WHO: Small cancer risk after Fukushima accident

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  • -6

    Knox Harrington

    It's OK now. You can all return. Nothing to fear here.

  • 1

    ChibaChick

    So which is it? Small cancer risk, or no cancer risk like the report issued last week?

    Im more inclined to believe the WHO - Im assuming they cant be bought off by the government?

    I dont understand why Kanno san thinks this report is stoking fear. It is full of buts, caveats, and reassurances.

    I am shocked that a J mans lifetime risk of contracting cancer of an organ alone is 41%! Thats before you add in the leukemias lymphomas and suchlike - pretty high, no?

  • -2

    tmarie

    70% higher chance for infant females of getting thyroid cancer and they're telling folks not to worry? It's only 1%? Um, what? Indeed thyroid cancer may be easier to treat and rare but 70% is huge. I hope this study is correct in that few cases will be linked but can't help but wonder. Only the future will tell.

    Chiba, like you, rather shocked at the cancer rates here. Guess all tat heavy smoking and drinking catches up with the men.

  • -1

    issa1

    We cannot compare fukushima to chernobyl. It is nonsense. The Chernobyl accident is clearly much more serious that of fukushima.

  • -4

    badmigraine

    The WHO report is a farce. The International Atomic Energy Agency has veto power over any WHO action at all involving nuclear power. Same old story--pure propaganda from the nuclear village.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/28/who-nuclear-power-chernobyl

  • 4

    badsey3

    http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/Documentlibrary/Safety-and-Security/factsheet/comparing-chernobyl-and-fukushima (fukushima vs chernobyl comparison)

    These nuclear particles embed themselves in tissues. =Long term there is a risk, but they only want to talk about the immediate energy that was radiated. -For that there really is no comparison.

  • 3

    SauloJpn

    Is WHO telling us it is ok to go back to normal life as if nothing happened? Good luck with that! I'm still staying away from the produce.

  • -5

    Heda_Madness

    We cannot compare fukushima to chernobyl. It is nonsense. The Chernobyl accident is clearly much more serious that of fukushima.

    100% correct. Yet at the time of writing the 'experts' of Japan Today rate this at -3.

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    “This will fuel fears in Japan that could be more dangerous than the physical effects of radiation,”

    Ah, so it would be better just to ignore things and err on the side of carelessness.

  • 3

    Onniyama

    The WHO and Wade Allison are the pro-nuke version of the anti-nuke Chris Busby and Helen Caldicott. Way too far to one extreme. badmigraine. You are correct. WHO stats on nuclear issues cannot be trusted as they are controlled by the IAEA which exists solely to promote the proliferation of nuclear energy.

  • -7

    Heda_Madness

    WHO, IAEA, Nature, Forbes, UNSCEAR - all saying one thing.

    But the experts on Japan Today know better and won't be fooled. Oh no.

  • 0

    buggerlugs

    How much did that verdict cost tepco&gov I wonder.

  • 0

    buggerlugs

    No. Fukushima is not as bad as chynobel, it's much worse because its still continuing in a way chynobel didn't.

  • -9

    Heda_Madness

    No. Fukushima is not as bad as chynobel, it's much worse because its still continuing in a way chynobel didn't.

    Or you could try and educate yourself and read up on Chernobyl instead of spouting complete and utter rubbish.

  • 3

    humanrights

    @onniyama Did Japan even do a an accurate and informative Independent report of their own?? NO. Did they do a sensible independent report from another 'International Org' NO. So how can you dismiss any reports that come in? WHO is one of the best Org when it comes to investigations and an International recognized source of accurate info and unbiased assessment of facts. Is it really sensible to say; its going to cause fear' So lets just ignore the truth or bother to even search?? This is ludicrous to live in a society that continues to deny accurate info and truth even when a lot of people demand it. Any percentage of 'deaths' is unacceptable and 'Deaths' as a result WILL occur. What makes Japans Nuclear Disaster SO different to 'Chernobyl' for example?? It is most likely equal if not worse and authorities know it.

  • 0

    humanrights

    Kanno should eat fish from there and go swimming with his family in the ocean and also help clean up the farms. Then he can come back and make a comment worthy of putting on 'National TV'. Then he can also explain to the families of those who die of Cancer and thyroid sickness, still births, abortion increases due to deformities and 'Sudden Heart failure syndromes' which can be a result of Radiation exposure. Ignorance and denial is the biggest disease yet.

  • -2

    nigelboy

    Ah, so it would be better just to ignore things and err on the side of carelessness.

    Straw man.

    Any percentage of 'deaths' is unacceptable and 'Deaths' as a result WILL occur.

    Exaggeration.

    Typical tactics used by the Anti- nuke crowd soon to be going on two years.

  • -1

    Onniyama

    humanrights ??? You say I should believe the WHO but at the end of your statement you say Fukushima may be equal to or worse than Chernobyl. If I believe the WHO, I am to assume very few will be affected. You seem to be contradicting yourself.

  • -1

    Dennis Bauer

    When the cases starting picking up in the future after eating the "safe" rice and fish, i wonder what they say next.

  • 1

    Aristoman

    So there is officially risk.

  • 0

    buggerlugs

    I did read up;) maybe you should instead of dpouting NHK rhetoric. I'm pretty sure Japan dropped to 55th position in press freedom didn't it. The reasons Fukushima is worse are 1) no accurate data was released 2) the gov&tepco tried to cover up and shift blame 3) it's still on going, releasing radiation into the oceans,ground water and probably air (although that's not significant) 4) they used a tent to cover the reactors not entombing it like they should have. Food and water are all irradiated and without proper studies no one knows what will happen. They're finding cases of thyroid cancer among kids already up there but I never see it reported in the news...hmmm if its not true then why doesn't the gov prove it? I'm bored with listening to idiots. Wake up sheeple. It's bad and it's gonna stay bad a long time.

