How harmful is nuclear radiation? It depends on the dose received.

  • Thread starter kowalskil
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  • #1
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What follows should be shown an explained to all who discuss "dangerous nuclear radiations." Yes, I know that these numbers are well known to most people on this forum. Discussion of nuclear radiation should be quantitive, not qualitative.

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How harmful is nuclear radiation? It depends on the dose received.

The effect of penetrating radiation on a person depends on the dose received. The common unit of dose is Sievert (Sv). Smaller doses are expressed in milliseverts (mSv) or microseveret. The old unit of dose, rem, is also used widely (1Sv=100 rem)

A dose of 10 Sv will most likely results in death, within a day or two.
5 Sv would kill about 50% of exposed people.
2 Sv can also be fatal, especially without prompt treatment.

0.25 Sv = 250 mSv is the limit for emergency workers in life-saving operations.
0.10 Sv = 100 mSv dose is clearly linked to later cancer risks.
0.05 Sv = 50 mSv is the yearly limit for radiation workers.

0.004 Sv= 4 mSv typical yearly dose due to natural radiation (cosmic rays, etc).
0.003 Sv= 3 mSV typical dose from mammogram

The one day dose, due to Fukushima accident, at a distance of 30 miles from the damaged reactors, was reported (on 3/16 and 3/17) as 0.0036 mSv. I do not have data on doses, probably very large, received by those who worked near or inside reactors. But I have no doubt that each of them was carrying an individual dosimeter. No deaths due to radiation have been reported in Japan, as far as I know. Many lives, however, were lost in Chernobyl, by those who worked to minimize damage.

Ludwik Kowalski
Professor Emeritus
Montclair State University, USA
=====================================================
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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But I have no doubt that each of them was carrying an individual dosimeter. No deaths due to radiation have been reported in Japan, as far as I know. Many lives, however, were lost in Chernobyl, by those who worked to minimize damage.
And I have no doubt they didn't have enough dosimeters to go around. Read the news and don't lie.
http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/tokyo-electric-warned-for-not-securing-enough-dosimeters-for-workers" [Broken]

If I have to read, just one more time, how nobody has died due to radiation at Fuku again I'm going to go into "incident" mode. Let's just gloss over the 100,000 or so people that have been evacuated either forcefully or of their own accord, BECAUSE OF RADIATION, that have been living in cardboard boxes for up to six weeks, shall we, Professor? Let's gloss over the loss of homes, land, livelihoods, companion animals, farm animals, deaths of the elderly due to the stress of being moved, children's schooling disruption, discrimination of "irradiated" evacuees, suicides(yes, there have been some), ...etc...etc.

If I were to keep on writing, you'd now be reading bad stuff from me like, "Professor, do the nuclear industry a big favour and STFU already". But I've stopped so it's not going to happen, 'k.
 
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  • #3
QuantumPion
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And I have no doubt they didn't have enough dosimeters to go around. Read the news and don't lie.
http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/tokyo-electric-warned-for-not-securing-enough-dosimeters-for-workers" [Broken]

If I have to read, just one more time, how nobody has died due to radiation at Fuku again I'm going to go into "incident" mode. Let's just gloss over the 100,000 or so people that have been evacuated either forcefully or of their own accord that have been living in cardboard boxes for up to six weeks, shall we, Professor? Let's gloss over the loss of homes, land, livelihoods, companion animals, farm animals, deaths of the elderly due to the stress of being moved, children's schooling disruption, discrimination of "irradiated" evacuees, suicides(yes, there have been some), ...etc...etc.

If I were to keep on writing, you'd now be reading bad stuff from me like, "Professor, do the nuclear industry a big favour and STFU already". But I've stopped so it's not going to happen, 'k.
The impact is not very large compared to the direct damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, which you have seemingly glossed over yourself.
 
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  • #4
546
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If I were to keep on writing, you'd now be reading bad stuff from me like, "Professor, do the nuclear industry a big favour and STFU already". But I've stopped so it's not going to happen, 'k.
You do realize that bashing of every opinion which's not "contra-nuclear" or "catastrophic" enough won't help us in understanding what's happening at Fukushima the slightest?
A simple "but there weren't enough dosimeters to begin with" + source link would have been enough.
I really like this forum because it's the only one I was able to find which's discussing the Fukushima accidents from a technical and objective kind of view. We don't need any users shouting anti-nuclear slogans. And we don't need users shouting pro-nuclear slogans either.

And that's all I'll post regarding this matter. If you want to discuss further, write me a PM. But I don't want to transform this thread into a battlefield.
 
  • #5
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The impact is not very large compared to the direct damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, which you have seemingly glossed over yourself.
Japan has very little livable or arable land, so the impact IS large for them, hence their reluctance to evacuate people.

We are speaking of death due to radiation not earthquake or tsunami...last I looked at the Professor's post anyway. The subject is "radiation's harmfulness". Evacuation of people in radioactive zones falls under that category. Has almost nothing to do with the earthquake deaths or tsunami deaths.
 
