig nuclear reactors, but TEPCO doesn't.

West Japan and East Japan electric networks are handled by different companies, and as stupid it can seem, they use different frequencies (50hz/60hz) which ruins the interoperability. TEPCO currently lost fukushima and has other reactors that were deactivated because of the earthquake, so they can't provide enough power for a power hungry area like Kanto.

When this crisis will be over, the governement will probably enforce some norm to get a interoperable electric grid in japan.

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Is right it will take some time to get those shutdown reactors online, lets see Kanto houses around 1/4 of the japanese population and is the economic centre, add in Shizuoka which is a major manufacturing centre.

Plus, many factories also got damaged and had to shutdown, can take days to get a factory fully online. Many super-markets had factories and suppliers in the sendai, etc area and those are gone now.

Plus, we are all asked to safe energy which means that factories struggle to safe power while trying to make up for any shortfalls.

Will take some time to get back on track.

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Thanks a million to all of you giving out panic-free information. I appreciate much.

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japanprobe. com/2011/03/16/ fox-news-clueless-about-japanese-nuclear-plants/

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Love the title. It's easy enough to glance at it and mistake "fears" for "radiation." WHile it's true that radiation is rising locally, it isn't rising elsewhere.

Very doom and gloom. Nice. lol

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I thought nuclear power plants were supposed to be built to withstand strong earthquakes?

Is there anything that would be better than nuclear power? There has to be something better! Fusion power like the ITER would be better since fusion stores enormous energy like the Sun maybe?

We are not trying hard enough!

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skylark21, yes it was built and it survived all the earthquakes, but... the support systems didn't survive the much bigger tsunami! I see in this major design flow as the support systems are as important as the reactors themselves (as we saw). Everything is about cost but sometimes we and the nature have to pay too much afterwards.

One thing I see even from the experts giving advise how to deal with the radiation - they shoul dpoint that the strict measures are for the people in the 30-50km radius. We don't need to put our jackets in bags before to enter as the levels are just about the maximum levels of a normal fluctuation in a yearly background.

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What about ITER fusion energy? That would be safer? And guessing radiation from fusion would be less since fusion concentrates the energy instead of fission? Then there`s the fast breeder reactor?

The radiation being blown by the wind is what`s worrisome though

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There is a perception that there are big risks to public health from radiation exposure. If a population is exposed to significant doses of radiation, the risks of premature death are probably no greater than those of being subjected to prolonged passive smoking or constantly over-eating since we all face such health risks just going about our daily lives. People's fears or perception of the health risks could prompt people to behave in ways which would actually have more impact on their health such as becoming a heavy smoker or drinking more etc especially after a catastrophic event of being exposed to radiation like in Fukushima as an example. But comparing risks can only be a helpful perspective if it is done with care. However I'm not sure if it helps to compare the health risks from radiation among survivors of the atomic bombs in Japan with the risks from obesity or smoking. One is extreme involuntary risk, the others are self imposed. Therefore, risks posed by radiation are probably not comparable to those from other sources.

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