  • 0

    rickyvee

    am i the only one confused by this report. the WHO says there is a small (almost insignificant) risk of getting cancer as a result of 3.11 but ms. thomsas and mr. kanno are saying that thisis irresponsible reporting that could stoke fear among residents? if i were a resident, i would be high-fiving if i heard this news. woohooo!

  • -9

    basroil

    nigelboyMar. 01, 2013 - 09:28AM JST

    Ah, so it would be better just to ignore things and err on the side of carelessness.

    Straw man.

    @smithinjapan, LOL, owned

  • 2

    John Hartshorn

    In order to fully understand these numbers it's useful to compare nuclear with other power sources in terms of safety. http://armannd.com/deaths-per-terawatt-hour-by-energy-source-spoiler-coal-kills-the-most-people.html/

    If you don't believe the numbers in this table you can search any reputable source and find similar data. Nuclear is safer than any other major power producer when you look at all the history, and the newer designs being rolled out now are another order of magnitude safer. You don't even need to discuss likely deaths from climate change resulting from fossil fuel emissions to see that nuclear, even factoring in the two major accidents, is the safest power source.

  • 1

    No Miso

    @tmarie Are you sure you are reading your own post? The article, and you, say the risk is 70% higher, not that the chances are 70%. So 0.75%x70% higher. That's pretty small, and as the article states, hard to detect amongst the regular chances of catching cancers. Please don't read that as any kind of justification for the accident, this should NEVER have happened.

    .

    I was watching this on NHK this morning, and the 'caster commented that the report findings relates only to within the 20km exclusion zone, health effects outside that would be even closer to zero.

  • 1

    2020hindsights

    “On the basis of the radiation doses people have received, there is no reason to think there would be an increase in cancer in the next 50 years,” said Wade Allison, an emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University, who also had no role in developing the new report. “The very small increase in cancers means that it’s even less than the risk of crossing the road,” he said.

    buggerlugs

    They're finding cases of thyroid cancer among kids already up there but I never see it reported in the news...hmmm if its not true then why doesn't the gov prove it? I'm bored with listening to idiots. Wake up sheeple. It's bad and it's gonna stay bad a long time.

    Hmmm. Who to believe? The emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University or buggerlugs a Japan Today expert.

  • -2

    Disillusioned

    cancer risk so small it probably won’t be detectable.

    Note the word 'probably'! What happens when people do start to get cancer from the fallout? Will it be blamed on other environmental factors? An act of god maybe?

  • 0

    dontbelievethehype

    Which countries fund the WHO and the IAEA?

  • -2

    basroil

    In fact, experts calculated that increase at about 1 extra percentage point added to a Japanese infant’s lifetime cancer risk.

    The report says no such thing. It says that the highest expected excess radiation over a lifetime is 50mSv, which under linear no-threshold would be about 0.5% increased chance. However, that averages less than 1mSv extra per year, and WHO does not make recommendations or predictions with radiation levels that low.

  • 3

    cabadaje

    @ChibaChick

    I am shocked that a J mans lifetime risk of contracting cancer of an organ alone is 41%! Thats before you add in the leukemias lymphomas and suchlike - pretty high, no?

    It surprises many people. The simple fact of the matter is that the chances of cancer are 100% the longer you live. In other words, you will get cancer sooner or later. Some people get cancer and survive. Some people die before getting it. Some manage to beat the odds altogether. But cancer, by itself, is all but unavoidable. Cancer caused by modern day external factors is a relatively new thing.

    The key here isn't so much that the radioactive debris will not cause cancers, but rather that if it does, it will be extremely difficult to tell it apart from all the other causes of cancer. In other words, it is unlikely that the actual increase in the rate of cancers will be statistically significant (not much of a relief for the people actually suffering from cancer, but we aren't talking about individuals here).

    As far as insinuating that the WHO is in the pockets of the Japanese energy corp...that's the step that goes from possibly justified concern to outright paranoia. Let's not forget that there hasn't actually been any evidence presented that any of the national reports on radiation have actually been tampered with, nor has anyone shown that any of the publicly viewable radiation meters which report real-time radiation levels are not functioning properly.

  • 0

    No Miso

    @cabadaje

    Don't forget that at 80yrs for a man, and 87yrs for a woman, the Japanese live longer than most others on the planet, raising the chances of contracting cancer because of the length of time, the length of exposure to potential carcinogens, and the fact that the body gets weaker as we grow older. 41% and 29% suddenly doesn't look all that bad, although I pray that I never have to suffer.

  • -2

    Onniyama

    Non-cancerous health effects far outnumber the cancerous ones. See the following; http://www.ratical.org/radiation/Chernobyl/HEofC25yrsAC.html

  • 0

    cabadaje

    Agreed. We lost a good family friend to skin cancer, one of the most survivable of skin cancers, when he was just in his forties. My family on my father's side, unfortunately, also has previous history, so I (now that I am in my forties) am getting a little paranoid every time I spot some new age spot on my skin.

    Yeah, the risk of my getting cancer is decently low, but that doesn't mean you get careless about it. The trick is not to panic at just hearing the mere mention of it, which is something some of the JT community could stand to bear in mind.

  • -3

    buggerlugs

    the bbc report on the issue. Do I trust NHK or bbc? Let me think. Potential increases. 6% increase in breast cancer of girls. 7% increase of luekimia in kids. 70% increase in thyroid cancer. Just to point to a few. Nasty stuff. Bad reading. Only time will tell if the numbers are right.