  • #6
510
1
the problem is that OP is posting incorrect data.

http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2011/03/fukushima_update_against_the_o_1.html
look at the aerial monitoring maps at the end of article.
Radiation: level depends to where you are, not just the distance.
Conversion:
1 rem = 0.01 Sievert = 10 milliSievert.
1milliRem/h = 10 microSievert/hour
The hottest spots outside the zone:
>0.25 mR/h = 2.5 microSieverts/hour = >60 microSieverts/day = >0.06 milliSieverts/day = 16 times larger than the figure by professor.

edit: also his mammography dose is 1.5 .. 2x the typical. Somewhere around the maximum i'd guess. Doesn't make a lot of difference but highlights the bias.
http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-Emitti...ActandProgram/FacilityScorecard/ucm113606.htm
 
  • #7
QuantumPion
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Japan has very little livable or arable land, so the impact IS large for them, hence their reluctance to evacuate people.

We are speaking of death due to radiation not earthquake or tsunami...last I looked at the Professor's post anyway. The subject is "radiation's harmfulness". Evacuation of people in radioactive zones falls under that category. Has almost nothing to do with the earthquake deaths or tsunami deaths.
There have been no deaths due to radiation. Most likely, only a small zone around the plant, perhaps 3 km radius, will become off-limits for public use for long period. The current, large 20 km evacuation zone will become safe in a shorter period of time (months or a couple years). The reports I have read have stated that this year's crop production will have to be destroyed, but that farming can resume normally next year.

According to Wikipedia, Japan has about 57,000 km^2 of arable land. The 3 km radius around the plant, if it was even used for agriculture before, amounts to only 30 km^2.
 
  • #8
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We don't need any users shouting anti-nuclear slogans. And we don't need users shouting pro-nuclear slogans either.
I'm not anti-nuclear(although I may be getting there). I can't help but cringe at the same type of drivel the Professor has written parroted all over the net giving people in the industry a bad name. Try to understand that. Maybe even reread my post. I don't want to be the butt of the nuclear jokes flying around the net because of these morons. They always write the SAME thing over and over everywhere on forums, blog comments, media comments. It doesn't inspire any kind of confidence in the industry and they should stop. No deaths from radiation, radioactive bananas, flying on an air plane, lots of people died at Chernobyl in comparison(how can you even compare the two??)----there's always one or a couple of these in each post. Like some sort of retarded bot wrote it. And I'm tired of it. All due respect to bots though.
 
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  • #9
Pengwuino
Gold Member
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If I were to keep on writing, you'd now be reading bad stuff from me like, "Professor, do the nuclear industry a big favour and STFU already". But I've stopped so it's not going to happen, 'k.
So, do you actually have anything to say? If your idea of a counter-argument is telling people to "STFU", you won't go far in this forum.
 
  • #10
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There have been no deaths due to radiation.
How does one classify something like these? Death linked to radiation's harmfullness or not?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...d-man-Fukushima-fall-zone-kills-himself.html"

http://fukushima.greenaction-japan.org/2011/03/30/a-vegetable-grower-in-fukushima-commits-suicide-after-restriction-on-vegetables-i-cant-take-it-anymore/" [Broken]

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/03/17/20110317japan-quake-elderly-evacuees-die17-ON.html" [Broken]

Is radiation harming these people?

http://www.liquida.com/article/19140643/fukushima-japan-tsunami/"

Please try to understand where my anger is coming from.
 
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  • #11
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So, do you actually have anything to say? If your idea of a counter-argument is telling people to "STFU", you won't go far in this forum.
I thought I wrote plenty in counter arguement. Is "STFU" the only thing you read? That definitely was no counter arguement, it was personal advice.
 
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  • #12
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My whole house is powered and heated by ripe bananas. I am however concerned that prolonged exposure to ethylene will foster containment degradation, what precautionary evacuation zones would folks recommend ?What is the half life of a banana fritter?
 
  • #13
2,685
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That's suicide - you complain about someone mentioning deaths due to the tsunami and earthquake and how they aren't due to the radiation and then you bring up this?
http://fukushima.greenaction-japan.org/2011/03/30/a-vegetable-grower-in-fukushima-commits-suicide-after-restriction-on-vegetables-i-cant-take-it-anymore/" [Broken]
Again suicide.
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/03/17/20110317japan-quake-elderly-evacuees-die17-ON.html" [Broken]
Not due to the radiation.
They won't leave - that's their choice and the deaths are their own fault if they come. They are preventable but they are choosing not to leave.
 
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  • #14
QuantumPion
Science Advisor
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How does one classify something like these? Death linked to radiation's harmfullness or not?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...d-man-Fukushima-fall-zone-kills-himself.html"

http://fukushima.greenaction-japan.org/2011/03/30/a-vegetable-grower-in-fukushima-commits-suicide-after-restriction-on-vegetables-i-cant-take-it-anymore/" [Broken]

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/03/17/20110317japan-quake-elderly-evacuees-die17-ON.html" [Broken]

Is radiation harming these people?

http://www.liquida.com/article/19140643/fukushima-japan-tsunami/"

Please try to understand where my anger is coming from.
If you want to ignore facts and become angry reading propaganda then that is your problem.
 
