Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Back and Forth of Japan's 'Nuclear Meltdown'

I have waited a long time to write about events in Japan. The people there have my condolences, but as for information to pass along on this blog, there wasn't much to report.

So instead, I decided to wait and see what would happen with Japan's nuclear facilities, inasmuch as what happens over there will most certainly effect what happens over here.

The news about what is happening over there is being filtered through the American media, a group well known to most sane Americans as a group with nothing better to do but scaremonger. I can't believe anything those people tell me, and so I have been ignoring them in favor of the blogs. Gateway Pundits, as always, has been reporting on what's going on over there, and his commenters (the 'Punditeers') are very helpful with their knowledge.

Here are the two links that have been sitting in my favorites bar for nearly a week now, waiting for me to put them down here:

This site here I found a little difficult to understand; maybe someone else will have better luck than I.

And then we have William Tucker of the Wall street Journal saying that Japan does not face Another Chernobyl. Heck, that's what I've been screaming at the TV every time they mention a nuclear crises in Japan.

So honestly, as far as radiation goes, I haven't been to worried about that. What I have been worried about is the fact that people need food and shelter and POTUS is doing nothing - except golfing.

Then, last night, I found this from the British Newspaper Daily Mail: The moment nuclear plant chief WEPT as Japanese finally admit that radiation leak is serious enough to kill people

The article goes on:

The boss of the company behind the devastated Japanese nuclear reactor today broke down in tears - as his country finally acknowledged the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency admitted that the disaster was a level 5, which is classified as a crisis causing 'several radiation deaths' by the UN International Atomic Energy. Officials said the rating was raised after they realised the full extent of the radiation leaking from the plant. They also said that 3 per cent of the fuel in three of the reactors at the Fukushima plant had been severely damaged, suggesting those reactor cores have partially melted down. After Tokyo Electric Power Company Managing Director Akio Komiri cried as he left a conference to brief journalists on the situation at Fukushima, a senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis. He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: 'The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, frankly speaking, were among many things that happened that had not been anticipated under our disaster management contingency plans. 'In hindsight, we could have moved a little quicker in assessing the situation and coordinating all that information and provided it faster.'

Nuclear experts have been saying for days that Japan was underplaying the crisis' severity. It is now officially on a par with the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania in 1979. Only the explosion at Chernobyl in 1986 has topped the scale.

The way this is portrayed, you would think that there was nothing that could happen except FOR another Chernobyl, and I don't understand that, particularly because they compare affairs in Japan to Three Mile Island - and to the best of my understanding, nothing happened at Three Mile Island, other than a nuclear plant got shut down.

But this is by no means conclusive evidence that everyone is going to get cancer now. Form this week's Ann Coulter column, which I cannot link too:

With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.

This only seems counterintuitive because of media hysteria for the past 20 years trying to convince Americans that radiation at any dose is bad. There is, however,
burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine.

As The New York Times science section reported in 2001, an increasing number of scientists believe that at some level -- much higher than the minimums set by the U.S. government -- radiation is good for you. "They theorize," the Times said, that "these doses protect against cancer by activating cells' natural defense mechanisms."

Among the studies mentioned by the Times was one in Canada finding that tuberculosis patients subjected to multiple chest X-rays had much lower rates of breast cancer than the general population.

And there are lots more!

A $10 million Department of Energy study from 1991 examined 10 years of epidemiological research by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on 700,000 shipyard workers, some of whom had been exposed to 10 times more radiation than the others from their work on the ships' nuclear reactors. The workers exposed to excess radiation had a 24 percent lower death rate and a 25 percent lower cancer mortality than the non-irradiated workers.

Isn't that just incredible? I mean, that the Department of Energy spent $10 million doing something useful? Amazing, right?

In 1983, a series of apartment buildings in Taiwan were accidentally constructed with massive amounts of cobalt 60, a radioactive substance. After 16 years, the buildings' 10,000 occupants developed only five cases of cancer. The cancer rate for the same age group in the general Taiwanese population over that time period predicted 170 cancers.

The people in those buildings had been exposed to radiation nearly five times the maximum "safe" level according to the U.S. government. But they ended up with a cancer rate 96 percent lower than the general population.

What? But the media said we would get cancer and die!!

Alright, not that I'm trying to downplay the fact that a tragedy happened in Japan, but I don't think Japan is anywhere near Chernobyl. I'm tired of the American (and now British) media running round shrieking that you need to start taking iodine or you'll die. Just when it seem like everyone is doomed (re: Daily Mail) I find something that shows that, wow, we're not doomed after all (see: Ann Coulter).

Only time will tell about the nuclear effects on Japan. I don't think it will be much. I don't even think it will hurt the West coast of America that much, even if we do get a cloud of radiation blown over.

Now will the media please settle down and stop portraying this as a new Chernobyl in the making?

Related: Radiation levels beyond 12 miles of Japanese nuke plant are normal

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