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  1. Good article. Real challenge is how do you get the news out the masses en force to de-FUD them about nukes — and who stands to block such enlightenment from happening?

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  2. The best solution, I think, is the Linear Excess Dose (LED) model. In essence, the LNT would be used exactly as it is today except the effective dose would be determined by integrating all doses greater than a specified dose rate.

    Heck, even ALARA could still be used provided that trying to reduce below about half the specified dose rate would be considered unreasonable.

  3. I’m not sure KitemanSA what that would accomplish. It is neither a “mean” issue nor an average issue. We need to start with what we do know when the effects of radiation really start to show up and regulate from there. This is all about regulations and safety. The LNT has failed in this regard yet it is ONLY that which BEIR VII has pointed to about the “importance” of LNT…that is harms at very low doses is dismissed pretty clearly by them. BEIR VIII is being called for this year, I believe.

    We need to establish what that effective dose is (effective meaning it has an effect on the human body). No doubt weight and age would have some meaning here. But if we start with the 100 mSv and work up and down far more carefully than has been done in the past, perhaps some sort of actual lower limit could be established that is not washed away by the background radiation.

    There is active opposition to doing a complete total study of the effects of low dose radiation on the human body. One that could contribute to the questions Is it harmful? Is it helpful? We need to support efforts to look into this and do in a dispassionate way.

  4. Deaths from unnecessary evacuations and from rejection of CT scans?? The author forgot to mention the largest negative impact of all! That is, all the deaths and disease, as well as global warming emissions, that result from increased use of fossil fuels. That increase in fossil fuel emissions resulting from either outright rejection of nuclear (based on unjustified fears that result in part from LNT) or nuclear being priced out of the market by excessive regulations that are largely “justified” by the LNT assumption.

    1. While I agree with Jim Hopf’s point, I think it is important that the evacuation deaths are *real deaths* you could put *real names* to if you wanted to. That’s emotionally different than the (admittedly far greater) number of “anonymous” deaths that form some theoretical fraction of the millions who perish from respiratory problems every year.

      “Hideo Yukawa died because he was needlessly moved from his hospital room into a bus,” carries an impact lacking in “every year xxxxxx people die from breathing coal / oil / gas smoke.”

      1. >>> “Hideo Yukawa died because he was needlessly moved from his hospital room into a bus,” carries an impact lacking in “every year xxxxxx people die from breathing coal / oil / gas smoke.”

        Wouldn’t it be great if the New York Times & Washington Post accurately cited that in every nuclear story?

  5. “precautions” derived from the LNT model save lives ???
    The population evacuations at Fukushima has officially caused some 1600 deaths (despair, exhaustion, depression…) – more than the ~1500 deaths caused on the Fukushima prefecture by the earthquake and the tsunami.
    On the other hand, the radiation level outside the plant has never been above the ~1mSv/h level where “some” danger may appear.
    The death score is therefore : Radioprotection: 1600 / Radiation: 0.
    Who can pretend that a “precaution principle” has saved lives? Quite the contrary, it has been lethal. Fukushima is above all a gigantic radioprotection failure.

    1. I’m curious about the evacuation. I assume it was ordered before the full extent of the damage to Fukishima was assessed? With this in mind, could conditions at the plant, hypothetically, have becone serious enough that the evacuations would have actually saved lives?

        1. @poa

          I hope you don’t expect that every question posed here will be answered or that if answered, it would always happen within a short period of time over a weekend.

            1. @poa

              I didn’t intend for the question to go away. I intended to point out that lack of an immediate response doesn’t prove anything about the topic. As it happens, the discussion has stimulated me to begin a new post instead of wasting time producing valuable material that is buried deep inside a distracting comment thread.

          1. Honestly, Rod, my questions here are usually addressed, albiet often with malice from a couple of your participants here. But usually,you are quite tolerant of my skepticism and scientific ignorance. To be frank, it bothers me that the question has gone unanswered. It is an important question, as the answer can buttress, or repudiate, a premise that is often waged here in NE’s defense, and in trying to deny the potential for a dangerous and deadly nuclear accident involving a nuclear power plant.

