The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

 
Registered Users have the option of removing this and all other advertisements.  More


Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource!
(Click HERE for a welcome message from our founder.)

Our site contains tons of information that is guaranteed to improve your travel experience. Be it tips on how to fly in First/Business at a reduced cost, smart ways to earn more points, the best way to use your points, cheap deals, hand-picked hotel recommendations, detailed trip reports. A good place to start exploring our site is HERE.


We hope you find the information useful and decide to join our online community. Joining AFF is fast, simple and ABSOLUTELY FREE - so why not join now by clicking on the REGISTER link, and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.

If you experience any problems, please Contact Us.

Once registered, this box will disappear freeing up more space on your screen! And you will see fewer advertisements :)
Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 62
Like Tree17Likes
...
  1. #1
    Suspended medhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    18,999
    FF Prog
    QF, DJ, AA

    My Travels
    Flights Recorded
    1
    View my Flight Map

    The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    I had a PM today that prompted me to create this thread. I was a bit uncertain about where to post it, travel inside information, general discussion or travel news. I settle in travel news because there is a bit in the news about this topic. I'll also provide some links. I should also say that I'll just be making general comments, I'm not a nuclear engineer or anything like that, that will share my thoughts as a radiation safety person. I'll try to decipher what is being reported as best I can based on my experience in this field. The other caveat is that this is a developing situation, things can change which would change my thoughts. This means that I'm going to use a lot of words like should, could, might and maybe.

    Actually one final caveat, please look at the official Australian Government Advice that can be found here: ARPANSA - Media Release March 2011

    In terms of sources of information I have been following World Nuclear News, which seems to stick to facts and also have some numbers. These guys are also on Facebook.

    Also useful/interesting:

    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of Japan

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (having a bit of trouble with them at the moment.

    TEPCO who own the reactors

    A finally website that has some pretty good background explanation is here: BraveNewClimate The full stuff on the nuclear reactors in Japan is here: Nuclear BraveNewClimate
    Along with some thoughts on how the explosions happened: Further technical information on Fukushima reactors BraveNewClimate

    Which gets into my ramblings. Read it or ignore as you wish. The basic question that everyone seems to want to know, is it safe? Or to quote from the PM:

    would you have a higher chance of getting cancer (either now or 10-20 years from now?) and if you did, is there anyway of pointing it to the radiation that is flying around Japan at the moment?
    This is a really hard question to answer many because there is a fairly limited amount of information. I've seen mention of 3 "types" of radiation and radiation monitoring. The first is that we keep seeing number like 3.1 mSv per hour, 800 mSv per hour, and the radiation levels around the reactor are going up or they are going down. This seem to be spot external radiation measurements. They tell you how much radiation (gamma/neutron radiation) is being emitted, basically the strength of the radiation field at that point, per hour. This radiation is directly linked to the source (I assume the reactor), walk away and that radiation exposure decreases, get far enough away and it stops. This is also time related, you get a lot less dose from being there for 5 minutes versus 1 hour. It is this radiation that has resulted in all except 50 workers being evacuated from the reactor site. I wouldn't expect anyone to be touristing it around the reactor and if you are travelling to Tokyo those types of numbers mean nothing.

    The next type of radiation that I've seen on the TV is the contamination checks, as they increase the evacuation zone for the public. People lined up and dudes waving monitors over them. They are looking for radioactive particles that have landed on people. This is related to the third type of radiation mentioned and that is the emitted radioactive particles like iodine and caesium. These have been emitted with the steam releases. Once the steam condenses or it rains these particles drop out of the air onto the land, houses and people. The spread of these particles is going to be limited around the reactors site. Note the evacuation zone is 30 km. So there would only have been limited distribution of this stuff at this stage. The monitoring numbers reported have been in counts per minute or even counts per second. What they are trying to measure is the total amount of radioactivity in a given area on a person as there are cut offs based on counts per minute per square cm. General these will be big numbers, for example 40,000 counts per minute. Sounds big, but with some assumptions that can be boiled down to an activity number and it turns out to be pretty low - maybe the same as the total radioactivity in a banana or brazil nut in that case. This type of monitoring can be complicated to get from an esoteric counts per minute to a real activity number and then a health effect. I won't bore you with details. The thing is that these monitoring numbers are still (only) relevant for the immediate area around the reactor.

