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U.N. expert: Fukushima not as bad as Chernobyl

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“The Pacific takes it all and there we have huge dilution,” Weiss said.

Finally an expert who speaks in practical terms. Hope this helps put to rest the notion on this site that most of the ocean surrounding Japan is or will be contaminated(I doubt it will though)

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Paul,

There's a lot in this article that the nuclear experts of Japan Today will disagree with.

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Yes, but currents prevent immediate dilution. The ocean currents in Japanese Summer effectively " Lock" currents in a confined area. ( they work Nth and then hit cooler currents heading south then head Nth again so on and so on ) this is why Fishermen are so worried. They know and understand ocean currents .... they know that these currents are smack in the middle of their fishing grounds.....

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Weiss is commenting on an incident that is far from over.

Weiss is an 'expert', and the definition of that is an individual who knows more about less and less.....

We should remember that exposure to radiation or ingesting radoactive particles is injurious to health-period.We don't have any safe levels of radiation.

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Let's all hope the situation will get better and better and away.

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Nobody knows the long term problems of Fukushima. The figure of 125,000 said to be those already dead from Chernobyl was in fact the number of deaths during the period 1988-94 from all causes in the area affected by the accident. If the authorities said it ranks somewhere between, then this is a scary numbers of potential future deaths. I hope they are wrong.

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This expert hasn't said anything that isn't already known. I doubt there are many out there who think this is worse than Chernobyl.

And although the Pacific may dilute the radiation, I'd like to see hard scientific data to show that food from affected areas are safe. Until then, I'll be happy eating Okinawan goya.

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We don't have any safe levels of radiation.

A complete fallacy. We constantly live with safe levels of radiation around us.

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Radioactive iodine released into the ocean is not going to be too damaging since halflife is 8 days. There will be no trace of it by summer. Cesium radioactive isotopes are more problematic but animals do not metabolize Cesium so there will be little food chain concentration. Most of it will sink silently to the ocean floor. By the way, underwater volcanoes also spill out various harmful substance including radioactive material but is diluted as well.

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As soon as the quake struck and the reaction was stopped it was already not as bad as Chernobyl. Seems like strange timming for this story.

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Four weeks on, and I still haven't figured out how people can see 28,000 lives wiped out in an afternoon and then decide they need to worry about radiation. The casualty figures from Chernobyl are a drop in the bucket compared to the earthquake and tsunami deaths just since the Indonesia quake. I don't have time to check figures right now, but from memory I would say that holds true even for the maximum, anti-nuclear estimates.

You are at a far, far greater risk of being on the beach and then not knowing what to do or where to go, than from any radiation. But some weird psychological stuff going on, the same people obsessed with radiation refuse to think about earthquakes. Denial is pretty powerful.

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U.N. expert: Fukushima not as bad as Chernobyl

Wow. Great "expert". I think the lack of a huge explosion, and no horrible deaths of hundreds of people from radiation sort of showed us that already weeks ago...

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Fukushima is far from contained. We are seeing massive contamination of the ocean, air and ground in the region. We are looking at the shift towards spring that will bring more airflow on land. And I think it is far too early in this situation to start ranking this disaster against others. Until it has completely played out, we will not know if it is better or worst than Chernobyl.

But beside these considerations. Who cares where it ranks? What matters is that this situation is crushing the economic recovery of the region that most needs normalcy now. And will go on crushing it for the forseeable future. Radiation aside, this is a monumental catastrophy for farmers, fishermen and people who have already suffered losses from the quake and tsunami.

I hate these experts because they never talk about the human side. I care about the people far more than the risk from radiation.

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" We are seeing massive contamination of the ocean, air and ground in the region."

tkoind2: A little over the top. Certainly not "massive".

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Who cares where it ranks?

The Japanese do. They love ranking anything and everything.

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Until it has completely played out, we will not know if it is better or worst than Chernobyl.

I'd be very surprised if you find anyone with a science degree who agrees with that statement. I would be stunned if you find someone with a doctorate to agree with that.

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I still don't understand why people refuse to see the seriousness of this, and therefore the responsibilities that Tepco and the Japanese Govt has in reporting, managing and containing this situation openly and with every resource possible. In this article it is more or less saying this is second worse nuclear incident in recent history, which is ongoing and somehow people get "oh its not that bad" people are over reacting.

So while known intentional radioactive release information is being "re-written", from a plant where there have been previous "discrepancies" in the safety reports, where one of the largest private company monopolies in Asia self regulates and self monitors during the second biggest nuclear disasters in recent history, while the government is considering expanding the evacuation area due to the fact this event is likely to continue for months and even years, other countries around the world are limiting Japanese Product imports due to finding contaminated food, just over a week ago we were told the drinking water was over the emergency limit for children which is 10 x times (possibly 1000 x higher I will have to check that again) than WHO advisories..

I'm not a nuclear expert and don't pretend to be, I'm not even disputing the information that the J Govt and Tepco have so far released (pending more "corrections"), even though their long term evaluations seems to worsen by the day also.