  • -1

    Heda_Madness

    Buggerlugs

    You're misquoting. Read the article again.

    For girls exposed to radiation from the accident as infants, the report found a 4% increase above the lifetime expected risk of solid tumours and a 6% increase above that expected for breast cancer.

    Boys exposed as infants are expected to have a 7% increased risk of leukaemia above that expected in the normal population.

    That is very different to an increase of 7% across the board. It's an increase of 7% over what would be expected.

  • 0

    2020hindsights

    Non-cancerous health effects far outnumber the cancerous ones. See the following; http://www.ratical.org/radiation/Chernobyl/HEofC25yrsAC.html

    Hmmm. And that report is compiled by a biased anti-nuke group.

    Potential increases. 6% increase in breast cancer of girls. 7% increase of luekimia in kids. 70% increase in thyroid cancer.

    70% higher chance for infant females of getting thyroid cancer and they're telling folks not to worry?

    Yes. Read the article and do the math. It's minor

  • 0

    dontbelievethehype

    Cabadaje unfortunately, or fortunately there will be a way to track cancer and mortality rates in Fukushima and Japan, proving causality in a court room for compensation is a different matter which is what the the Japanese government is really concerned about. The already spiking incidence of thyroid abnormalities in Fukushima in Children (especially females) is alarming to anyone who knows about Thyroid medicine or research. Sure someone will post some old research about how COMMON it is for kids to have abnormalities or its 'stress induced', but the facts speak for themselves. We are already seeing the effects of this and its coming on earlier than Chernobyl.

    And Cabadaje, are you really saying that there hasn't been any reports of manipulation of data, falsifying records, shielding of dosimeters, decontamination of monitoring posts in the national news? Just because TEPCO is using outsourced third party employment agencies doesn't mean its not happening, it just means they can shift the blame. Do you know anything about the history of TEPCO and the number of times the government of Japan has investigated them, and what the findings were? They have a deeply ingrained history of coverups and controversies, its all there online for you to find yourself. To their credit they are being surprisingly open about engineering efforts, which are monumental but their credibility is frankly, MUD.

    Have any of you actually read the WHO report? Its on their website, 98 pages and I just finished it. Not a peep about plutonium in there.

  • 0

    Himajin

    I am shocked that a J mans lifetime risk of contracting cancer of an organ alone is 41%! Thats before you add in the leukemias lymphomas and suchlike - pretty high, no?

    For American males, the average is 44.81%, for females 38.71%. As for the Japanese figures, blood cancers would potentially add 2.4% to the total for males, and 1.93% for females.

    Cancer rates by nation--

    http://www.wcrf.org/cancerstatistics/cancerfrequency.php

  • 0

    telecasterplayer

    The WHO can't do anything regarding health issues linked to nuclear power with permission from the International Atomic Energy Agency which exists to promote nuclear power. Plus, Fukushima health officials said that 44% of the kids tested with ultrasound already had thyroid anomalies. So, NO I don't trust the WHO's report and belive the true number of victims is being undercounted.

  • -3

    Ron Barnes

    ****My comment is, Only time will tell some people are more suseptable than others to start with. Any long term radiation exposure must have a detrementual affect on ones health. As atomic energy was designed wholy to kill.in 2 ways as Japan already knows.,Have a staticaly look at Chenoble ,so lets get these thinkers into a room expose them to the same levels as the workers were exposed too.and see what happens then..

  • -1

    basroil

    telecasterplayerMar. 01, 2013 - 02:36PM JST

    Plus, Fukushima health officials said that 44% of the kids tested with ultrasound already had thyroid anomalies.

    The studies showed that children had no higher incidence of thyroid nodules than their peers, and actually many times less than chernobyl case

  • -3

    Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    Drink the milk.. see what happens to your kids..

  • -1

    escape_artist

    How can anything the WHO says related to nuclear or radiation effects be trustworthy considering the agreement they signed in 1959 with the IAEA that essentially gives the IAEA veto power over any research WHO does into the effects of radiation?

    http://www.llrc.org/health/subtopic/iaeawhoagreement.htm

    http://www.crms-jpn.com/doc/IAEA-WHO1959.pdf

    It's in the IAEA's charter to support and promote the use of nuclear power (in their Statute (http://www.iaea.org/About/statute.html), ARTICLE II: Objectives... "to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world"), so their 1959 agreement with the WHO sounds like a huge conflict of interest. I would much rather rely on independent sources of info and data, if these can be found.

  • 0

    No Miso

    @escape artist

    It is terrifying that you would rather believe a text dump on a website who's claim on its home page is "We demand a re-evaluation of the risks of radioactive pollution". You try to infer that WHO is biased, then reference material that is clearly biased. And OF COURSE the IAEA's purpose is to promote nuclear power, but it also says this:

    To establish or adopt, in consultation and, where appropriate, in collaboration with the competent organs of the United Nations and with the specialized agencies concerned, standards of safety for protection of health and minimization of danger to life and property (including such standards for labour conditions)

    Try not to live a life of fear - life is way to short.

  • 0

    No Miso

    @Kimokekahuna Hawaii

    Drink the milk.. see what happens to your kids..

    I drank the milk - nothing happened to my kids!

  • 0

    kurisupisu

    The spread of nuclear contamination is still ongoing-it is premature to downplay any risk as all the facts are not known yet.....

  • 1

    No Miso

    The spread of nuclear contamination is still ongoing-it is premature to downplay any risk as all the facts are not known yet.....