            Surely the effort you expended in telling me why you weren’t answering could have been expended in simply answering. Its called a “dodge”, Rod. And it seems out of character for you. Which makes me think the question is more difficult for you to address than I originally imagined.

            1. @poa

              Quick answer – no, there was never any reason to evacuate. Besides, I’m mainly talking about the relocation that has now lasted almost five years.

              There was never a risk of anything more violent than a slow core melting event that would be nearly completely contained. I believe that the amount of radiation release was, in the type of accident caused by a power outage, pretty much the worst case possible. If just one or two things would have gone better, the releases would have been almost non-existent.

              Here are a couple of pieces that I wrote at the time many pundits were panicking.

              March 14, 2011 https://atomicinsights.com/performance-of-old-nuclear-plants-in-japan-demonstrates-why-much-of-current-regulatory-structure-is-overkill/

              March 15, 2011 https://atomicinsights.com/it-is-never-safe-to-panic-and-it-is-wrong-to-appear-uncertain-when-you-know-what-to-do/

              March 17, 2011 https://atomicinsights.com/focus-on-food-water-shelter-dr-greg-jaczko-is-wrong-and-giving-dangerously-bad-advice/

              I am continuing to work on the promised piece, but it’s taking a little longer than expected due to some major family events.

          2. There was never a risk of anything more violent than a slow core melting event that would be nearly completely contained.

            @Rod Adams

            Ridiculous Rod. At some point you will have to acknowledge that most of the radiation was blown out to sea (away from communities). The accident was a great deal less than a “worst case possible” (as you have described). Failing to account for this makes your comments almost useless on the topic.

            1. @EL

              At some point, perhaps you will acknowledge that the radioactive material releases were pretty well controlled and timed to take place when the wind was blowing towards the ocean.

              Nuclear accidents take place at a much slower pace than the infernos, major explosions, and hazardous material spews that characterize accidents in competitive power sources. There is time to thoughtfully react and make good decisions if there is adequate training based on solid science, engineering, public health tradeoffs and medical information.

          3. Radiation doesn’t get blown out.

            @Bonds 25

            It does when originating from fission products blown out to sea. Care to be more specific?

          4. … pretty well controlled and timed to take place when the wind was blowing towards the ocean. ….

            @Rod Adams

            Your notion of “pretty well controlled” and “timed to take place when the wind was blowing” contradicts a great deal of what we actually know about the accident.


            Care to provide some documentation to support your farfetched and revisionist claims. And I have a reply to Bonds 25 stuck in queue. Please publish it.

          5. poa

            At no time was an evacuation, Radiologically speaking, warranted. No individuals outside of Fukushima’s fence would have or could been exposed to radiation levels above those that could cause “actual” harm.

            Restricting the consumption of I-131 contaminated dairy was the only measure warranted….IMO. NOT having these ultra conservative evacuation measures would have saved many lives.

          6. Nonds and Rod……I appreciate the attempts to answer my question. Rod comes very close to answering it. Or maybe I’m just missing something contained in your answers. What I am curious about, is if, before the damage was fully assessed, could an evacuation have been a prudent response to an accident that could have been far worse than what actually occurred? Could any sort of failures, operational mistakes, or situations have arisen that truly would have posed a serious threat to those that were evacuated. A worse case scenario.

          7. Exactly what was it in that article that contradicted my statement?

            @Rod Adams

            Everything. There was nothing in the article to suggest this was a controlled process of venting and radioactive releases (as you suggest). Accident was a great deal less than the “worst case possible” (as you have described).

            Have you read any of the accident reports for Fukushima. They all suggest, and thoroughly document the same.




            And to Bonds 25 (since my post went missing), when fission products are blown out to sea, it’s my understanding the radiation originating from them gets blown out as well.