Living here during this has been extremely stressful with ongoing aftershocks, pressure to return home to my country of citizenship, checking which areas food comes from, being aware that if it rains the water is likely to become more contaminated again, loss of business as foreign visitor numbers drop by upto 75%, having to considering leaving house and income for our long term futures and knowing that at anytime this situation could get worse quickly.. not to mention the sadness of the huge losses in the communities affected by the terrible tsunami and earthquake.

Im am totally in awe of the people closer to the really badly effected places that have dealt with indescribable pain, loss and unknown futures, it is a terrible shame this the man made part of this disaster has in some cases over shadowed that, and for those closer to the plants it is all the more important they are given honest, clear instructions about protecting their safety.

Its not as bad as Chernobyl? So what, do you want it to be? The reports of Chernobyl even now after all this time are as varied as the opinions on here, meaning even the experts can't agree, and perhaps don't know themselves especially the long term effects.

All we want is accurate and fast information, with independent monitoring and reporting at the plant... that isn't too much to ask for is it?

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Fukushima is far from contained. We are seeing massive contamination of the ocean, air and ground in the region.

Enter the Fox News viewer

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I think you mean one tenth (108) of WHO emergency standards (1000) for infants.

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"Until it has completely played out, we will not know if it is better or worst than Chernobyl."

But we do. Chernobyl was a full meltdown with the reaction still going. The reaction was stopped automatically when the quake hit so we know for a fact that's it not as bad, could never be as bad.

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"I still don't understand why people refuse to see the seriousness of this, and therefore the responsibilities that Tepco and the Japanese Govt has in reporting, managing and containing this situation openly and with every resource possible. In this article it is more or less saying this is second worse nuclear incident in recent history, which is ongoing and somehow people get "oh its not that bad" people are over reacting."

Just in America alone in the last century over 100,000 people died mining coal. One country. As you say this is the 2nd worst nuclear accident and so far 2 people have died from the explosion. It's not that people don't accept that this is serious, just some people put it in perspective.

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SamuraiBlue: Radioactive iodine released into the ocean is not going to be too damaging since halflife is 8 days.

Half-life is the decay of radioactive matter. After 8 days, iodine-131 is emitting half the radiation it used to 8 days ago but still remaining radioactive lowering risks but iodine-131 and cesium-137 has been released for quite a while now. The problem is the accumulation. Cesium-137 half-life is 30 years, so it will remain there for a while in the soil and sediment.

So, with a constant dump of idione-131 we have:

day 0: 100

day 1: 100 + 93.75

day 2: 100 + 93.75 + 87.5

day 3: 100 + 93.75 + 87.5 + 81.25

day 4: 100 + 93.75 + 87.5 + 81.25 + 75

day 5: 100 + 93.75 + 87.5 + 81.25 + 75 + 68.75

day 6: 100 + 93.75 + 87.5 + 81.25 + 75 + 68.75 + 62.5

day 7: 100 + 93.75 + 87.5 + 81.25 + 75 + 68.75 + 62.5 + 56.25

day 8: 100 + 93.75 + 87.5 + 81.25 + 75 + 68.75 + 62.5 + 56.25 + 50

etc...

If I'm wrong, anyone, please correct me.

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Japan has high technology, and they WILL bring this to bear on the problems.

Just the use of industrial filtering pumps of high radioactive water of non-soluble particles will not only greatly reduce the radiation in the water, but the particles filtered would not even contaminate the sea floor. Things can be done.

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RobertCB: Chernobyl was a full meltdown with the reaction still going. The reaction was stopped automatically when the quake hit so we know for a fact that's it not as bad, could never be as bad.

Actually you haven't followed the news recently. Sign of re-criticality.

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The Control Rooms have power and partial functionality. The situation is a heck of lot better than several days ago.

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TumbleDry,

Perhaps you could add 772,147,336,600,000,000,000 litres of water of the Pacific and see how that affects your figures.

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Heda_Madness: sure but maybe could show us how the food chain is migrating in the 772,147,336,600,000,000,000 liters of water.

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TumbleDry

First of all since the reactors has been stopped the amount of radioactive iodine isotopes within the reactor falls as well. Half life means theoretically half of the iodine isotopes becomes inert and the rate is 1/4 of the total becomes inert the next day and 1/8 of the total becomes inert the following and so on.(it more of a probability dictated by quantum mechanics not a steady chemical decay rate)

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Japan will fix it. These are industrious people.

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TumbleDry, the fact is that the amount of water will dilute the effects of the radiation and therefore proves your theory is incorrect. You asked for someone to correct you and I think I have.

Still, you'll believe what you want to believe. Despite all evidenct to the contrary.

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SamuraiBlue: Half life means theoretically half of the iodine isotopes becomes inert and the rate is 1/4 of the total becomes inert the next day and 1/8 of the total becomes inert the following and so on.

Iodine-131 seems to have a half-life of 8 days (according to wikipedia), So, not the next day but after 8 days, half of it decayed. Meanwhile, if the dump continues, it accumulates (I'm still eating sashimis but it helps to try to understand what is going on).