    The facts are pretty well known, but people don't understand them and fear is ingrained due to the Cold War efforts of governments. Just for reference, the spread of carbon contaminants, especially from China is a very real threat to people living and working in major metropolis' in china, and now also in Western Japan.

  • 2

    No Miso

    ***Humble apologies

    especially from China is a very real threat to people living and working in major metropolis' in china, and now also in Western Japan.

    China should have a capital "C" - no bad intent meant.

  • -2

    Magnet

    I want to believe this report... I really do. I just can't tell WHO's being paid off these days. (<--- see what I did there?)

  • -1

    escape_artist

    @No Miso, instead of focusing solely on one website, try researching and you'll see the facts as they are, stated in the following two sites I listed. It's not living a life of fear as you condescendingly imply, but rather just an objective look at what's likely to be believable and what's not. We've still basically got the fox in charge of the henhouse here, including in the additional snippet from the IAEA Statute you provide. Do you actually feel safe with that situation in control?

    And why the fixation on deaths by those like yourself eager to keep on supporting nuclear power? Radiation has far subtler and more long-term effects too, like the damage to the overall environment. We humans are just one small part of that, yet depend on it for everything we know and have. We're all being bamboozled by pro-nuclear folks into believing that we have to have nuclear, or else. THAT sounds like living a life of (institutionalized) fear, wouldn't you say?

  • -1

    escape_artist

    And @No Miso, what actually is the problem with re-evaluating the risks of radioactive pollution? That sounds pretty sensible to me, no? If that's "bias" as you say, then yeah, I guess I'm biased. Toward more sustainable life and health.

  • -1

    bass4funk

    Fukushima is not as bad as chynobel, it's much worse because its still continuing in a way chynobel didn't.

    What's sad about this is, that there are people in Japan that will believe what the J-govt. says, no matter what! After such a Nuclear fallout, of course 2 years later, everything should be back to normal and everything is absolutely safe, untainted and nothing to worry about. Who in their right sensible mind believes that?

  • 2

    No Miso

    @e.a

    And why the fixation on deaths by those like yourself eager to keep on supporting nuclear power? Radiation has far subtler and more long-term effects too, like the damage to the overall environment.

    Treated with respect, nuclear energy could solve a lot of the worlds energy problems, and be less damaging than the fossil fuels we -think- are OK to burn on a daily basis. Renewable's will help, but they won't fill the insane hunger we have for energy. Not sure what the fixation you refer to is, but rest assured, I truly believe we should all be aiming for 0 deaths. Coal and oil is not the way there imho.

    what actually is the problem with re-evaluating the risks of radioactive pollution?

    Absolutely nothing, but ignoring the results after each evaluation and returning to the original misguided conclusion is not a good idea. The website you introduced is not just amateur, it borders on fanatic. You mention multiple sources, but you only seem to feel anti nuclear ones are right, so yes, I would consider that bias, and backed up by the other website you chose to offer, I'd also label it as fear. As I've mentioned before, I still feel people don't truly want to have open discussions about radiation purely because they believe that even the slightest amount is bad for them. I know I'm fighting a losing battle!

  • 0

    jamestoday

    When Fukushima power plants explored, Japanese government did not issue proper alert for evacuation. I still remember American embassy and foreign media repeated the risk of nuclear contamination. Who should be responsible for this ? If same things had happened in the US, thousands of residents would have sued a government.

  • -2

    Cricky

    Yep any country in the world would be proud as punch to have such figures...well maybe just Japan! It's ok to down play a N disaster, oops sorry ongoing N disaster. Let's keep calm.

  • 1

    888naff

    NOTHING NEW The experts have been saying this would be the outcome from the beginning two years ago.

    ...probably was missed by some, maybe the didn't bother to pay attention as it wasn't bad enough news I suppose or didn't fit there own non expert scare mongering view.

  • -3

    cabadaje

    @dontbelievethehype

    Cabadaje unfortunately, or fortunately there will be a way to track cancer and mortality rates in Fukushima and Japan,

    Why would that be unfortunate? Seems like a pretty good thing to me.

    ...proving causality in a court room for compensation is a different matter which is what the the Japanese government is really concerned about.

    You are, of course, welcome to your own opinion. As long as you don't confuse it with fact.

    The already spiking incidence of thyroid abnormalities in Fukushima in Children (especially females) is alarming to anyone who knows about Thyroid medicine or research.

    Another one of those opinions that are not actually facts. Unless, of course, you are referring to "knows enough to be dangerous", as opposed to actual experts. The former do tend to get alarmed a bit more easily than the latter.

    Sure someone will post some old research about how COMMON it is for kids to have abnormalities or its 'stress induced', but the facts speak for themselves.

    Well...I am actually having a bit of trouble finding these "facts".

    I spent the last half-hour backtracking from website to website, all talking about the cancer and the thyroid, and the nukes,m and the 44%, but as far as I could tell, all these articles...reference each other.

    I would really like to find the original report, because I really want to see what the base comparison is. Anyone who knows about numbers knows that a simple "44% increase" means diddly in terms of actual information.

    I would like to see the facts. Not anyone's interpretation of the facts, but the facts themselves. And I just haven't been able to find the original source.

    Do you know where it is? Or are these websites just continuously feeding off of each other (could be both, I suppose).

    We are already seeing the effects of this and its coming on earlier than Chernobyl.

    But you aren't actually supporting this opinion with anything, are you? You are just kind of stating it as if it was a foregone conclusion.

    And Cabadaje, are you really saying that there hasn't been any reports of manipulation of data, falsifying records, shielding of dosimeters, decontamination of monitoring posts in the national news?