          8. EL

            Radioactive material gets blown out to sea…..learn the proper terms before spewing your Anti-Nuke agenda.

            Saying radiation was blown out to sea shows how very little you know about radiation protection.

      1. At no point…..even with this “worse case” scenario, would an individual have been exposed to radiation levels high enough to actually cause physical harm…….even if standing at the Security fence.

        From a Radiological standpoint, the evacuations did not protect anyone, nor was there a possibility (legit) they would have. Restricting the consumption of dairy products contaminated with I-131 was the only precautions that were justified…..IMO

        The “public” needed protection from the earthquake and tsunami…..not Fukushima.

      2. This is partially correct, that the evac was ordered prior to the full extent of the accident becoming known. It can be legitimately argued that this was a needed precaution.

        The evac wasn’t a single event though. There was an initial evacuation, when the accident was ongoing, and there are some doubt about how extensive the radiation releases from the plant might become. But evacuations continued in wider areas in the following weeks after officials had accurate information about what the extent of the contamination would ever be. And they continue today. Many of these later evacuations were made on the basis that remaining in those areas, in the long term, would significantly increase the risk of radiation-related disease.

        But again, those decisions to evacuate were based on criteria developed prior to the accident. So they were, I think, just carrying out pre-agreed policy, and thus justifiable, initially.

        Nevertheless, reconsidering policy, even in the midst of an a crisis, is not a bad thing. (It has obvious analogies to the current climate change problem). Especially now, given multitudes of real data, it is not really forgivable to not reconsider the real human costs and real mitigation effects of serious accident procedures. Even given the current, fairly inaccurate model used to determine the long-term health costs from exposure to radiation, officials seriously underestimated the mental, physical, economic and social costs to people due to evacuations. That alone should force a reconsideration of evacuation procedures.

  6. Fukushima was absolutely a worse case scenario……they even delayed venting fission gasses that were very crucial. This lead to the hydrogen explosion that tore apart the reactor buildings

    Overall, I gotta say the Operators did an incredibly heroic job stabalizing the reactors with the very minimum instruments, tools and power they had.

    Still highest exposures seen were a few in the 20-40 rem range. These were mostly control room operators who decided they needed to see more than worry about inhaling airborne contamination and removed their respirators.

    1. So, aside from Brian’s typically useless and obnoxious sarcasm, what you guys are telling me is that the Fukushima event was the worst kind of accident, releasing the maximum amount of radiation, that we can expect from from an NPP “accident”. It doesn’t get any worse than that, and even being a worst case scenario, it still was not dangerous to the surrounding and immediate population. Is that about the gist of it?

      1. That’s is correct, especially when considering the reactor type…….GE Boiling Water Reactor (the Reactor type that I currently work at) Then consider it wasn’t just one Reactor that suffered core damage……but THREE. Fukushima Reactor designs are vastly different than Chernobyl, which plays a major role when it comes to my first sentence in reply to your question.

        Then look at the maximum radiation exposures from the Fukushima event (no worker has been exposed to greater than 50 rem……WORKER) with the HIGH majority of individuals (again workers) receiving less than 10 REM during the calendar year. NRC limits Nuclear workers to 5 REM a year. These are individuals actually working inside the fences, where dose rates are at their highest…….BY FAR. Now imagine any member of the public actually being exposed to levels greater than…..or even equal to the workers at Fukushima. Did not, could not and will not happen.

        Then understand the LD 50/30 (50% of people die within 30 days) for radiation is ~500 REM of acute (very short period of time) exposure. That is a MASSIVE amount of exposure. Heck, it takes acute exposures of 100 REM to even cause slight, temporary changes in blood chemistry. I’ve been working at Nuclear Power Plants since 1997 and my lifetime exposure is….as of this second….7.658 REM.

        Then realize that most Radiation Protection Technicians (like myself) understand the LNT model is horribly flawed and is responsible for many……MANY more lives lost than saved.

