Nuclear Energy Can Be Safe
The answer to Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan-nuclear energy is safe. We often hear about “The lessons learned from Fukushima.” Here, nuclear power has been proven to be much safer than anyone previously imagined.
Ironically, if scientists wanted to design a worst-case scenario for a nuclear facility, it occurred at both Fukushima Plants 10 miles apart (Daiichi and Daini).
Daiichi, ‘number two’, was more prolific because of its catastrophic consequences. Both were equally hit with the Tsunami and Earthquake.
Daiichi Plant Built To Unsafe Standards
This forty year old plant, built to a sixty year old design, was struck by the largest earthquake to hit Japan. The reactors survived, and shut down as designed. But 50 minutes later, the largest tsunami (46 ft) on record arrived, triggered by the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake. A years-old decision to put the back-up diesel fuel tanks outdoors was disastrous. The waves overtopped the plant’s 33 foot seawall.
The nuclear plant closest to the epicenter of the earthquake, the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, successfully withstood the cataclysm. According to Reuters it should aid Japan’s nuclear future, providing evidence to design a nuclear facility to withstand such an onslaught.
Bottom line: “zero” people killed by radiation; “zero” total injuries; no property damage. Expected long-term effects on people: “zero.”
Return To Fukushima
In 2014, the civilian population returned to Fukushima. The area had already been declared safe in early 2013-radiologically. Water from the damaged reactor was barely radioactive. But 18,000 died from drowning from the Tsunami.
In August 2012, researchers found 10,000 nearby residents were exposed to <1 millisievert, [mSv], of radiation. No harm has ever been detected in anyone receiving a dose of <100 [mSv]. In fact, dittoes for doses of 200 [mSv]. Because nuclear radiation is an energy source, it is extremely easy to detect in very small quantities. With no health consequences, real harm was done to the public relations image, and TEPCO. They only apologized, without giving any straight scientific reality.
UNSCEAR Says Fukushima Clean
Fukushima residents were expected to accumulate an additional lifetime dose of <10 [mSv], compared to an average lifetime dose of 170 [mSv] for any citizen. Residents outside the Fukushima exclusion zone had exposures of 19 [mSv]. This is below the annual limit set by the nuclear safety body. In January 2013 the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, UNSCEAR, was asked to do a full check of the exposure levels around Fukushima. Some areas (specifically, Denver) have even higher natural levels. After two years of radiation checks, UNSCEAR reported any cancer rates were not going to show any discernible rise, because doses received by people were just too low.
No Injuries From Meltdown
Remember media screaming “reactors at Fukushima may suffer a core meltdown!” Even though some reactors did suffer a meltdown, nothing happened.
But Japan has faced widespread criticism over a perceived slow response in evacuations. Those within 15 miles of the ‘zone’ were urged to leave, possibly exposed to 0.18-2.3 [mSv] in the first four months.
In all the abounding rumors and anxiety about Fukushima, people wanted to know if all the talk was necessary. Malcolm Crick, called David Ball (ViceMedia) from Geneva, Switzerland. As secretary of United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, UNSCEAR, Crick wanted to set things straight.
He said: “This has led to people then fearing the situation perhaps more than they should in view of the radiation health effects, though definitely there are some things that we want to keep an eye on. Though such on-site problems need to be taken seriously and resolved, they do not increase the doses or associated health risks much as they are well monitored.”
Suzuki To The Rescue
Along comes hallowed Canadian scientist David Suzuki with ominous warnings about Fukushima. Along with his fears of massive radioactive leaks from the melted reactors, Suzuki described Tokyo University’s research pegging the chance of another 7+ magnitude earthquake by 2016 at 70%.
Ball then called a number of nuclear physicists to evaluate their fears about Fukushima radiation. All of them raised their ‘sciency’ eyebrows at this Canadian’s disturbing claims. Most agreed he went completely overboard.
Per the ICRP: “But as long as exposure stays somewhere near 19, there should be no health risks.” This International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends exposure below 20 [mSv]/year.
“It’s really hard to have a rational public discussion based on the known facts of radiation,” said University of British Columbia physicist Marcello Pavan, “when it is so ingrained in the culture that radiation at any level is a bad and terrible thing … It is a risk like any other, like chemicals.”
New Ways Of Handling ‘No-Win’ Scenarios
After the supposed disaster, Nuclear station operators around the world began to install Passive Auto-catalytic hydrogen Recombiners, PARs. These don’t require electricity for operation. PARs work much like the catalytic converter on a car exhaust to turn explosive gases such as hydrogen into water.
It’s obvious Suzuki’s warning spread like a plague to social media. Considering Suzuki’s genetic background – not nuclear physics or radiobiology – what should rational thinkers really believe?
People should understand natural radiation is constantly streaming down on earth from the cosmos. Every star is a giant nuclear reactor. Radiation from radioactive elements is also emanating from the ground.