    No, I am not.

    Feel free to re-read what I did actually write.

    Have any of you actually read the WHO report?

    Slowly (very slowly) working my way through it. I'm impressed that you were able to read it in such a short amount of time. That's a lot of data to go through.

    However, for the limited points that are being argued here, I think this segment from Scientific American sums it up well:

    The report, drafted by a panel of international experts in radiation risks and public health, concluded that there was no additional cancer risk for the population in most of Japan — even most parts of Fukushima Prefecture — or in neighboring countries. But the risks were slightly increased in hotspots such as Iitate village and Namie town, which were contaminated by plumes of fallout to the northwest of the plant.

    In such hotspots the WHO panel estimated that the fallout has increased the risks of most cancers in children by only a few percent — though for thyroid cancer in young girls the increased risk was put at 70%. These figures are relative risks, however, and the absolute risks are less alarming. For thyroid cancer the baseline lifetime rate in women is 0.75%, so the risk in hotspots would be increased by 0.50%.

    "Given the projected very low frequency, 3.2 per 10,000, of radiation-associated thyroid cancer among young people, it is unlikely that any excess would be detectable by the usual epidemiologic approaches," says Roy Shore, head of research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, and a co-author of the WHO report. Most emergency workers were estimated to have minimal increased risks but around one-third had a small but significant increase in cancer risks.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=prevailing-winds-protectected-most-residents-from-fukushima-fallout

    The article also mentions a few ways in which the situation could have been much, much worse. It isn't that long, and definitely worth a read.

    There seems to be a general idea that any organization can publish whatever the heck it wants and get away with it. This wasn't even completely true back in days when you had to wait for the quarterly publications to find out the latest claims. Today, with the almost instant availability of information, it is much, much, harder. Experts who live, breath, and work these sorts of topics on a daily basis, who's careers depend both on staying up to date, and could even be advanced through the discovery of a mistake in someone else's work, have a vested interest in both the accuracy and the credibility of reports such as these. You can read in the previous comments here how the only objection people can actually make to the WHO report is to claim that the WHO may be unbias. The data itself has not been looked at, whether actual experts agree or disagree has not been looked at, really, if you take a step back and see this as a behaviour, you find that this latest round of objections is really nothing more than the standard sort of mild fear/panic/denial mish-mash of emotions people get when they are insecure about a given situation. It gets to the point that people almost embrace the fearful lie they told themselves previously simply because they invested so much emotional strength into it.

    But there are facts available, and not opinions, and not interpretations, but actual facts which represent the reality of the situation. And reality, as the saying goes, is that thing that, when you refuse to see it, doesn't go away.

    The facts are that WHO is an entirely credible investigator of world health concerns.

    The facts are that the extreme scenarios that people envisioned are simply not going to come to pass.

    The facts are that the issues that may, and in some case probably will, come to pass, are not going to be all that different from the way reality normally goes about it's business.

    And that's because reality doesn't really care what we think it should be. If the danger is minimal, then it is minimal, and no amount of commenting will change that. Same for the other extreme. At the end of the day, what matters is the data. Not the claims. Not the interpretations. Just the data.

  • -3

    warnerbro

    The coal danger is a straw man. Japan has primarily turned to natural gas to replace the obviously unnecessary nuclear plants. If coal plants use the best available emissions technology, they would be less harmful than nuclear, but there is no need to use them at all because gas is plentiful, cheap, and much cleaner. Where are the power shortages that reputable sources warned us about, by the way? We were promised a horrid summer and a dreadful winter. Alas, reputable sources, where have these seasons of shortage gone?

    "The studies showed that children had no higher incidence of thyroid nodules than their peers, and actually many times less than Chernobyl case"

    I would not argue that the risk is less than Chernobyl, but that is hardly something about which a supposed democracy, a supposed world leader in technology should be proud or satisfied. Actually the only available data show that the incidence of thyroid nodules is much higher in Fukushima children, but apparently prior studies examined only larger nodules. The Japanese government even as we write is trying to create data which show that Fukushima children have normal thyroids but those data have yet to be revealed.

  • 2

    ReformedBasher

    First and foremost, I hope the risk is small.

    Because, unlike some of the posters above, I'd prefer lots of people don't get sick to prove an argument.

    When you are wishing things like that, it's really a good time to step back and ask yourself what you have become.

  • 1

    Heda_Madness

    Gas is much cleaner...

    At the risk.of being accused of being impolite to a user may I suggest that you actually look at the figures because quite frsnkly its embarassing. Lots of info out there. All of it says tbat you are extraordinarily incorrect

  • 0

    mike23thurgood

    This post needs a little more explanation: "These nuclear particles embed themselves in tissues. Long term there is a risk, but they only want to talk about the immediate energy that was radiated. For that there really is no comparison".

    Please note that my comments are made not yet having read the WHO report. But the generalities are absolutely relevant.

    Solid nuclear particulates which are breathed in or ingested are not necessarily insoluble in body fluids. If they are insoluble, then they are likely to remain where they became embedded in the tissue, and the harm they could cause would be related to how much radioactivity is present, and its half life.

    Soluble particles will be rapidly dispersed within body fluids without concentrating anywhere - except in the bladder - and except for specific radionuclides of elements which are normally incorporated in body biochemicals (tissues, body organs, bone, etc), the radioactivity will be rapidly excreted.