    That sort of gets me back to particles being emitted. There are reports that radiation is being detected in tokyo. These are going to be those emitted particles. At this stage the airborne concentrations should be pretty low. The effect is going to be dependant on the radioisotope involved.

    One is iodine and an effective protection against this is to take in non-radioactive iodine, potassium iodide tablets. Iodine is absorbed by the thyroid, if it is radioactive then you risk getting thyroid cancer (not nice but a very treatable cancer). Non radioactive iodine will block all the receptor sites in the thyroid and then the radioactive iodine just passes through the body with limited effect.

    There are also other radioactive particles in the air, caesium has been mentioned. The problem with these is inhalation, that is why the news talks about staying inside. This is to limit inhalation of the particles. The only real way to combat this is to follow government instructions. I assume that this is why they have said that the radiation is dangerous in the exclusion zone. In tokyo I can't imagine there would be very much of this stuff in the area. Because there is no massive big burning black could of smoke from the reactor sending crap high into the atmosphere, it mainly seems to be localised around the reactor.

    It is possible to convert an airborne concentration of a radioactive material to an effective dose, which tells us about the risk to people. I would guess that the dose in Tokyo from these particles would be very much less that the public dose limit at this stage. This is the dose (risk) below which there is no controls required on the radiation dose to the general public. don't need to control it? then it's very low risk.

    So what does that mean in effect. Well first I'll bring in some numbers; (sorry) In Australia, the average annual background radiation dose is 2.5 mSv per year. The public dose limit here and in Japan is 1 mSv. So IF one inhaled 1 mSv of these particles you would get no more that an extra 50% of what you get every year of your life. In theory the risk of 1 mSv is that 1 in 20,000 people will get a fatal cancer sometime in their life, due to that radiation. So to answer the PM in more detail, yes there is a risk of getting cancer from being exposed to radiation from the reactor, in theory. I say in theory because the major problem is that no one can prove this risk. It would require something like 12 million people in a study to prove that risk. (Note anti-nukes will happily use this theory to say 100,000s of people are going to die from very small radiation dose)

    To answer the second question from the PM, there is no way that you can ever prove that the cancer was from that particular bit of radiation at such low dose levels (if it is greater than about 100 to 500 mSv the link is more certain). You also need to remember that 1 in 3 people get cancer in their life. Of those 20,000 people getting 1 mSv, 6,665 will have cancer from other reasons and 1 from the 1 mSv of radiation

    More generally on radiation risk. There is a lot of evidence that says a dose less than 100 mSv at a slow dose rate has no risk of cancer. There are also places in the world that have much higher background radiation. Denver has 10 mSv per year and the cancer incidence rates are the same as elsewhere in the world. Other places have upto 100 mSv and no greater rate of cancer.

    Finally, I'll just say that if I was going to Tokyo I would be highly concerned about the effects of that burning oil refinery.
    Last edited by medhead; 16th March 2011 at 10:17 PM. Reason: Grammar
    NM, serfty, docjames and 6 others like this.

  2.    Sponsored Links



    Registered Users have the option of removing this and all other advertisements.  More



  3. #2
    Member tuppaware's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    836
    FF Prog
    QFF, KF, AIR NZ APs

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    Here is an interesting but long view of the whole situation

    Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation BraveNewClimate
    serfty likes this.

  4. #3
    Suspended medhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    18,999
    FF Prog
    QF, DJ, AA

    My Travels
    Flights Recorded
    1
    View my Flight Map

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    Quote Originally Posted by tuppaware View Post
    Here is an interesting but long view of the whole situation

    Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation BraveNewClimate
    Yep Barry has some good stuff there. I've heard him speak a few times, once on the same program as Helen Caldicott. that was interesting.

    She said something about how I prostitute myself to industry or some such. Rather a badge of honour.

  5.    Sponsored Links



    Registered Users have the option of removing this and all other advertisements.  More



  6. #4
    Member doctork's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    100
    FF Prog
    QF Gold

    My Travels
    Flights Recorded
    25
    Miles Flown
    29868
    Days in Aircraft
    3
    View my Flight Map

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    Thanks medhead.

    I've trying to say much the same stuff, but far less cogently, on facebook to all who would listen. But everyone seems to say, "Don't let science and facts get in the way of hysteria!"

    I know we use screen names, but were you on ABC local radio today?

