Greenpeace wants schools in Fukushima closed because of radiation. They had a radiation measuring team doing some monitoring in schools there, finding levels of radiation exceeding the “international 1 mSv/y maximum allowed” in many places.
While I don’t agree with them regarding the safety levels, I think it is a good thing they are doing this monitoring and publishing their results.
As far as radiation-readings are concerned, I think the more the merrier. Many Japan residents have complaints, criticisms and demands of the national and local governments, but a common theme is “take responsibility”, which seems to mean in many cases “decide on guidelines, policies and safety standards and tell us and the local governments what they are.” In other words, they want certainty: what level of radiation in the air, the water, in rice, is safe for adults, children, women, people over 60, etc.? Given such-and-such a level, what actions should people take?
However, this obscures the fact that the final decision is/has to be a personal and individual one taken by each person using their own judgment based on the information they can get. There may never be certainty, even if all politicians defer to scientific judgment. There are also differences of opinion amongst scientists regarding what is and is not a “safe” level of radiation (as Prof. Lenz blogged before, see his entry on Radiation and reason by Wade Allison, and on former radiation adviser to PM Kan Toshiko Kosako).
In other words, what we have is an evolving situation (tho evolving less rapidly than in the first couple of months after March 11), with a great deal of data, and a large number of issues, i.e. decisions to be made on both an individual (do I stay? Do I abandon my business and home and move to another area of Japan? Do I commit suicide? What about my Ageing Parent(s)?) and collective level (what should we do with all this debris? What about medical services? What about refuse collection?), and disagreement and/or conflicting professional opinions (e.g. about what is a safe level of radiation).
Given this environment of uncertainty, how should an individual act?
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