Wednesday, March 16, 2011

UPDATED! Nuclear Crisis: Just Facts No Rumors

UPDATE: Radiation levels in Shinjuku - they are completely normal within the natural range. No problem at all for now.


Some people are being quite irresponsible with the fear mongering and rumor spreading. Some people have been quite insulting with their panic-stricken remarks. 

When there are so many rumors, we can only deal with the facts. Here they are. 

Here is an UPDATED chart from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology's National Metrology Institute of Japan webpage. It shows what typical radiation levels (measured in microSv) are in our daily lives:


At the bottom left, you see the mark of 190. That's the amount of radiation you get on a one-way flight from Tokyo to New York. Above that, you see the number 2400. That is the amount of radiation that a person gets annually from nature. At the top left is the number 10000. That is annual radiation amount a person who lives in Karapari City in Brazil gets. At the top right, you see 6900, that's the amount of radiation you get from a CT scan. Bottom right? That's 50, the amount a person receives from one X-ray. 

The next chart is from the Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Unit in Tsukuba (Tsukuba is about 75 kilometers north of Tokyo, one-quarter the way up from Tokyo towards Fukushima). It is an updated hourly summary of radiation measured in microSv/hour:

As you can see, the radiation did spike a bit yesterday but today, as of two hours ago, it was running about .13. Currently, at 5 pm Tokyo time, it is .10 that is 1900 times less radiation you would receive on the one way flight from Tokyo to New York. 

You can see updates for yourself here:

I called the Radiation Effects Association at Radiation Science & Health Inc. (1) and asked them specifically to tell me what is the recognized safe limits for radiation measured in microSv/hour. The answer was,

"The internationally recognized safe level of radiation is 100 microSv/hour."

Don't believe me? Contact them yourselves:

Radiation Effects Association
1-9-16 Kajicho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo, Japan 101-0044
Phone: +81-3-5295-1781
Fax: +81-3-5295-1486

Like I said, let's deal with facts. The internationally recognized safe levels are 100 microSv/hour, and the current levels are .10 then I don't see where there's need for panic.... 

Of course, it is prudent to be wise and careful about this situation as it is a serious problem. It is common sense to think about your loved ones first. But for those of us far away from the accident, panic is probably a greater threat to us than radiation. I would gather that this explains why experts and doctors knowledgeable about radiation and energy are saying that the situation is nothing to worry about.

So go ahead and take your vacation from Japan with your family. But do the responsible thing and stop spreading rumors and innuendo that only serve to make the situation much worse than it already is.

Here's a chart of daily radiation measured in milliSv/yr from Wikipedia

(Please note that the dosage of radiation from the Three Mile Island Nuclear reactor accident measured those who were 16 kilometers away from the accident site. We, in Tokyo, are 200 kilometers away from the accident site in Fukushima).

Dose Examples

[edit]Single Dose Examples

[edit]Hourly Dose Examples

[edit]Yearly Dose Examples

  • Living near a nuclear power station: less than 0.01 mSv/year[3]
  • Cosmic radiation (from sky) at sea level: 0.24 mSv/year[3]
  • Terrestrial radiation (from ground): 0.28 mSv/year[3]
  • Natural radiation in the human body: 0.40 mSv/year[3]
  • Typical individual's natural background radiation: 2 mSv/year; 1.5 mSv/year for Australians, 3-6 mSv/year for Americans[7][8]
  • New York-Tokyo flights for airline crew: 9 mSv/year[7]
  • Radon in the average US home: 2 mSv/year[3]
  • Smoking 1.5 packs/day: 13 mSv/year[9]
  • Current average limit for nuclear workers: 20 mSv/year[7]
  • Background radiation in parts of Iran, India and Europe: 50 mSv/year[7]
  • Lowest clearly carcinogenic level: 100 mSv/year[7]

(1)  Radiation Effects Association
1-9-16 Kajicho, Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo 101-0044, Japan
*Thanks to Tim Romero and John Pender. I owe you guys a nuclear powered shot of booze!


JT said...

Even a little extra than natural exposure is not fine to me. That is why I will not go through airport scanners.

What about radioactive particles?

The USA EPA is sending radiation monitors to the western states, but will not even answer questions or report the levels (whether there is or not) of radiation. The EPA allowed rescue workers on 9/11 work the site knowing it was going to destroy their health.

At least Japan is reporting information.

Guy Jean said...

Well done, mate.

Marc Abela said...

Hello Mike,
How have you been? Trusting all is well. Hard not to let all this fear mongering not get on one's nerves.
Anyway, many thanks for the clear & cut update, as usual.
Mind you, I notice the now infamous "TSA Scan" is not to be found on your small list (above), which sits apparently at around 0.1 micro-Sievert... :)
Talk soon,

Anonymous said...

I have checked the radiation measurements in Tokyo/Shinjuku hourly-
at the moment the radiation in Shinjuku is about the same as before the earth quake, and there are many places in Italy for example, which have higher radiation than Shinjuku.

Here is a site listing the radioactivity all over Japan -Fukushima-ken is left out..... sad. I am sure they have data for Fukushima-ken, but they don't show it here.


Anonymous said...

It's bullshit that we don't report about the suffering of those on the ground... It's freezing in northern japan and may do not have shelter. Watch NHK for the real story... Search NHK English...

Anonymous said...

Things are bad...But not as bad as CNN is reporting.

KonaCin said...

Thanks Mike for putting this all into perspective! If only the media would quit causing such an uproar...I look to you for info, you're the only one I trust! Stay well!

mikeintokyorogers said...

Thanks KonaCin,

Remember when they warned us about mushroom cluds? Yeah? well they were eon psychotrophics.

Anonymous said...

Simply misleading.
Before 1990, it was recommended to not exceed 5 millisieverts per year. That includes all types of radiations (natural, medical, etc.). And that is CUMULATIVE.
1 year = 24 hours x 365.25 days = 8766 hours average.
5 mSv per year <=> 5 / 8766 mSv per hour = 0.00057 mSv per hour = 0.57 microSieverts per hour.
So it was recommended to not exceed an average of 0.57 microSieverts per hour, and once again that was supposed to include medical dosage like X-rays.
You are obviously not a specialist. Actually I am not either, but I do know how to read a scientific recommendation.
Stop comparing "mSV" and "mSv per hour". A flight from Tokyo to New York takes only a few hours. A X-ray takes less than a second of exposure.
Now, compare the 0.57 'microSieverts per hour' to your table and guess where there is an issue.
It's fine now in Tokyo, because the peak has passed, and fortunately what matters is the actual accumulation of radiation.
However in some parts of Japan, the average is going to be more than 0.57 microSieverts per hour for a long time.
So, speaking of irresponsibility, please stop writing complacent BS.
People should not panic, but they have to be careful, and in order to do that they require the right information. You don't provide that.
It might just be one mistake on your end. But now you can't ignore it anymore, and so you have the opportunity to fix it.
I hope you will revise your statements. My understanding is that you make a living by using the media, whether you got paid by NHK World or not. So if you don't, that is going to backfire on you.
And that would be quite justified, because purposely misleading people in the current situation would be simply criminal.