Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Fukushima -- Fear Is Still the Killer

Fukushima -- Fear Is Still the Killer: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/03/18/fukushima-fear-is-still-the-killer/ "Sadness and Anger. That’s what came to mind on the two-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster last week. But it was for two different reasons, for two different groups. I realize everyone who attended the anti-nuke rallies felt righteous and good about their anger at nuclear power and their sadness at the disaster (Bay Area IndyMedia).
But their anger is misplaced and their zealous cries against nuclear power eclipsed the real heartbreak – the tsunami itself and the mismanagement of the response.
I am in the other group. Those of us who are sad at the destruction wrought by the tsunami and angry at the horrible over-reaction to Fukushima that has hurt more people than the radiation ever will. The tsunami killed over 20,000 people and destroyed almost a million lives. The threat of radiation is a phantom that distracts the world and keeps the people of Japan terrorized with no foreseeable end.
Yet again, technical and scientific experts announced that the radiation effects from Fukushima will have little to no health impacts on the people of Japan, even on those most affected by the disaster at Daiichi.
Yet again, it was announced that the fear and continued misinformation about radiation is causing more harm than could possibly be caused by radiation.
Yet again, much of the public and most of the ideologues choose to ignore the experts and stoke the fear and suffering for whatever reasons they have, good or bad.
There is no question that an area around Fukushima is contaminated and needs to be cleaned-up before anyone can re-enter. But that area is confined to the >50 mSv/year zone (>6 microSv/hr). The rest of the area is safe enough to re-occupy and contains most of the population in the affected areas (Japan Ministry). The majority of the refugees could return safely to their homes and have a better life than where they are now.
The WHO released an interim evaluation in their ongoing assessment of Fukushima. For the general population in Fukushima prefecture, across Japan and beyond “the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated,” said WHO. Clear cases of health damage from radiation only occur following exposures of 1000 mSv – far more than the 10-50 mSv WHO said was received by the worst-hit people in Namie and Iitate.
The WHO also said the effects of the accident “are not expected to cause an increase in the incidence of miscarriages, stillbirths and other physical and mental conditions that can affect babies born after the accident.”"

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