Fukushima plant - should I leave Japan?


by stundmullett
Tags: fukushima, japan, plant
stundmullett
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#1
Mar19-11, 08:05 AM
P: 2
There is so much conflicting information so I hope it's okay to post here and ask the experts(I'm assuming you're experts). I live 180 km south east of Tokyo and don't know how far I should trust the media and government. Two of my friends have decided to leave the area with their children and I am concerned I should be doing the same. The news today about the situation at the plant sounded hopeful but how safe would we be here if things got worse? I'm scared but I don't want to panic. I have a job, commitments, and my husband would probably not leave with us.
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revnaknuma
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#2
Mar19-11, 08:17 AM
P: 32
dont trust media. fukushima is a very small accident compared to Chernobyl's.
Japan is safe.
Astronuc
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#3
Mar19-11, 09:11 AM
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Quote Quote by stundmullett View Post
There is so much conflicting information so I hope it's okay to post here and ask the experts(I'm assuming you're experts). I live 180 km south east of Tokyo and don't know how far I should trust the media and government. Two of my friends have decided to leave the area with their children and I am concerned I should be doing the same. The news today about the situation at the plant sounded hopeful but how safe would we be here if things got worse? I'm scared but I don't want to panic. I have a job, commitments, and my husband would probably not leave with us.
When I view a map, 180 km SE of Tokyo is the Pacific Ocean. Does one mean Chiba? Or does one mean SW, perhaps in Izu south of Nagoya?

I believe that it is reasonably safe there.

Angry Citizen
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#4
Mar19-11, 10:39 AM
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Fukushima plant - should I leave Japan?


The maximum recorded radiation levels in Tokyo were 0.8 microsieverts/hour. Background is 0.3 microsieverts/hour. You're in more danger from the ash spread by the Shinmoedake eruption, especially if you're even further away than Tokyo.
Borek
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#5
Mar19-11, 10:55 AM
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Taking all I know into account, I can't think of a reason to not stay where you are.
TCups
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#6
Mar19-11, 11:07 AM
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Quote Quote by stundmullett View Post
There is so much conflicting information so I hope it's okay to post here and ask the experts(I'm assuming you're experts). I live 180 km south east of Tokyo and don't know how far I should trust the media and government. Two of my friends have decided to leave the area with their children and I am concerned I should be doing the same. The news today about the situation at the plant sounded hopeful but how safe would we be here if things got worse? I'm scared but I don't want to panic. I have a job, commitments, and my husband would probably not leave with us.
What else would you be leaving? If the answer is your home, family, belongings, etc., probably not. If you are there temporarily, visiting, maybe.

Understand that the physicist types are throwing around Sieverts, which is a measure of absorbed dose of a number of different sources of radiation -- x-ray & gamma ray (photons), alpha particles (2 neutrons + 2 protons) and beta particles (electrons).

Alpha particles are particularly dense, ionizing radiation and are extremely dangerous if ingested. In that regard, that is why Plutonium, an alpha emitter, is so nasty, and toxic if ingested. Beta particles (electrons) are much less dense, and therefore more penetrating. Radioactive Iodine (I-133) is the common concern with reactor accidents, because Iodine is biologically active and is taken up and concentrated in your thyroid gland. That is also why folks are taking non-radioactive iodine pills -- to overload those biological uptake systems and prevent the uptake of the radioactive stuff.

You can't and don't need to do much about the x-ray and gamma ray stuff. It is low dose and your body has lots of mechanisms to repair and recover from sub-lethal doses of that type of radiation.

As for alpha and beta exposure, those typically come from external contamination in dust and on the surfaces of exposed materials, including foodstuffs, and also, possibly as contaminants in the water supply.

You don't have a high risk of radiation exposure or injury as far as is known, but I would suggest:

Wash your hands carefully and often. Wash anything that isn't sealed or packaged thoroughly before you put it in your mouth. Any contamination from the current events at Fukushima are likely to be external or surface contaminants, not contaminants that have been "biologically" absorbed into the food chain. I don't think it is time to go to bottled water unless you learn that your local water supply has been contaminated. Be careful about tracking dirt and anything else from outdoors that might be externally contaminated into your home. Leave your shoes at the door. Wash your clothing carefully. Etc. If you smoke, you should stop now. If you find at some point that your local environment has been significantly contaminated with radioactive wastes, then it might be time to reconsider.

On the risk scale of things you should lay awake at night worrying about, at least for now and where you are, radiation injury or sickness is probably still low on the list.
tortamuss
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#7
Mar19-11, 02:17 PM
P: 11
It may be prudent to take a "vacation" durring the expected onshore winds from the north.

Vacation>[Washing your hands carefully and often+ Washing anything that isn't sealed or packaged thoroughly before you put it in your mouth+- Any contamination from the current events at Fukushima are likely to be external or surface contaminants, not contaminants that have been "biologically" absorbed into the food chain+ I don't think it is time to go to bottled water unless you learn that your local water supply has been contaminated+ Be careful about tracking dirt and anything else from outdoors that might be externally contaminated into your home+ Leave your shoes at the door+ Wash your clothing carefully]

Seems like a no brainer.
Astronuc
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#8
Mar19-11, 05:02 PM
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Interesting gif of radiation plume from FK

http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,151...751072,00.html
stundmullett
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#9
Mar19-11, 08:18 PM
P: 2
Yes, I am SW of Tokyo on the east coast.

Thanks for your posts - I'm feeling somewhat reassured.
MeMyself+Eye
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#10
Mar20-11, 04:07 PM
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Here's a interesting radiation dose chart that gives a good comparative example for the various scales being thrown around.

I know it helped me grok the tiny minuscule scales being talked about.
Escapekey
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#11
Mar23-11, 11:20 AM
P: 10
Here is my thought: As with TMI and Tchernobyl, all the events were in unknown territory as they unfolded. Sure, engineering and physics could explain what was happening and all, but as for where exactly things were going, that was sort up to nature after a point. It took 7 months to get Tchernobyl under "control" (covered) and over a half a million men working on it. Men ordered to fix it and information withheld as to the danger they were in. So far, this is still an unfolding event with lots of directions this could take.

So you need to use YOUR best instincts on this. Don't take anyone's word for it. EVERYONE has a vested interest in their angle... defending nuclear energy, avoiding panic, etc.

Keep on top of twitter feeds from the list the UN put together. Scour the internet for information. American's MSM has more or less gone dark on this so I am assuming yours is as well.

Good luck.


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