    In the case or radioiodine, most commonly I-131 from nuclear reactors, this is freely soluble in body fluids, but it is preferentially absorbed by the thyroid because iodine is relatively rare in nature, and the body needs every bit it can get a hold of to form thyroxine, the hormone produced in the thyroid. Thus the reason for having potassium iodate tablets available around nuclear power station sites in inhabited areas is to literally flood the body with iodine at the crucial time when I-131 is being released and may be inhaled, which now inhibits it from entering into the thyroxine which s being continually produced.

    I-131, and natural iodine isotopes, present in excess in body fluids, are rapidly excreted, although i don't have to hand the biological half life.

    My final point is that iodine-131, just like its natural non-radioactive isotopes, is freely soluble in body fluids and, in particular, I-131 has a half life of about 8 days. So, after about ten half lives it will all have disappeared in any case - about 80 days. In any nuclear reactor from which the core contents have been released into the atmosphere, no further I-131 is produced because the nuclear core is no longer critical. So all traces of I-131m following an accident, disappear totally after around 80 days. And !-131 decays into xenon-131, which is a non-radioactive naturally occurring Nobel gas, which is present in the atmosphere in very small amounts.

  • 2

    LFRAgain

    Heda_Madness,

    "WHO, IAEA, Nature, Forbes, UNSCEAR - all saying one thing. But the experts on Japan Today know better and won't be fooled. Oh no."

    Wonderful how a much needed dose of truth garners 6 "bad" clicks. Yes, the answers to all the problems in the world lie in the hands of the well-informed brain trust of Japan Today. Because if it isn't from one of the folks here, then it's got to be a lie/trick/conspiracy.

    Sigh...

  • 2

    Heda_Madness

    But you know, the same people who.click bad are the same ones asking for an independent review.

    Which begs the question...

  • -3

    kurisupisu

    So if all facts are known please link to the data that pertains to the whereabouts of the reactor fuel. And if the risks are so miniscule ....Where are the pictures of the fuel? Why are there holes in the reactor roofs? What caused them? Why aren't the damaged reactors contained? Why are there hundreds of thousands of becquerels of radioactivity in Japan's pollen this year? Where are the Fukushima Fifty? Why are the figures for the radiation that was released several days after 3/11 in a state of perpetual reassessment?

    Ad infinitum......

  • 0

    BernieK

    Some experts said it was surprising that any increase in cancer was even predicted.

    I remember reading about Radiation Causes Cancer but Rarely in a 2005 article in the New York Times. It says, ``The health risks -- particularly the development of solid cancers in organs --rise proportionally with exposure.'' Also it also says, `But ... prudence should be the guideline and exposure to any unnecessary radiation should be avoided and what is unnecessary is up to an individual.''

  • 1

    No Miso

    @kurisupisu

    Ad infinitum......

    You have the option to stop! The WHO report clearly states that the health risks are within the 20km exclusion zone. I think it is clear that if you don't know the answers to your questions then you might not be listening, or you don't like what you hear. It is time to look forward and live with what we have, and that is sad for the people who lived in the 20km zone, but I suspect you aren't one of them.

  • -1

    badsey3

    My final point is that iodine-131, just like its natural non-radioactive isotopes, is freely soluble in body fluids and, in particular, I-131 has a** half life of about 8 days**.

    That is exactly why radioactive iodine is so dangerous. =With that really short half-life you are getting massive amounts of radiation (radioactive iodine in thyroid) in a short time. Everyone around these nuclear facilities should have had potassium iodide on hand given out by Tepco (usually a 10 mile radius).

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/amid-japan-crisis-the-hunt-for-better-radiation-treatment-speeds-up (I said this in 2011)

  • 0

    badsey3

    http://www.markpurdey.com/articles_bequerels_on_the_brain_page3.htm (read the whole story if you can -radioactive Colorado deer to Guam radiation)

    The Biochemistry of Neuro-degeneration. (Guam)

    My environmental analysis confirmed the findings of other teams that the traditional food chain of the Chamorro folk is markedly deficient in magnesium (9). This problem was further exacerbated by the customary practise of adding large amounts of salt to their meals - since sodium disrupts the uptake of magnesium across the gut wall(10). Once magnesium is deficient in the bio system, then these rogue radioactive metals such as strontium 90 or barium are able to substitute at the vacant magnesium sites on enzymes.(since these metals possess a similar atomic arrangement to magnesium/calcium (8)) thereby disrupting the healthy function of these enzymes. The free radicals generated by the rogue replacement radio-nuclides could cause mutations. In this respect, it is interesting that these neuro-degerative diseases stem from specific mutations in the enzymes that mediate the metabolism of cholesterol/lipids (12) the guanosine triphosphate cell signalling (13) – enzyme systems that are magnesium regulated in the healthy mammal (8).

    Irrespective of the levels of magnesium in the tissues, exposure to strontium or barium atoms will also lead to a loss of free sulphate in the bio-system (15)(16). For the reactive forms of these metals are well recognised to couple up with sulphur, thereby starving the nervous system of one of its most crucial structural caretakers - the sulphated glyco-aminoglycan (GAG) heparin molecules (8). Once deprived of their sulphur co partners, GAGs will cease to perform their function in the growth and maintenance of the complex infrastructure of neuronal networking(17). Neuro-degenerative wasting ensues.

    Interestingly, loss of GAG activity has been shown to be responsible for the cornerstone mechanisms underpinning the cause of neuro-degenerative wasting conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, BSE, etc. Whilst individual genetics determines which particular type of neuro-degenerative disease will emerge at the end of the day, it is the environmental exposure to these sulphur-capturing pollutants, such as barium, strontium, etc, that represents the common causal component shared by all of these diseases.

