Comparing radiation doses

fukushima-july-2011 This post is more an appeal for info than anything useful in itself. But I’ll probably update it if I get anything. Fukushima refers. My question, in the context of the area around Fukushima that is contaminated by radioactivity, is

how much is actually contaminated, in the sense of now having radioactivity levels higher than naturally occurs in granite-based areas like Cornwall? How much has been officially declared “contaminated” isn’t a very interesting number

In response, M points me to map around FukushimaNPP/; here for example is July 2011 (take care to do what I didn’t, and scroll down to the integrated dose map. But unfortunately I don’t know how that compares to radiation levels in Cornwall. I made brief pathetic efforts on google to find out, but then gave up and wrote this. Over to you.

[Ah, hold on, I’ve just realised something. Thinking forwards, we don’t care about the integrated dose from the start, if we’re worrying about what will be uninhabitable in the future. What we care about is the area that will settle, in say 6 months time, to a value that will be bad, then -W]


* More stupidity about Fukushima
* More dangerous than nuclear meltdowns…
* Kan Canned
* Nuclear meltdown in Hokkaido [that’s enough JEB – ed]

More stupidity about Fukushima

The Fukushima stuff was all very exciting, and doubtless still is if you live nearby (James?). But it does seem to lead to high levels of drivel from the more soppy-hand-wringing Guardianista types:

We had a pretty good warning earlier this year, when the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused an even bigger tragedy when the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered a meltdown

The tsunami killed 20k people, or whatever. Fukushima killed no-one, directly, though it wouldn’t be surprising if it kills a few eventually. So why was Fukushima an “even bigger tragedy”? Perhaps Kate Sheppard is really really sad that it harmed the image of nukes, and values that image more highly than peoples lives?

But more likely she just wanted some cheap fodder for an article without actually troubling to think at any point. h/t to Timmy.

[Update: I’m still with my, and Timmy’s, reading of the piece. But for the sake of fairness I should say that KS has turned up in the comments and interprets her words differently – see there.

And updated to add the pic, prompted by a comment by RP at KK’s place -W]

The Beeb winds me up again


Yes, its the wazzocks at the Beeb yet again. It would be quite nice to have some decent estimates of the reactor death toll – or at least, whether the confirmed killed-by-radiation toll is above zero.

But The case of the disappearing teaspoons: longitudinal cohort study of the displacement of teaspoons in an Australian research institute is fun.


* Deaths per unit of electricity generate

Deaths per unit of electricity generated

In the comments to Romm Echoes Groundless Cell Phone/Cancer Fears? we’ve degenerated into an argument about the safety of nuclear versus solar power (“which do you think has killed more people: radiation from Fukushima, or solar-voltaic installers falling from ladders?” was my question. It is a trick question, of course, because no-one has died from Fukushima as far as I know. But the correct question, of course, is deaths per unit of ‘lectric generated). MV, beng something of a spoilsport (just joking, don’t worry) pops the bubble by pointing to someone who has actually worked some numbers out. so I’m going to steal them.

First a warning: I haven’t verified these numbers. They fit my prejudices, so I’m going with them for the moment. But if you feel like attacking them for obvious flaws, please do.

Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh)
Coal – world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal – China 278
Coal – USA 15
Oil 36 (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas 4 (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass 12
Peat 12
Solar (rooftop) 0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro 0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro – ()world inc Banqiao)   1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)


[Credit: Brian Wang at NextBigFuture]

So by those numbers, nuclear is our safest power source. Solar and wind and hydro are also pretty safe, oil is dangerous, but everything else is completely dwarfed by coal. Coal is also by far the major emitter of radiation {{cn}}.


* Evidence Meltdown – Monbiot, April.