Why We Shouldn’t Be Freaking Out About Radiation in Japan… Just Yet

by Little Miss Attila on March 13, 2011

From the always-interesting WORM:

If I measured the dose rate where you’re sitting, I’d see about five micro-rem per hour, give or take a micro-rem. (rem= Roentgen Equivalent Man).

One thousand times that would be five milli-rem per hour, which just happens to be the threshold where the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and DOE (Department of Energy) must establish a Radiation Area.

This is serious business. To enter it you must be an adult, have training, have a TLD (Thermoluminescent Dosimeter), have been briefed on an RWP (Radiological Work Permit), and be signed in on that RWP, which means you’ll have an EPD (electronic personal dosimeter) for real-time awareness of how much radiation you’re picking up. And an RCT (radiological control technician {me!}) will be with you, or at least keeping tabs.

And apart from acronym poisoning, you’ll be fine.

Read the whole thing. Please.

Remember that no matter whether the reactors–which use 40-year-old technology–are damaged beyond use in a 9-point earthquake with few precedents, the anti-nuclear people are going to be spinning in the months and years like centrifuges tops, trying to use this to justify blocking the further construction of nuclear power plants in this country. When they do this, please picture the alternative means of generating electricity–which is coal. That has to be burned in the air, which releases particulate matter. It has to be retreived by people in underground shafts, which is dirty, dangerous work.

We haven’t had a nuclear power plant built here in decades, which of course means we don’t have any that use the latest technology. Furthermore, we are a huge country with wide swaths of land that are well clear of major earthquake faults. (Jeff Goldstein suggests that we might not want to build any more reactors in California–which would be fine, at least near our major faults–though they should let us upgrade the ones we have. And we should be allowed to extract our huge oil deposits on the West Coast, with less destructive interference.)

Via Insty, who points out that we don’t really know much yet, that most of what we’re getting from the nuclear installations is “buzz and confusion” from fourth-hand sources. Yesterday was, indeed, a game of telephone, played over the Pacific Ocean.

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Why A “Nuclear Meltdown” Is The Least of Japan’s Worries Right Now
March 14, 2011 at 7:29 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Foxfier March 13, 2011 at 10:37 am

You’ve got running strike.


richard mcenroe March 13, 2011 at 11:44 am

BTW, coal tailings are also radioactive… and not stored anywhere.


Dan March 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

We should use our massive coal resources to make the United States the FOREMOST energy supplier on the face of the earth.


Dan March 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

And every single nuclear energy plant that isn’t devoted to scientific and military research should be closed, while all across the fruited plain, coal to oil plants begin to rise.


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