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> It is interesting that before Fukushima the common knowledge was that any amount of radiation is bad and may cause health issues

Well, the common knowledge is wrong. We are surrounded with background radiation every day.


Since I have the tab open at the moment:

    This natural background radiation is not harmless, as the effects 
    of high exposure to cosmic background radiation (e.g. by frequent 
    trans atlantic flights) or high radon levels in homes or local soil
    on cancer incidence have shown. [85, 86, 87, 88] It can be assumed 
    that a certain proportion of the 'naturally' occurring cases of cancer
    are caused by constant exposure to 'natural' background radiation
Source: IPPNW commentary on the UNSCEAR report on Fukushima, http://www.ippnw.de/commonFiles/pdfs/Atomenergie/Ausfuehrlic...


We can talk about radiation all day, but I guess the larger point is:

"There have been no acute radiation syndrome fatalities reported due to the Fukushima accident, while approximately 18,500 people died due to the earthquake and tsunami. Future cancer deaths from accumulated radiation exposures in the population living near Fukushima are predicted to be extremely low to none."


So why are we talking about the radiation here? The effect is meaningless in comparison. Why aren't we talking about what to do about tsunamis?


Well, first of all radiation is a entirely man made disaster, unlike a tsunami. And additionally I think that your wikipedia quote is a nice example, first no acute radiation syndrome fatalities is a nice statement, it is also true for the entire WWI. The thing is, that acute radiation poisoning only happens at really high doses, long after everybody should start running away. This is simply not a concern for an area where anybody is living.

Future cancer deaths from accumulated radiation exposures [...] are predicted to be extremely low to none. Yes, but I find the paragraph in the source [1]

    Even the worse case scenario — a dose of 50 mSv — poses a fairly minimal risk. 
    However, the models showed that infants living in Namie could have got a higher
    dose to their thyroid, of 100–200 mSv. That higher dose would be due mainly to 
    radioactive iodine-131 blowing from the plant immediately after the accident. Brenner 
    says a dose of 200 mSv to a female infant under a year old might mean a 1% risk of 
    developing thyroid cancer over her lifetime (by comparison, the lifetime risk in the 
    United States is 0.02%).
So if you then look into the WHO report which triggered the nature blog post [2], and especially appendix D, you will find that there was quite a lot of necessary smoothing of the data, for example, the difference between the average contamination of seafood and the maximum sample is a order of magnitude. And it is actually quite easy to construct a scenario, where consumption of a specific Tuna is a death sentence.

So I think that a argument can be made for nuclear energy, but this argument should not be "no one will ever know we killed her. <evil laughter>" The argument should include sentences like [3]:

    [...] My offers were such as to give me a risk equivalent to that faced by an American soldier
    in World War II, according to my calculations of plutonium toxicity which followed all generally 
    accepted procedures. These offers were made to all three major TV networks, requesting a few 
    minutes to explain why I was doing it. I feel that I am engaged in a battle for my country's 
    future, and hence should be willing to take as much risk as other soldiers.

[1] http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/05/world-health-organizati... [2] http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/44877/1/97892415036... [3] http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter13.html


> Well, first of all radiation is a entirely man made disaster, unlike a tsunami.

Tsunamis are not much of a disaster without man building and living along the coast where tsunamis may strike. The circumstances of the disaster are just as much man made as the radiation.


I like those scare quotes around 'natural'.


Not all quotes are scare quotes. Often times, they are used where one would normally add slight differentiation, such as italics.


No, no, no. Don't give me that now. How came 100mSv/h used to be horrible and is just good for your health. Explain that.


Did you know that we, collectively, as a society, continue to gather new information and make new discoveries even to this day?


Just timing is politically too convenient to do it now: http://www.activistpost.com/2013/04/obama-approves-epas-high...


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