Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Radiation Safety Expert Says - Tokyo Uh Oh

A little bio of the radiation safety expert.

I am a licensed medical dosimetrist from the U.S. currently living in the Philippines. Given the recent extraordinary events unfolding in Japan, i've decided to express, to the best of my ability, the dangers associated with the nuclear powerplant crises in Fukushima and how it may affect the territory of the Philippines. After much discussion elsewhere, i have decided to basically live blog my observations and present them for those who are interested.
OK. Now how about Tokyo?
Much higher readings in parts of Tokyo vs a few days ago

According to a recent update from that facebook dude with his own personal geiger counter:
"2011-04-26 15:13: 0.716 micro-Sieverts/h. Location: Roof of Metropolis Office, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Conclusion: Elevated, but not dangerous."
His Digilert 100 unit is one of the most reliable geiger counters on the market. His readings are 18 times higher than Tokyo historical norms. On a yearly basis, this would yield 630 millirem from local background alone. People have to remember that the sources of these high readings are from inhalable and ingestible fission products - not from a temporary visit to a high mountaintop. They should be avoided as much as reasonably possible, and every action should be taken to prevent these levels of exposure from reaching young children and infants.

It looks like the recent change in wind directions really are starting to manifest in higher readings. I don't remember Tokyo reading this high since the initial massive discharge back in mid-March. Something tells me Tepco has been losing the fight big time recently but is not disclosing accurate dispersion and exposure data.

It's time for everyone to start paying close attention to regional and global wind forecasts again.
And that is the real danger of this stuff. It lingers in the body for weeks or decades depending on the isotope and the circumstances. And the extra internal dose is especially hard on the recently conceived and growing children.

Commercial nuclear plants are not nearly safe enough in my estimation. They need to be intrinsically safe. Which is to say they can survive a shutdown without electrical power indefinitely.

We shouldn't build any more of the old style plants except possibly for the Navy. Aboard ship in an emergency you have three shifts (actually 6 since watches are 4 hours) available instantly. Decisions will be made quickly. The captain expects it. He is a nuke too. Not only that he can order things done by the rest of the Navy. A commercial operation can not be run to that standard. It is not cost effective. Thus civilian plants need to be safer. And it wouldn't hurt if military plants improved as well. If that is feasible.

And another point worth emphasis. It is not over for Tokyo. Let us be conservative and say the increased radiation happened over a period of 5 days. Fifty days at that rate and Tokyo becomes an exclusion zone. About the beginning of July. Godzilla.



Cross Posted at Classical Values

2 comments:

Toney said...

M, I've been sitting on this all day:

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/26_31.html

Last I heard, they were pumping nitrogen into No. 1 containment vessel b/c of hydrogen explosion worries.

What, if anything, is their thought process, in your opinion?

Toney said...

And the International Business Times just reported this:

http://bit.ly/dJQSva

In the past, when Tepco went all mealymouthed about a development, it usually meant something unpleasant was being obfuscated by confusing the issue.