        The fact is, the public was never in jeopardy of being exposed to radiation levels that could ACTUALLY have caused negative effects to ones health. I hope I answered your question.

        Nuclear Power has saved millions of lives and has taken <100 (all Chernobyl) in 50+ years of producing clean power.

      2. aside from Brian’s typically useless and obnoxious sarcasm

        poa – Just because you are too dense to understand my point, that doesn’t mean that my comment is useless.

        For the sarcastically challenged out there, my point was that it doesn’t make sense to focus on the “worst case scenario,” because what is the worst case scenario?

        A powerful aftershock could have followed the tsunami, just when the hydrogen explosions occurred. A new volcano could have erupted under the site. A meteor could have struck, instantly disintegrating the remaining containment. Terrorists could have detonated a powerful bomb! Godzilla could have crawled out of the ocean and attacked!

        The human mind is creative enough to conceive many disaster scenarios — many “worst case scenarios” — but not all of them are credible. It’s better to ask, what is the worst that could be expected, and what happened in March 2011 is pretty much it. Guess what? The world didn’t end.

        Trying to speculate on how things could have been worse is an exercise in reaching, just for the sake of reaching, and it accomplishes nothing constructive.

        1. A powerful aftershock could have followed the tsunami, just when the hydrogen explosions occurred. A new volcano could have erupted under the site. A meteor could have struck, instantly disintegrating the remaining containment. Terrorists could have detonated a powerful bomb! Godzilla could have crawled out of the ocean and attacked!

          @Brian Mays

          Or the wind could have blown from a different direction …

          Or people could have not been evacuated …

          Or dry venting had taken place without informing the public (as was planned, and prevented by units exploding) …

          Invoking Godzilla is an unserious response (although one historically informed by worries over events just of this kind).

          1. It’s literally a fact that the evacuations have killed more people than radiation could possibly have.

            Wind direction would have spread more radioactive material (contamination) inland……but still wouldn’t have created a situation where dose rates or exposure levels would have been ACTUALLY deadly…..or even hazardous to ones health. Restricting dairy due to possible I-131 contamination (which only has an 8 day half-life) was the only precaution that could be deemed necessary.

            Also, please explain “dry” venting? The units didn’t explode, accumulated hydrogen in the upper elevations of the reactor building did.

          2. EL – I realize that your entire purpose here (the entire raison d’être for your fake identity) is to spread Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

            But are you really saying that Japan got lucky?!!

          3. Bonds 25 – “Dry venting” is one of those buzzwords that has been circulating on the anti-nuke sites since the Fukushima accident, and EL is just parroting stuff that he has read on these sites. Don’t take it too seriously.

            He has no technical background, so he will not be able to discuss it beyond the most superficial level. I predict that he’ll do a google search to come up with some sort of definition for the term and then cut-and-paste it here along with some sort of snide remark about how he somehow knows more about this stuff than you do.

            That’s how he operates.

          4. It’s literally a fact that the evacuations have killed more people than radiation could possibly have.

            @Bonds 25

            Now you are making things up. Deaths from evacuation are all related to stress (right), and mostly among the elderly (it is my understanding)? What makes you think stress isn’t also a factor among people residing in accident zones where sheltering, food and water restrictions, remediation efforts, medical screenings, interruption to normal life and routines (attending school, work), travel restrictions (to avoid hot spots), job loss (do to business impacts), economic impacts (such as reduced home values), and more are present. This sounds very stressful to me (but you seem perfectly willing to discount it or rule it out). On what basis … that nobody decided to give such an experiment a try?

            There are health risks to residing in the Fukushima evacuation zone. And you are wrong about this as well. They are just difficult to quantify. If you take different segments of the population (at risk groups, pregnant women, or children), these risks are not so easy to discount. I take it you aren’t a member of any of these groups?