    Just like in the thyroid with iodine, metals bind in the body but in this case with the half-life being longer it becomes a longer-term issue and obviously good heath (magnesium in this case) helps. =These nuclear particles are an issue especially with young children that have higher cell division.

  • -1

    kurisupisu

    @No Miso

    And I think that you have the option to investigate and educate yourself to a higher level. Why rely on a single WHO report to argue your point? It is totally ridiculous to imagine that radiation stops at a 20km distance from source!

    Here's an example of solid research that shoots your misconceptions out of the sky

    The effects of radiation on insects done by researcher Prof Akimoto of Hokkaido University?

    32kms from the plant a 10% deformity rate was found in aphids.

    Go and check it out.....

  • 0

    escape_artist

    Regardless of what the data from this WHO report show, it's exactly the result to be expected by an organization that has made such a subservient pro-nuclear agreement with the IAEA. Data alone cannot change human behavior to obfuscate, lie, and corrupt when there's power and money to be had. To all the apologists for nuclear power, let's hope you never have to be anywhere near when a nuclear accident occurs, because there will surely be more, or the growing piles of nuclear waste with nowhere to go, a despicable and humongous problem selfishly being left for future generations.

    The only reason nuclear power keeps getting shoved down everyone's throats, and its inherent dangers continually masked by propaganda of how "clean", "safe", and "inexpensive" it is -- none of which has ever been true -- is that it can be controlled at a high level and it makes oodles of money for those in control.

    Nuclear power has always been, and will always be -- regardless of the specific technology used -- the wrong technology in Japan for boiling water to make electricity. There are just too many earthquakes and the threat of tsunami to ever make Japan viable for nuclear power or nuclear waste storage, neither of which humans continually prove cannot be safely handled or its problems resolved. Those who conspired and continue conspiring to bring such a deadly technology to Japan -- be they in Japan, the US, France, or elsewhere -- never truly have had the good of Japan or her people at heart, only their own pocketbooks and oversized egos.

    Nuclear power might be viable elsewhere without earthquakes, that is if its true believers can ever come up with a safe way of storing its waste for tens of thousands of years or more, but in Japan it's just plain suicide. The nuclear technophiles among us need to look beyond their noses and try to take a long-range view. Scale down, develop & use energy sources that work better locally, and make things livable again. That's the best way forward.

  • 2

    No Miso

    @kurisupisu

    Have checked out ad infinitum, and hence the WHO report is not the final review for me, but concludes a series of reviews that you either haven't seen or just refuse to believe. It isn't down to me to convince you, I live and work in Japan, and I don't feel at risk. If I'm wrong, I will only have myself to blame. I'm comfortable with that.

  • -1

    habibu

    any way its atomic plant start again with open news. what we are leave for next generation . use less money that's great ? too much sham and .....

  • 4

    Heda_Madness

    The coal danger is a straw man. Japan has primarily turned to natural gas to replace the obviously unnecessary nuclear plants. If coal plants use the best available emissions technology, they would be less harmful than nuclear, but there is no need to use them at all because gas is plentiful, cheap, and much cleaner.

    Mortality Rate (deaths/trillionkWhr)

    Gas = 4000

    Nuclear = 90

    Source. Forbes.

  • 1

    mike23thurgood

    Moderator - repeat in case it didn't go through the first time

    Three points I would like to comment on. First, badsey3 says: "That is exactly why radioactive iodine is so dangerous. With that really short half-life you are getting massive amounts of radiation (radioactive iodine in thyroid) in a short time. Every-one around these nuclear facilities should have had potassium iodide on hand given out by Tepco (usually a 10 mile radius)". True, but if the intake of I-131 can be limited, then the dose to the thyroid can also be very effectively limited, and the residual I-131 dose becomes a whole body dose. With a good dose of (stable) potassium iodate (note that its iodide tends to decompose and has the taste of free iodine, which has been found to be aesthetically unacceptable) the dose to the thyroid can be nearly 100% avoided, except from surrounding I-131 atoms in the body fluids. But by badsey3's own argument, after 80 days following an accident with radioactive releases, there will be no more radioiodine around, ever, to affect the thyroid. But that doesn't clear the presence of longer lived radioactivity in whatever air-borne particulates have been released into the environment, the most common one being caesium-137. My second comment is to escape_artist who writes "let's hope you never have to be anywhere near when a nuclear accident occurs, because there will surely be more, or the growing piles of nuclear waste with nowhere to go, a despicable and humongous problem selfishly being left for future generations". The idea that the nuclear industry doesn't know how to deal with, and dispose of, its used nuclear fuel and other high activity radioactive wastes is quite incorrect. They have known how to deal with it for decades. And it's also still in the melting pot whether to process spent nuclear fuel to use the residual fissionable nuclides in fast breeder reactors, of course. That would certainly get rid of what causes so much concern - Pu-239, the stuff of nuclear bombs. But no one is as yet enthusiastic to start a national FBR nuclear programme, in whatever country. No, the problem lies with all you people out there, the public, who, whenever a possible disposal site is mentioned, shout out loudly over the rooftops, NIMBY!!! NOT IN MY B----Y BACKYARD! (Or whatever the Japanese equivalent is!) Just look at the ludicrous situation in Britain at the moment - but I'm not using this forum to discuss their problem! My third point is about this one from bass4funk "What's sad about this is that there are people in Japan that will believe what the J-govt. says, no matter what! After such a nuclear fallout, of course 2 years later, everything should be back to normal and everything is absolutely safe, untainted and nothing to worry about. Who in their right sensible mind believes that?" Now, I have been reading the daily online issues of JAPANTODAY since March, 2011, but unless I have missed something vital, I haven't really got this message. Unless some govt official has made comments who is quite unfamiliar with the subject of environmental radioactive contamination from reactor releases, such as occurred from three of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactors. I haven't read anything like it. As far as I am aware, no plutonium was released - it requires higher temperatures to vapourise than actually occurred. But just right for the release of Cs-137, and a few other radionuclides which would have been deposited on the ground (down-wind, please! - ie to the NW). Although they obviously radioactively decay, you don't rely on that characteristic for a radionuclide to disappear when its half life is around 32 years. You literally have to rely on the radioactivity travelling ever further into the ground with rain, and/or getting washed out into rivers and then to the sea. None of this is a short term process, hence the problem of large tracts of land which become unusable for a number of decades. And, of course, unfortunately that can include homes. In reports such as the current WHO report, there's invariably going to be great difficulties in trying to differentiate the natural occurrence of leukemia in children - which could be induced by natural earthbound low intensity radioactivity, and cosmic radiation, plus whatever possibilities there are in some organic compounds in foodstuffs - from what could be induced by the deposited radioactivity as at Fukushima prior to the evacuations. I can only thank the heavens that I never chose such a subject for my career in the nuclear industry!