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Ya rite, the Japan govn settle it by pouring all the radioative waste water into the ocean, selling all their contaminated goods and foods to third world country, and let the wind blow thier polluted air to Korea, China, SE-Asia, USA and the less of the world, very soon Japan will be as clean as last time before earthquake. Now they already serving those import from Japan "high quality" beef at many Vietnam and Laos high class restaurant!

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It's between Three-Mile-Island and Chernobyl for now. Chernobyl started with a reactor core blow out. Fukushima Daiichi can still have 1,2,3,4 reactor core blow outs. Of the 4, the biggest problem is with 3 since it has MOX. Enjoy the Hanami in the Tokyo area.... You never know. Half-life for 242PU is 373,300 yrs, 241Pu is 14 yrs, 240Pu is 6563 yrs, and 239Pu is 24,600 yrs.

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TumbleDry - the rate of decay is not linear. Most decay would occur in the ealier days. Remember it takes another 8 days to get down to 25. Your pattern would have it down to 25 in just another 4 days.

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ka_chan

Sorry but there is no way the reactors can blow out since they are already shut down. It has been ever since the earth quake hit them. Remember. The only way for a complete reactor blow out is for the containment vessel to completely blow up. That is not going to happen since the fuel rods are not completely submerged in water, the reactor core is filled with nitrogen gas and they have the pumps working within the core regulating. The problem now is the task of cleaning up what had been released.

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The UN and especially the IAEA, which reports to the UN, are in the business of promoting the use of nuclear power. These are not unbiased observers and anything they say should be taken with that in mind. So-called "experts" are a dime a dozen, too, especially in times of crisis. Follow the money and their agenda.

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bobcatfish: A flaw... Thanks. Sorry... you are right. Exponential decay. So, it stays radioactive even longer.

Heda_Madness: TumbleDry, the fact is that the amount of water will dilute the effects of the radiation and therefore proves your theory is incorrect. You asked for someone to correct you and I think I have. Still, you'll believe what you want to believe. Despite all evidenct to the contrary.

Thank you for that. I'm talking about accumulation. Take the example of embers. Heat will gradually dissipate. Fine. If you regularly add embers, it will stay hot longer since you accumulate heat sources. You don't stand in front of the fire. You have the embers in your pockets and move around with it. You are carrying the heat around. Just trying to say, OK, iodine, cesium etc get diluted but the food chain moves around accumulating radioactive matters. Even there is no fishing 20km from the plant, you still are going to find fishes with various levels outside the 20km. How far? I don't know. Dangerous? I don't know either. Don't think it will that bad but if you have the answers or anyone else, please, share.

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I already wrote about food chain accumulation, fish do not metabolize Cesium so it does not get concentrated. The amount that the fish eats and the amount that they excrete are the same. The only trace amount are in the intestine which humans do not eat anyways. The water leakage seem to have stopped so the remaining iodine isotopes which many are afraid of will become inert by the following days. The concentration of the material is diluted by sea water so it will become non traceable behind background radiation and contaminates that mother earth spills out through undersea volcanoes. Bottom line relax already.

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SamuraiBlue: thanks for the precision on cesium.

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Sorry TumbleDry, I've been getting confused. I thought your orignial question was 'If I'm wrong, anyone, please correct me.' which I thought I did. Had you posted 'Don't think it will that bad but if you have the answers or anyone else, please, share.'

Then I would probably have posted a different reply or maybe not one at all.

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SamuraiBlue:

I already wrote about food chain accumulation, fish do not metabolize Cesium so it does not get concentrated.

I wish you are right. However, according to many marine and nuclear scientists, “Plankton absorbs the Cesium, the fish eat the plankton, the bigger fish eat smaller fish — so every step you go up the food chain, the concentration of cesium gets higher.”

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Even if the plankton absorbs Cesium it does not matter since the fish that eats the plankton is not able to metabolize the substance so it gets excreted thus it does not get concentrated. Eating and metabolizing are not the same. It's like bamboo shoots for human, although we eat it we will never get nutrients from it since we are not able to digest it. If the body does not require the substance and is not a water solvent then it becomes excrement leaving the body.

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SamuraiBlue and Heda_Madness: hmmm "since there is no fishing 20km around the plant, there is no radioactive fishes" is I think wrong.

Japan said some fish caught last week about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the plant would have exceeded the new safety limits, which may change as circumstances do.

news.yahoo.com (f-slash) s (f-slash) ap (f-slash) 20110405 (f-slash) ap on re as (f-slash) as japan _ earthquake

Oops...

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Not realty sure why you're quoting me for things I didn't say but just to confirm my contribution this thread was only to correct your maths. I don't recall making any comment on fish or seafood.

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Heda_Madness: From the first post, I'm talking about accumulation of radioactive matter in the food chain. Even if my math is wrong.

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Dont all these elements come from the ground anyways? I think given enough time the ocean will eat up whatever waste water comes from Fukushima.

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