Posts Tagged Chernobyl

U.S. no-go zone ‘overreaction’ | The Japan Times Online

It is information from the scientific community that, on the whole, has been of the greatest usefulness in this crisis.


  1. Dr Josef Oehmen’s letter to a friend in Japan, Why I am not concerned about Japan’s nuclear reactors, written a couple of days after the tsunami hit.
  2. The Brave New Climate blog
  3. World Nuclear News website
  4. Marketing Japan – for news about Tokyo situation and links to radiation level readings and general upbeat humour
  5. Excellent chart of radiation dosage levels and effects (which I found on the BraveNewClimate blog)

 It is media articles by journalists, whose job is to sell newspapers and eyeballs to their advertisers, not to purvey news, that have been not only much less useful but have fanned the flames of panic (because that sells, duh). Here’s another informed source, this one commenting on the 80-km no-go zone whcih was first announced by the U.S. military in Japan, then repeated by the U.S. government. The author also compares Fukushima with Chernobyl, based on his personal experience of the latter.

The U.S. government may have overreacted in setting an 80-km radius no-go zone for U.S. citizens near the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, an expert on radiation and cancer immunology said Tuesday in Tokyo.

U.S. hematologist Robert Gale, who treated Chernobyl exposure victims in 1986, said the current exclusion zone by the Japanese government that covers a 20-km radius around the plant is already “conservative.”

“There is no solid reason for the U.S. government to suggest a wider evacuation,” considering the current level of microsieverts detected in the region, he said.

Gale was one of the few doctors from the West who took part in the rescue mission at the 1986 Chernobyl incident, where he flew to Moscow and treated firefighters who were exposed to high levels of radiation.

He has taken part in medical rescue efforts after the 1999 nuclear chain reaction accident in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Brazil’s Goiania nuclear incident in 1987.

“Generally speaking, the public, even the educated people, have (little) knowledge of radiation risk, and do not trust authorities and information — even if it is correct,” Gale said of reactions to nuclear accidents.

Tens of thousands tried to flee Kiev, a city about 100 km south of Chernobyl, when the nuclear meltdown occurred, but that turned out to be unnecessary, he said.

via U.S. no-go zone ‘overreaction’ | The Japan Times Online.

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Iodine for Radioactive Fallout by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

Iodine for Radioactive Fallout by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD.

This is an excellent article to read if you are concerned about radioactive iodine. This is yet another excellent piece of information that was not written by a journalist and not propagate by mainstream media.

These grafs caught my attention:

Fallout from a nuclear bomb explosion or a nuclear power plant meltdown is full of radioactive iodine-131 (I-131). Nuclear fission splits the nuclei of uranium-235 and plutonium-239, producing I-131. The stable, natural isotope of iodine is iodine-127…

Radioactive I-131 emits Beta electrons and gamma rays, which destroy cells and cause cancer. People living downwind from a nuclear bomb explosion or power plant meltdown can inhale or ingest radioactive fallout, or have it come in contact with skin. The I-131 in fallout “dust” can damage the thyroid gland and cause it to become cancerous. Other tissues and glands in the body that concentrate iodine are also at risk, notably women’s breasts. The most common sequel from exposure to radioactive fallout is thyroid cancer.

Taken in a sufficient amount, natural iodine can block uptake of radioactive I-131 in fallout and prevent thyroid cancer…


In order to be effective in blocking I-131 uptake, the 100 mg dose of iodine needs to be taken in a window of 24 hours before and 2 hours after exposure to fallout (Health Physics 2000;78:660–667).

Consuming an average of 240 micrograms (mcg) of iodine a day, most Americans have an insufficient amount of iodine stored in their bodies…

Fortunately, this is the case with the Japanese. People in Japan eat a lot of seaweed, which protects them against the deleterious effects of I-131 in radioactive fallout from the meltdown of their Fukushima Dalichi nuclear plants. Compared to terrestrial plants, which contain only trace amounts of iodine (0.001 mg/gm), the seaweed that the Japanese consume – brown algai (kelp), red algae (nori sheets, with sushi), and green algae (chlorella) – have a high concentration of this nutrient (0.5–8.0 mg/gm). According to public health officials there, people in Japan consume 14.5 gm of seaweed a day. They don’t need to take potassium iodide tablets for fallout. They consume enough iodine in the seaweed they eat…

Chernobyl (April 26, 1986), until now, has been the only accident in the history of commercial nuclear power where radiation-related fatalities have occurred. The steam explosion and fire in this reactor, uncontained and lacking an emergency core-cooling system, released 5 percent of the reactor’s radioactive core into the atmosphere. Some 134 employees developed acute radiation sickness and 28 died from it. No increase in cancer incidence or mortality has been observed attributable to the ionizing radiation it released. Thyroid cancer is another matter. The explosion spread significant amounts of I-131, raising the incidence of thyroid cancer in children in the Ukraine from 0.7 per million to 4 per million. Dr. Arthur Robinson reckons that only 70 extra cases of thyroid cancer have arisen in children living near Chernobyl as a result of the accident, and these cancers could have been prevented had the Ukrainian authorities provided these children with iodine.

At Three Mile Island (March 28, 1979), a partial core meltdown was largely contained within the reactor building. No deaths resulted from the accident, and the amount of radiation released into the environment was the equivalent of a single chest X-ray for people living within ten miles of the reactor.

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