  7. #5
    Suspended medhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    18,999
    FF Prog
    QF, DJ, AA

    My Travels
    Flights Recorded
    1
    View my Flight Map

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    Quote Originally Posted by doctork View Post
    Thanks medhead.

    I've trying to say much the same stuff, but far less cogently, on facebook to all who would listen. But everyone seems to say, "Don't let science and facts get in the way of hysteria!"

    I know we use screen names, but were you on ABC local radio today?
    No, not me on the radio. Do you remember their name. I did get a late message to talk on abc last night, just by chance, but by the time I called back they weren't interested anymore.

  8. #6
    Posting Enthusiast drron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Sunshine Coast
    Posts
    14,418
    FF Prog
    QC life,AA LTP,HH silv,SPG plat,MR plat
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    Thanks for those links.It is really hard to know what is happening listening and looking at our media sources.I felt the Today show hit rock bottom today using Peter Harvey as the expert on radiatioin sickness.

  9.    Sponsored Links



    Registered Users have the option of removing this and all other advertisements.  More



  10. #7
    Established Member TonyHancock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    East Cheam
    Posts
    4,873
    FF Prog
    QF Platinum Type
    Blog Entries
    13

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    I'm in the UK this week, and the media here is pretty poor. It seems the we live in a world where sensationalism is top of the priority list when it comes to reporting.

    Thanks for the links medhead interesting stuff.

    I'm waiting for the press to start the calls for the Lucas Heights plant to be shut down.

  11.    Sponsored Links





    Registered Users have the option of removing this and all other advertisements.  More



  12. #8
    Senior Member docjames's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    7,586
    FF Prog
    QF Gold / LTS - 59% LTG; IHG Plat Amb

    My Travels
    Flights Recorded
    259
    Miles Flown
    398796
    Days in Aircraft
    38
    View my Flight Map

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    medhead, as you'd have the numbers far more readily available than me (although I could find exact numbers if I look hard enough), perhaps by way of comaparison you'd like to quantify the radiation exposure with some common medical scans/tests and some understandable background exposures.

    eg. radiation dose in a CT Head; CT Chest/abdo/pelvis (eg. trauma scan); Chest XRay; arm or leg XRay; vs say "FLight to London Exposure" or background exposure.

    Although maybe that'll just scare everyone off medical tests!

    Name:  imagescat-scan.jpg
Views: 299
Size:  31.8 KB

  13. #9
    Established Member awilcockson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    2,300
    FF Prog
    QF WP, 73% LTG

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    Thanks medhead, a very level headed (lol) explanation.

    I just wish the sensationalist media could report it in these terms. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to be going anywhere near the reactor site, but the "world is coming to an end" reporting is starting to wear thin. And I wish they'd stop referring to the possibility "China Syndrome scenario", it should be a "South pacific ocean" scenario, considering that's what's on the opposite side of the globe from Japan.

  14. #10
    Established Member awilcockson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    2,300
    FF Prog
    QF WP, 73% LTG

    Re: The situation in Japan - some thoughts on Radiation

    Registered Users have the option of removing this
    and all other advertisements.  More


    Quote Originally Posted by docjames View Post
    perhaps by way of comaparison you'd like to quantify the radiation exposure with some common medical scans/tests and some understandable background exposures.
    I found this one quite useful.

    Interesting that 5 return trips from Tokyo-New York gets you your maximum of 1 mSv of radiation for the year!

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. QF Upgrades - very interesting situation
    By unggg in forum Qantas Frequent Flyer Program
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 3rd November 2012, 11:50 AM
  2. The Bangkok situation
    By N860CR in forum Open Discussion
    Replies: 103
    Last Post: 21st May 2010, 01:47 PM
  3. Study reveals storm cloud radiation fear
    By Slats7 in forum Travel News
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 15th December 2009, 11:42 AM
  4. Will QF make an award seat available (for a WP) in this situation?
    By Febs in forum Qantas Frequent Flyer Program
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 20th December 2008, 09:24 AM
  5. Jetstar's sticky situation
    By needaholiday in forum Open Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22nd August 2006, 05:41 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


About Us

    The Australia Frequent Flyer is Australia's leading frequent flyer community and travel website.

    We are independently owned and not affiliated with any airline.

Follow us on

Twitter Facebook Google+ RSS


The Australian Frequent Flyer is a public forum. All posts reflect the personal opinion of the poster. These opinions are not necessarily shared by the Australian Frequent Flyer.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131