On radiation

Things appear to be on a knife-edge in Fukushima and the wild media speculation continues.   The danger of further air contamination remains high, as fuel rods over-heat and become exposed to the air.  Let’s hope the efforts of the military, Tokyo Denryoku and the fire service are successful.  However, let me write again: a criticality event – whilst publicly not ruled out by TEPCO – is extremely unlikely as things stand and the danger to the highly populated Kanto area is being grossly exaggerated.  Some figures:

Mean radiation on 17th March, measured hourly at my institute (Saitama Prefecture): 0.15μSv/h

Mean annual exposure from anthropogenic and natural sources:  3000μSv(approx.0.35μSv/h)

Radiation dose from one chest X-ray: 1000μSv

Ditto one trunk CT scan: 9900μSv

Ditto one barium enema examination: 15000μSv

Concern over the nuclear plants hopefully will not distract from the immense humanitarian effort required in the north of Japan.   More than 310,000 people are living in emergency evacuation centres and many of the refugees are elderly or infirm.  The most critical shortages facing the affected coastal areas are the chronic lack of fuels: diesel for transport vehicles, paraffin for heating stoves and gasoline for emergency generators.   Drinking water, food, warm bedding and clothing, sanitary and infant supplies are also lacking.  Chronically ill patients requiring medicines or treatment like dialysis or insulin face death.  If you want to help, I highly recommend donating money or items to the Tokyo-based charity Second Harvest.


5 responses to “On radiation

  1. Thanks again for the updates. I hope that aid reaches those that need it soon. You surely deserve your weight in keema naan for keeping us all informed so thoroughly. Make sure you bring an extended stomach when you return.

  2. Amy, among the various reasons to live, one of them is to eat at Kababish again.

  3. I look forward to it! You should also visit the Little Indias in Manhattan and NJ, prepare your digestion accordingly.

  4. Adam, per your recommendation I have made a donation to second harvest on behalf of FishingFury.com. Thank you for the continuing updates on the situation there. Take care!

  5. Jon: thank you for your generosity. One of my expat friends has volunteered for Second Harvest in the past and they do very good things.

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