            The article I cited above from Asahi Shimbun (January 14, 2016 at 10:24 AM) has a reference to dry venting. It is not an anti-nuclear buzzword. It is direct venting from containment vessel to outside, and not through water and the Torus. If you don’t know more about the venting options at Fukushima, maybe Brian can explain them to you (since he seems to think I got something wrong).

            We’re trying to have a factual and substantive discussion. Making things up isn’t helping, and I’m a pretty moderate as far as these things go. Brian mentioned the way I operate, that is the way I operate. Nuclear took a hit because of Fukushima. Pretending it did not, and there are not real and substantive issues to address about safety, regulation, clean-up, costs, etc., does nobody any good. These issues aren’t going to go away (not sure if you noticed), and it’s my understanding (and I could be wrong) that the best way to address them is to deal with them directly.

          5. The article I cited above from Asahi Shimbun (January 14, 2016 at 10:24 AM) has a reference to dry venting. It is not an anti-nuclear buzzword.

            Because we all know that a newspaper would never use an anti-nuclear buzzword, don’t we? Particularly not a newspaper that was forced to retract an erroneous hit piece that it had published about the Fukushima accident a year and a half ago. Great sources you’ve got there, EL. It’s the kind of quality that I’ve come to expect from you.

            We’re trying to have a factual and substantive discussion.

            Some of us are. Other (conveniently anonymous) people are just trying to spread FUD.

            Pretending … there are not real and substantive issues to address about safety, regulation, clean-up, costs, etc., does nobody any good.

            That’s your strawman.

            We adults are just trying to put some perspective on it. We don’t take you seriously.

          6. We adults are just trying to put some perspective on it. We don’t take you seriously.

            @Brian Mays

            Then you are detached from how the rest of the world sees these issues, and where the nuclear industry stands today as a consequence of Fukushima.

            1. @EL

              We are not “detached” from “the rest of the world.” The people with whom you are arguing on this thread (me, Brian, Bonds 25) are sharing their professional and technical knowledge about a very important aspect of nuclear energy and accident response so that others can learn to make better choices.

              We do not accept the narrative created by people who either do not understand how radioactive materials affect human health or who purposely deny their understanding in order to frighten people into opposing the only known energy source that can produce electricity that is both clean and reliable.

              None of us are representing the position of “the nuclear industry,” whose leaders generally appear to be willing to don whatever hair shirts others want to impose on them.

          7. @(Mr. Anonymous)

            Detached? Because you are making such progress here about these issues? Really? Sorry to break it to you, “EL,” but nobody here takes you seriously. Occasionally someone might patronize you a bit, but that’s about it.

            Once again, I ask: Who are you? What is your purpose for wasting time here?

            It is my job to work on improving these “issues.” What is your job? If you can’t tell us, then why should anyone take you seriously?

          8. Nice how Brian speaks for everyone here, eh?

            The point in my question, (for those too dense, or obnoxious to get it), was to determine for myself whether or not the argument can be waged that the evacuation was unneccesary, despite the full extent of the accident being not yet realized. In other words, could the situation have worsened to the extent that the evacuation actually saved lives.

            The fact of the matter is this….attributing deaths to the evacuation, in any way except admitted conjecture, is horsesh*t. There is no way to determine how many deaths would have occurred had people remained in an area devestated by the quake and tsunami. The infrastructure was destroyed. Water and power facilities were non-existent. Streets were obliterated, covered with debris. What would have been the toll on health and psyche should the evacuated population remained in such an environment? There is no way of knowing. Plus, whether the fear of radiation was reasonable or not, the fact remains that a good many of those evacuated would have, (should the have not been evacuated), be under the belief that they were being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. The distrust of the government, and TEPCO, was at a high. So what would have been the toll of that stress trigger?

            Bottom line, I distrust the kind of reasoning exhibited by the argument being waged about the toll of the evacuation . I consider it no better than FUD, and just as purposely disingenuous. I am beginning to become convinced that the NE community is no more trustworthy than the fossil fuel folks. And it is threads such as this one that is convincing me. And the abrasive and obnoxious contributions of a couple of commenters here certainly does little to instill trust or open mindedness about the claims made here about the relative safety of NE. Good luck.

