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Japan Nuclear Plant Point of Failure


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mjr522:

Actually anything above background is problematic. There is NO SAFE level of exposure to radiation. But we humans are willing to accept a certain level of trade offs in order to have the electricity, or a nice suntan.

As to the Japan incident specific much depends on length of exposure. Merely walking through the area around the plants will probably not be too much of a risk for most. Living there is not a good idea, and pregnant women and small children should not. That presents a real problem because Japan is such a small country(about 37 million hectares)with a large population country(not quite 130 million). To give you a better idea of that consider that California is a little bigger in size but Japan has 4 times the population.

Ingestion can come in many forms. In the lungs by breathing radioactive materials directly. In the foods we eat by plants taking up the radioactive elements through their roots and us eating those plants. The milk we drink by drinking the milk of cows/goats that have eaten the plants with radioactive residues on/in them.

See Bikini Atoll http://www-ns.iaea.org/appraisals/bikini-atoll.asp

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American tele had a interesting show called "Engineering Disasters" - a clever double entendre. A common theme was cost savings contributing to the disaster. I believe that it was cost savings in New Orleans which lead to the levies being under built because New Orleans had not seen a category 5 storm before.

Short a load of springs or hydraulic shocks, I do not believe much can be done to protect equipment in the ground when a 9 earthquake strikes. Though I agree, building at the shoreline without a barrier seems short sighted.

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Actually anything above background is problematic. There is NO SAFE level of exposure to radiation.

This statement is not without controversy, but I won't directly disagree with it, either. I will say, however, that while most people reject the concept of a threshold below which radiation causes damage, almost all agree that the "damage" caused by low doses means that you will develop cancer by the time you turn, say for example, 450 years-old. So while it is true that any exposure to radiation increases the chances of you developing cancer, there is certainly a negligible dose that an individual can receive without it affecting their life, just like you were saying about walking around the plant.

I also agree that the presence of unnaturally high levels of radiation is bad for people who live there--that eating food grown there or drinking water from the area is not a good idea. But, this is not because of the Pu, it's mostly because of the radio iodine at first (it has a somewhat short half-life, I think around 8 days) and then cesium-137, which is water soluble and, as the article you linked to about the Bikini Atoll mentions, is drawn into plant materials. My complaint for this discussion, and it's against those reporting the crisis, is that they are making a bigger deal out of the detection of Pu than I believe is warranted. They seem to like to link it to nuclear weapons--as if that somehow makes it more dangerous. I've asked what the big deal with the presence of Pu is, but no one has a good answer, and that's because, in and of itself, its presence is very low on the danger scale compared to the presence of other isotopes. I'm not sure I've really disagreed with anything said in this discussion, except the statements that because Pu is there, things are substantially worse than they were. This is especially true because the amount of Pu detected so far is minuscule.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Japan ups nuke crisis severity to match Chernobyl

By YURI KAGEYAMA and RYAN NAKASHIMA, Associated Press

TOKYO – Japan raised the crisis level at its crippled nuclear plant Tuesday to a severity on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, citing high overall radiation leaks that have contaminated the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater.

Japanese nuclear regulators said they raised the rating from 5 to 7 — the highest level on an international scale of nuclear accidents overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency — after new assessments of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since it was disabled by the March 11 tsunami.

..... More

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mjr522:

Actually anything above background is problematic. There is NO SAFE level of exposure to radiation. But we humans are willing to accept a certain level of trade offs in order to have the electricity, or a nice suntan.

As to the Japan incident specific much depends on length of exposure. Merely walking through the area around the plants will probably not be too much of a risk for most. Living there is not a good idea, and pregnant women and small children should not. That presents a real problem because Japan is such a small country(about 37 million hectares)with a large population country(not quite 130 million). To give you a better idea of that consider that California is a little bigger in size but Japan has 4 times the population.

Ingestion can come in many forms. In the lungs by breathing radioactive materials directly. In the foods we eat by plants taking up the radioactive elements through their roots and us eating those plants. The milk we drink by drinking the milk of cows/goats that have eaten the plants with radioactive residues on/in them.

See Bikini Atoll http://www-ns.iaea.org/appraisals/bikini-atoll.asp

Not so everyone is exposed to safe levels of radiation every day, it is called sunshine.

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ERayR:

You do understand that sunshine is considered part of background?

Also exposure to sunshine increases the chances of cancer. It is just that people are willing to take the increased risk for the benefits of the exposure.

See Melanoma

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanoma

You do understand that background radiation varies from place to place and is affected by sunspot activity?

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