Jim Hopf comments

Posted in: Abe visits Fukushima to check areas affected by 2011 nuclear disaster See in context


Not only would I be happy to live in the just-opened areas, but I would be happy to live in the areas still classified as being off limits. At a recent conference they polled a large group of radiation experts and almost none of them said that they would relocate their families away from an area with a radiation level of 100 mSv per year.

It's not a matter of me not reading about deaths or illness from the accident. It is the official consensus of the world scientific community (United Nations, World Health Organization, etc..) that the meltdowns caused no deaths and that any future health impacts will be too small to measure. Also, more generally, that nuclear power's public health and safety risks are negligible compared to those of fossil power generation (which Japan is no indefensibly using in place of nuclear). I love how you've just decided to place your personal opinion over theirs (the basis of your opinion being unclear).

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Posted in: Abe visits Fukushima to check areas affected by 2011 nuclear disaster See in context

In response to various comments above:

Measurable health effects only start to be seen at radiation levels of 100 mSv/year. The question is what would motivate bodies like the ICRP to set radiation dose limits that are orders of magnitude smaller than the levels required to have any effect, and are lower than natural background. It appears that it was an effort to allay public concerns, by adopting stricter and stricter limits, and more generally by having larger and larger measures and reactions to smaller and smaller things (actual threats). The truth being that all such efforts only result in increased public fears (since they basically said, and acted like, radiation is far more dangerous than it really is).

A dose of 120 mSv/yr in Okuma? I thought Japan's limit was 20 mSv. Most of the prefecture off limits for decades?? Even the original evacuation zone was a small fraction of Fukushima prefecture's area, and most of that zone has already been reopened, after only a few years. Most of the rest will be soon to follow. And, as others have pointed out, those long-term relocations (evacuations) were never justified in the first place. No areas around Fukushima were as unhealthy a place to live as most of the world's large cities.

As for the comparison to a large airplane crash, how about we compare the death tolls. That's hundreds of people for the airplane crash, vs. few if any, ever, from the meltdowns. And yet (as was pointed out), we spend so little on air crashes and so much in response to meltdowns, in an extreme effort to avoid any radiation-related deaths. Makes you wonder if our priorities are in order. Imagine if we took half of the ~2 trillion yen spent on response to the meltdowns and spent it on airline safety instead. Imagine how many thousands of lives we could save.

Note that the use of nuclear power (in place of fossil generation) has already saved millions of lives and has greatly reduced mankind's CO2 emissions. Also note that the amount of money that Japan has voluntarily spent on imported fossil fuels, to use in place of nuclear, since 2011, is already much larger than the ~2 trillion yen spent on the accident itself. Also, all that fossil generation that Japan decided to use in place of nuclear since 2011 has already killed thousands of people (and greatly increased CO2 emissions), whereas the meltdowns themselves caused few if any deaths.

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Posted in: Nuclear power issue unlikely to be decisive factor in election See in context

So everyone is falling all over themselves to shut down nuclear, even if it means using fossil fuels, including coal, instead.  Never mind that coal is thousands of times more dangerous and harmful.  Expert consensus is that Fukushima caused no deaths and will never have any measurable public health impact.  Meanwhile, Japanese coal plants kill around 1000 Japanese every year, and are a leading source of global warming (CO2) emissions.  This is immoral.

The fact is that releases of radioactivity have slowed to a trickle, and any ongoing releases, into the Pacific or into the air, are orders of magnitude too small to have ANY health impact.  (People blather about the water being released from the storage tanks even though one could literally drink that water every day w/o any impact on their health - yes, I'm volunteering).  The threat of any large-scale release has gone.  Thus, it is not a "crisis" under any rational definition.  One has to wonder why so much attention is paid to the negligible ongoing releases from Fukushima, but none is paid to the massive, continuous releases of health-harming pollutants from fossil fuels.  Coal plants ARE a public health "crisis".  But, people don't judge things on numbers or facts, but instead on perceptions and media portrayals.

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