What has been the final damage of the Fukushima disaster?

Has there been a study of the aftermath of the disaster? Wiki doesn’t seem to have much but I wouldn’t trust it on this topic anyway.

You probably can’t find much about it because to Japanese people the earthquake and tsunami was a much much bigger disaster and the rebuilding efforts from that are still ongoing.

The western media got obsessed almost exclusively on the Fukushima disaster (because OH NOES NUCLEAR), it’s quite eerie how when tens of thousands of people were still missing and being searched for, the global media was focused on a disaster that has so far killed less than 10 people directly.

Why would you not trust the below considering that people can and do independently buy Geiger counters and measure dosage themselves?

In April 2011, the United States Department of Energy published projections of the radiation risks over the next year for people living in the neighborhood of the plant. Potential exposure could exceed 20 mSv/year (2 rems/year) in some areas up to 50 kilometers from the plant. That is the level at which relocation would be considered in the USA, and it is a level that could cause roughly one extra cancer case in 500 young adults. However, natural radiation levels are higher in some part of the world than the projected level mentioned above, and about 4 people out of 10 can be expected to develop cancer without exposure to radiation.[308][309] Further, the radiation exposure resulting from the accident for most people living in Fukushima is so small compared to background radiation that it may be impossible to find statistically significant evidence of increases in cancer.[310]

My perspective is that of a Gaikogaijin living in Japan.

It’s too soon. IF the releases will have long-term statistical consequences, it will be measurable over half a century across large segments of population. Not to mention the fact that contaminants might migrate over time, that the area involved is large and something might have been missed, and that political, legal and financial human factors might interfere with or prejudice current studies (i.e., there might be lying and ass-covering going on now that will be less prominent decades later.)

It’s way too soon for anything “final” to be said on the subject.

Well with a username like that, coremelt ought to be qualified to give an answer. :slight_smile:

I do agree that the media coverage gave more coverage to Fukushima than the tsunami aftermath, some of it trivially - but then again it could potentially have been one of the worst disasters the world has ever seen.

It’s just transpired that they were considering evacuating Tokyo, which would have led to something like the collapse of the Japanese state.

To be fair, the Fukushima disaster is considered to be on par with Chernobyl, which was pretty much the story of the decade. So on the whole, I’d say media coverage of Fukushima died off relatively quickly.

It’s only considered to be “on par with Chernobyl” by panicmongering extremists.

While it’s clearly not on a par with Chernobyl, it is the worst nuclear accident since then. Have you been reading the stories that have been coming out in the last couple of days? The disaster was only saved from being a catastrophe because the head of the plant defied orders by Tepco not to use seawater. The panicmongering extremists were definitely more on the right lines than the ‘nothing for you to see here’ crowd.

Thanks for the input. I was definitely irritated with (what I thought) what was overblown coverage, followed by the inane move by the Germans to get away from nuclear power. I was hoping that now that the major crisis has been averted that more sober analysis would follow.

That said, the “1 extra cancer in 500” is worse than I was expecting (or hoping). If this happened in an area with 5M people (not unlikely in Japan) then that’s another 10k deaths which, even when compared to the overall death toll of the earthquake+tsunami, is significant (I have no idea the population in a 50km radius of the plant). I am totally pro-nuke but I worry that this gives more ammunition to anti-nukers. I understand any numbers right now are speculative but it’s all we’ve got at the moment.


Radiation is complicated stuff.
There are lots of different kinds of radiation and they’re not all equally dangerous.

Take Cesium for example. Sure, it’s dangerous, but for how long? Chernobyl threw around lots of long lived dangerous stuff – explosively. Most of the stuff released by Fukushima was done on purpose, and done in a controlled manner. Cesium, which was in the steam release for example has a very short half life. 6.25 hours. (link below). That means over the course of 1 day only 6.25% of the radiation is left actually around. In a week it’s basically gone.


Missed the edit window.
I think more important is the amount of radioactive iodine and strontium that is released as they are long lived and leak into the food supply.

I’m bringing up this semi-zombie thread to say I was wrong.

I did a google search for on Cesium-127 and not cesium-137 which have wildly different half lives. (6.25 days vs ~30 years).