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The PJ Tatler

by
Charlie Martin

Bio

March 12, 2013 - 9:17 am

Two years ago yesterday, the Honshu Earthquake, along with the subsequent tsunami, devastated the north shore of Japan.  At the time, I wrote a series of articles on the earthquake, tsunami, and the subsequent major accident in the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini reactors.

The first of those was called “Fear the Media Meltdown, Not the Nuclear One“. In this series, I made the point that the actual damage from the radiation would be relatively minor, with few or no long-term health effects — after all, there had been no observable long-term health effects except for plant workers at Chernobyl, and this was never going to be as big as Chernobyl.

For this I was roundly reviled, including by one lunatic who suggested the Navy was going to drop hydrogen bombs on the reactors to keep them from blowing up.

Two years later, here’s a story from Bloomberg: “Fukushima Radiation Proves Less Deadly Than Feared“.

The headline, even then, is a little bit exaggerated. It should have been “Fukushima Radiation Has No Detectable Effects Outside Immediate Area of Reactors”.

Here’s a quote:

And what of the lasting threat from radiation? Remarkably, outside the immediate area of Fukushima, this is hardly a problem at all. Although the crippled nuclear reactors themselves still pose a danger, no one, including personnel who worked in the buildings, died fromradiation exposure. Most experts agree that future health risks from the released radiation, notably radioactive iodine-131 and cesiums-134 and – 137, are extremely small and likely to be undetectable.

Even considering the upper boundary of estimated effects, there is unlikely to be any detectable increase in cancers in Japan, Asia or the world except close to the facility, according to a World Health Organization report. There will almost certainly be no increase in birth defects or genetic abnormalities from radiation.

Even in the most contaminated areas, any increase in cancer risk will be small. For example, a male exposed at age 1 has his lifetime cancer risk increase from 43 percent to 44 percent. Those exposed at 10 or 20 face even smaller increases in risk — similar to what comes from having a whole-body computer tomography scan or living for 12 to 25 years in Denver amid background radiation in the Rocky Mountains. (There is no discernible difference in the cancer rates between people who live in Denver and those in Los Angeles or New York.)

Rather than stand as a warning of the radiation danger posed by nuclear power, in other words, Fukushima has become a reminder that uninformed fears aren’t the same as actual risks.

There are few joys in life comparable than being able to say “I told you so.”

He said, smugly.

Charlie Martin writes on science, health, culture and technology for PJ Media. Follow his 13 week diet and exercise experiment on Facebook and at PJ Lifestyle

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All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
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I think "Feared" is the operative word ... it was always an emotion appeal to fear ... never a scientific one ...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Over at Zero Hedge, a chronic bedwetter who posts under the moniker "George Washington" has been offering "the world is ending" pieces about Fukushima. He's pathetic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Funny this article should come out today. I was just talking with a colleague this morning who's son married a Japanese gal, her family lives in that region. His son just moved there a few weeks ago. He told his dad this is a big farming community, but no one will buy their produce because they fear contamination, even though the tests all come back negative for radiation. The farmers there are losing everything on the count of those unfounded fears. Very sad, I can imagine the exact same thing happening here.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Charlie writes: "The headline, even then, is a little bit exaggerated. It should have been Fukushima Radiation Has No Detectable Effects Outside Immediate Area of Reactors'."

Well, that's not quite true. No detectable PHYSICAL effects, yes. But the radiation triggered hysteria and paranoia across the entire globe. Of course, that was really the radiation from TV sets, newspapers, and magazines, not anything emitted by the actual reactors.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We have nothing to fear but media-perpetuated, exaggerated fear itself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's a good point. Maybe someone should figure out the LD50 for TV.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
@ Robin Roberts:
Moving right along from one prediction which has proven false
to another which should be good for, oh, 20 years, until the
data come in, again, and show no measurable difference.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
However, the stress of the massive relocation of residents in the evacuation zones will have/has had real health effects including probably scores of premature deaths.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Way to make extreme environmentalists' heads explode.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You so cool, Charlie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Damn right.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Modern JournOlists all get indoctrinated from the same group of "institutions"... And people wonder why the media is nothing but a herd of cows sharing the same cud...

Leftists control the "licensing" process and only those with a "license" get to touch the levers of power. Just as Joe McCarthy said 60 years ago.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If it doesn't bleed, it has no place in contemporary media reporting.
They're not reporters, they're fear-mongers!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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