  • 2

    badsey3

    Now, I have been reading the daily online issues of JAPANTODAY since March, 2011, but unless I have missed something vital, I haven't really got this message. Unless some govt official has made comments who is quite unfamiliar with the subject of environmental radioactive contamination from reactor releases, such as occurred from three of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi reactors. I haven't read anything like it. As far as I am aware, no plutonium was released - it requires higher temperatures to vapourise than actually occurred. But just right for the release of Cs-137, and a few other radionuclides which would have been deposited on the ground (down-wind, please! - ie to the NW). -

    The plutonium is an interesting issue and sensors around the World will easily pick it up (they did except for the ones Obama turned off for "servicing").

    http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120308/srep00304/full/srep00304.html (scientists say yes)

    http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11032812-e.html (Tepco says yes, but normal plutonium left from WWII blasts = that's how long this crap lasts+!!) =no plutonium in the damaged reactor water. (look thru the Tepco press releases)

    Nuclear rods (MOX containing plutonium) were stored on top of #3 Reactor when the hydrogen blast blew them up and out and most likely oxidized them.

  • 1

    Heda_Madness

    No. Fukushima is not as bad as chynobel, it's much worse because its still continuing in a way chynobel didn't

    I did read up;)

    *

    Fukushima, for all the attention, was ultimately small potatoes compared to the disaster at Chernobyl. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported that the Fukushima plant may have released about 900,000 terabecquerels of radiation into the air at the height of the disaster, while the 5.2 million terabecquerels of radiation were released during the Chernobyl accident, which also covered a much bigger territory. *

    From Time.

    Now I know that you're all going to jump on the fact that TEPCO reported... but if TEPCO was wrong. Why has no-one, not a single organisation said that they are or have been seeing figures greater than expected. It's all been modelled, it's all been calculated and the facts on the ground match what TEPCO has said. It's ludicrous to compare Chernobyl to Fukushima. That's as true now as it was in March 2011.

  • 1

    dontbelievethehype

    Heda_Madness:

    I'm wondering why it would be ludicrous to compare Chernobyl to Fukushima? Anyone working in this area is already comparing, and will continue to do so due to the dangers and technology needed to clean up the mess....

    Every single nuclear engineer that I know is doing comparisons, as are physicists, as are nuclear experts. I think anyone with rudimentary knowledge of this would agree, that Fukushima is incredibly more complicated due to the type of Fuel, the containment situation, and the volume of fuel we are dealing with and that Fukushima is not "small potatoes". 9/11 is the worst industrial accident ever, in modern history and I would argue that it will probably be the worst (hopefully) for a long long time.

    We need to compare because after 3 Mile island, there has not been a comparable event....

    Here are some very basic comparisons that any engineer will begin with.

    How many plants at Fukushima were permanently shut down and what is the state of those plants, as compared to Chrenobyl?

    What is the total weight of Fuel and what type of Fuel was in use or being stored when comparing Fukushima or Chernobyl?

    Where is the fuel now, and what state is it in when comparing Fukushima and Chernobyl?

    Is Chernobyl or any of the 6 plants still having containment problems?

    Which disaster is going to cost more to contain, and eventually clean up?

    How many engineers are going to be needed to clean up the disasters, and what personal radiation dosage will they be allowed to accumulate?

    We learned a lot about what can and does go wrong from the Russians, to discount that is naive.

    I would really like you to expand on the "Fukushima is small Potatoes compared to the disaster at Chernobyl" opinion, because I don't see any nuclear engineers agreeing with you, anywhere?

    One really good way of comparing the two disasters is to look at what type of radioactivity was released, this is something to mull over on a cold (according to Yahoo weather) Sunday in Japan http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120308/srep00304/full/srep00304.html

    Thanks :-)

  • 2

    Heda_Madness

    The small potatoes is a quote from Time magazine which highlights that the amount if radiation released from Fukushima is a fifth of what was rekeased by Chernobyl. The Chernobyl explosion wss substantially larger, higher and caused more radiatiin, over five times more, to be spread over a substantially wider area. The evacuation didn't take place until it was too late and milk and broad leaved vegetables were still sold and consumed by the public for weeks after the event.

    None of that happened at Fukushuma.

    And where are all of these nuclear engineers who disagree? I haven't heard from any of them for a year. What I have heard is UNSCEAR, WHO, IAEA and reports in Time, WSJ, Nature and countless other examples saying that it has been blown outof proprtion.

    IIt's not Chernobyl and never was.

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