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  • #15
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My whole house is powered and heated by ripe bananas. I am however concerned that prolonged exposure to ethylene will foster containment degradation, what precautionary evacuation zones would folks recommend ?What is the half life of a banana fritter?
K-40, Dude! It's the future of power! Carry on.
 
  • #16
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If you want to ignore facts and become angry reading propaganda then that is your problem.
Propaganda? By whom? A reporter reporting on how a person died? Try not to look at the websites that house the link, as it does not negate the content. The stories come directly from the Japanese news media.
 
  • #17
2,685
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Propaganda? By whom? Reporter reporting how a person died?
But how they died had nothing to do with radiation.

Again, you complain about people mentioning non-radiation issues and then bring them up yourself.

This thread is about dangers of radiation, what you linked to is irrelevant.
 
  • #18
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
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I thought I wrote plenty in counter arguement. Is "STFU" the only thing you read? That definitely was no counter arguement, it was personal advice.
Those aren't counter-arguments. Maybe those would be considered arguments in a political shouting match, but not in a scientific forum. Back up what you said and make it relevant.
 
  • #19
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Okay. I see. People evacuated from a "radiation zone" have nothing to do with "radiation's harmfulness" and their plight is not linked to "radiation" in any way. Even though if there was no "radiation" causing a "radiation evacuation zone" these same people would be snug in their homes or repairing their homes. Got it. I see the light. No need for further discussion on my part, for sure. Same reasoning, I guess, for suicides due to people either not willing to leave a "radiation zone" because of old age or just ending it because they lost their livelihood to "radiation" due to a "radiation zone" evacuation.
 
  • #20
2,685
22
Okay. I see. People evacuated from a "radiation zone" have nothing to do with "radiation's harmfulness" and their plight is not linked to "radiation" in any way. Even though if there was no "radiation" causing a "radiation evacuation zone" these same people would be snug in their homes or repairing their homes. Got it. I see the light. No need for further discussion on my part, for sure. Same reasoning, I guess, for suicides due to people either not willing to leave a "radiation zone" because of old age or just ending it because they lost their livelihood to "radiation" due to a "radiation zone" evacuation.
Correct.

Non of the deaths you provided as sources have anything to do with received radiation dose as clearly outlined in the OP.

Under the context of the OP, your arguments are moot points.

The OP specifically discusses radiation doses, you are the one who went right off topic and brought up a whole host of other things nothing to do with the OP.

In fact, I think it should all be removed and let the thread go with the OP's intention of dose discussion.
 
  • #21
NUCENG
Science Advisor
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My whole house is powered and heated by ripe bananas. I am however concerned that prolonged exposure to ethylene will foster containment degradation, what precautionary evacuation zones would folks recommend ?What is the half life of a banana fritter?
My suggestion is to step carefully. You may slip and fall and kill yourself.

For anyone who is offended by humor on this very serious forum, please understand it is only because some of you desperately need some humor.
 
  • #22
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If I have to read, just one more time, how nobody has died due to radiation at Fuku again I'm going to go into "incident" mode.
How many did die due to Fukushima radiation, according to you, Danuta?
 
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  • #23
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Your data is wrong. So is your info about dosimeters. You should at least check over the generic stuff they give you to post on the web. Look what happened to Josef Oehmen. Laughing stock of the internet now. Bye.
 
  • #24
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The hottest spots outside the zone:
>0.25 mR/h = 2.5 microSieverts/hour = >60 microSieverts/day = >0.06 milliSieverts/day = 16 times larger than the figure by professor.
1) That is correct, Dmytry. The two numbers I quoted were reported on specific days in specific locations. Theyare indeed much lower than at "the hottest spot."

also his mammography dose is 1.5 .. 2x the typical. Somewhere around the maximum i'd guess. Doesn't make a lot of difference but highlights the bias.
2) I agree that the factor of two is not important. The needed exposure time (to get the best diagnosis), for a woman with a larger breast, could easily be several times longer. That translates into a lagers number SV (joules per kilogram of the exposed tissue). Other factors, such as how much fat, muscles, etc., also influence the dose density.

3) By the way, the unit of dose should be joule; Seviert (J/kg) is the unit of dose density. Unfortunately, most people say that Sv is the unit of dose. I did the same, to avoid unnecessary arguments. The name given to something is usually not important.

4) Thank you for the maps; they were new to me.

5) The most important thing for me was to give people some kind of a yardstick, for translating Sv (or rems) into biological effects. I did not invent these well known numbers.

6) Discussing dangers of radiations is meaningless unless doses are known, at least approximately. The arithmetic is trivial. The 0.25 mr/hr (hot spot) translates to about 20 mSv in one year. This is about 7 times higher that what we usually received from natural radiation, such as cosmic rays, etc. each year.

7) My only bias is toward being qualitative rather than quantitative. Thank you to those who commented.
 
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  • #25
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The impact is not very large compared to the direct damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami, which you have seemingly glossed over yourself.
That is a ridiculous statement. The Fuku IMPACT will be Partially known in fifty years. The final impact will be assessed a century from now. I strongly recommend that you study the long term effects of radiation exposure. We won't even get into the DNA damage to successive generations.
 

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