            1. @poa

              Speaking for myself, I am not talking about evacuations that were ordered to vacate areas that were actually devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. I’m talking about perfectly livable communities with no visible damage that now, after nearly five years of abandonment, are beginning to resemble the vacant structures left behind in Pripyat.

              Some of the deaths caused by the evacuation of livable areas are countable with real bodies. They include the people who were in hospitals and assisted living facilities that were loaded onto buses with insufficient capabilities to keep them alive. Living people were put onto the buses, corpses were removed.

          9. Then why is there a number placed on such conjecture, Rod? Can you tell me the toll exacted by this alleged bus convoy of invalided souls? How many, Rod? And those alleged suicides attributed to the evacuation. Can you tell me what the mental state of those people was before the quake? Numbers are being offered hete that are impossible to ascertain. How does that differ from the tactics used by the fudistas? You’re equivicating to add credence to the incredible. Such tactics do not serve your purpose.

          10. poa

            The point is, if one person has died due to stresses associated with being evacuated because of overly conservative radiation evacuation measures…..thats one more person than radiation could have possibly harmed. We are saying evacuating people based on extremely low dose rates is the problem…..and also not allowing these individuals to return home because of said radiation levels does more harm than good. People….and especially the media forgets that evacuations were not only due to radiation fears…..they were mostly due to the epic earthquake and tsunami. People are not being allowed back to rebuild and carry on with their lives due to ridiculous radiation measures.

          11. Yes but..

            The whole point of my argument is that at the time of the evacuation there was no way of knowing what the level of exposure was going to be, as the event was ongoing, unassessed, and evolving. So, you are advocating simply rolling the dice, rather than erring on the side of caution?

            Due to conflicting schools of thought in regards to the dangers of exposure, you would sentence a population to uncertainty about whether or not they and their loved ones were damaged by the event? You might not like how John Q fears radiation. And, that fear may even be unreasonable, as you claim. But that doesn’t erase the reality of the fear. Looking at the event politically, and from a human nature perspective, this evacuation was necessary, prudent, and understandable. You guys should find another pitch with which to peddle your wares, as this “unnecessary evacuation” schpiel is riddled with holes.

            1. And the whole point of my argument is to do everything I can to help people who are in charge the next time a similar event happens to be able to make better decisions.

              That may include a focused effort to help people understand that they’ve been lied to for decades about the health effects of low level radiation.

              Disturbing assumptions and superstitions isn’t something that is designed to make people comfortable. Thinking is hard work; so is learning.

          12. poa

            We knew, no matter what happened that the dose rates would not ACTUALLY be fatal……or even a realistic concern. The LNT model is responsible for ANY deaths associated with Fukushima’s radiation release……100% of which were caused by evacuations and the inability of individuals to return to their homes……which is based on 1950’s fake science.

          13. Rod, please read the media article you provided, and cite for me where it describes the techniques or methodologies used to compile the figures.

            1. @poa

              “Data compiled by officials and police show that almost three years after the huge waves smashed ashore, 1,656 people living in Fukushima Prefecture have died from stress and other illnesses related to the disaster, compared with 1,607 who were killed in the initial calamity.”

          14. Rod….are you kidding me?

            Because they said so is not methodology. There is nothing in that paragraph that describes how these deaths were determined to be
            attibutable to the evacuation.

            Egads, man.

  7. Evacuation measures SHOULD NOT be based on fear. They should be based on actual risk. Fukushima and every single Nuclear Power Plant’s evacuation measures are based on assumptions derived from bunk science.

    This fear was enough for an ENTIRE country (Germany) to throw their reliable, clean, safe, base load Nuclear Power out the window due to a natural disaster that caused thee Nuclear Reactors to experience core damage……which has not killed a single person. Germany is now burning lignite…..which is coal’s dirty cousin who is looked down upon in the coal family.

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