OT - Nuclear Fallout Map

User Forum Topic
Submitted by DataAgent on March 12, 2011 - 3:40pm

Submitted by Eugene on March 12, 2011 - 3:52pm.

Rad is not a unit of fallout. That map is meaningless.

Submitted by ucodegen on March 12, 2011 - 4:12pm.

Eugene wrote:
Rad is not a unit of fallout. That map is meaningless.

But Rad is a measurement of ionizing (high energy) radiation, which is related to fallout. It indicates the strength if its related to units of time.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topi...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rad_%28unit%29

Submitted by Eugene on March 12, 2011 - 4:25pm.

ucodegen wrote:
Eugene wrote:
Rad is not a unit of fallout. That map is meaningless.

But Rad is a measurement of ionizing (high energy) radiation, which is related to fallout. It indicates the strength if its related to units of time.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topi...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rad_%28unit%29

You use rads to measure the cumulative amount of radiation, or 'the dose', absorbed by your body. At any given level of fallout, your dose depends on the duration of exposure, being indoors/outdoors, having an air filter in your AC that traps radioactive particles, etc. etc.

At the very least, they would want to use rads per hour. (And I'm pretty sure that the map does not show rads per hour. 750 rads/hr is the level of radiation 20 miles downwind of a 1 megaton nuclear explosion, not something you see 5000 miles from a reactor meltdown.)

The correct unit to measure fallout is becquerels per square meter or curies per square kilometer.

Submitted by ILoveRegulation on March 12, 2011 - 4:46pm.

Information from a poster on Mother Jones:

0-50 rads - No obvious short-term effects
80-120 rads - You have a 10% chance of vomiting and experiencing nausia for a few days
130 -170 rads - You have a 25% chance of vomiting and contracting other symptoms
180-220 rads - You have a 50% chance of vomiting and having other severe physical effects
270-330 rads - 20% chance of death in 6 weeks, or you will recover in a few months.
400-500 rads - 50% chance of death
550-750 rads - Nausea within a few hours ; no survivors
> 1000 rads - immediate incapacitation and death within a week or less.

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/...

Could a meltdown in Japan wipe out a large portion of the Western U.S.? It doesn't seem likely, but I know nothing about nuclear power.

Submitted by ucodegen on March 12, 2011 - 5:52pm.

Eugene wrote:
The correct unit to measure fallout is becquerels per square meter or curies per square kilometer.

Yes and no. Both Becquerel and Curies relate to decay rate. There is no relation to the damage of human tissue, nor to the amount of energy delivered to target - which relate to Rads, Rems(roentgen) or Sieverts. Both of these measurements (Becquerel, Curies ) map directly to readings on unshielded counters (moment you start shielding the counter, you are considering energy).

The measures that are important to human 'survivability' are based in Rads/Rems because they also account for the potential tissue damage.

Eugene wrote:
At the very least, they would want to use rads per hour.
Definitely. Or better Rems/hr because it takes into account the potential of the particular type of radiation to cause tissue damage.

Came across a good info source on Radiation:
http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultrane...
Half way down, has a comparative between different sources, including 3-mile island and Chernobyl.

Submitted by ILoveRegulation on March 12, 2011 - 6:01pm.

Pretty good story and video:

http://bigthink.com/ideas/31595

It sounds like we are past three-mile island at this point and entering into Chernobyl territory where cancer rates are going to spike within a certain radius. Unfortunately, it sounds like there are more reactors at risk here -- up to 5 -- so this could be a mega-nuclear disaster on top of a mega-natural disaster.

Submitted by KSMountain on March 12, 2011 - 6:21pm.

That article was sensationalist and misleading in my opinion. Exclamation point in the title should have been an immediate clue I guess.

He says "The failsafe systems failed" without ever mentioning that the control rods dropped automatically, as they were supposed to.

Not to imply the situation isn't very serious...

I've been trying to follow this super closely. If anyone has a link to an agenda-free site with detailed current information, I'd love to know about it.

Submitted by ILoveRegulation on March 12, 2011 - 6:45pm.

Poster Common Sense from this article seems like the real deal:

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/...

So it sounds like possibly two of the reactors are in meltdown and the question is whether the meltdown will be contained in the containment facility or whether it will actually 'melt through' and cause some type of radioactive explosion.

Common Sense expects the meltdown to be contained in the containment facility. However, he says the entire core melted down at Three Mile Island, but wikipedia says that only part of the core melted down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Mile_...

Further, the Three Mile Island reactor is different than the Japanese reactors. Supposedly, the Japanese reactors are 40 years old and it's not clear how well they can withstand a meltdown.

Submitted by KSMountain on March 12, 2011 - 6:51pm.

This seems to be a site that "Brings Data":
http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/12/ja...

There seems to be some good info in the comments.

The site overall appears to have a pro-Nuc slant, but that may be because folks in the biz are hanging out there.

Submitted by KSMountain on March 12, 2011 - 7:06pm.

ILoveRegulation wrote:
Poster Common Sense from this article seems like the real deal:

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/...

So it sounds like possibly two of the reactors are in meltdown and the question is whether the meltdown will be contained in the containment facility or whether it will actually 'melt through' and cause some type of radioactive explosion.

Common Sense expects the meltdown to be contained in the containment facility. However, he says the entire core melted down at Three Mile Island, but wikipedia says that only part of the core melted down.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Mile_...

Further, the Three Mile Island reactor is different than the Japanese reactors. Supposedly, the Japanese reactors are 40 years old and it's not clear how well they can withstand a meltdown.

The motherjones article was a lot better (can't believe I'm saying that).

If you read your TMI wiki link you'll see multiple studies have had trouble showing even one death as a result of Three Mile Island - which I venture to say is not what most people think.

Submitted by ILoveRegulation on March 12, 2011 - 7:23pm.

KSMountain wrote:

If you read your TMI wiki link you'll see multiple studies have had trouble showing even one death as a result of Three Mile Island - which I venture to say is not what most people think.

One study I saw attributed approximately 1 million deaths to Chernobyl. I'm neutral on nuclear power. There may not have been any deaths due to Three Mile Island, however, the public (rightly) understands that things can go very wrong at nuclear power plants. It's happened before and it may be happening again.

People don't get a good feeling when they see buildings housing nuclear reactors explode. Clearly things aren't hunky-dory in Japan and several TV talking heads have said that using sea water as a coolant is basically a last line of defense.

Submitted by KSMountain on March 12, 2011 - 7:57pm.

Agree.

Btw, after reading further, I see now my bravenewclimate site is *extremely* pro Nuc. There is still good info there though.

Submitted by paramount on March 13, 2011 - 12:13am.

A little late now, but how smart is it to build a nuclear power plant in highly seismic areas?

Submitted by an on March 13, 2011 - 12:37am.

If we're affected by this, then ALL of Asia is in deep doodoo. All of Europe will have the fate as West coast of US (roughly 5,540 air miles between Berlin and Tokyo vs 5,433 between LA and Tokyo).

Submitted by Eugene on March 13, 2011 - 1:08am.

paramount wrote:
A little late now, but how smart is it to build a nuclear power plant in highly seismic areas?

Japs don't really have any choice, their whole country is a highly seismic area.

Submitted by KSMountain on March 13, 2011 - 1:58am.

AN wrote:
If we're affected by this, then ALL of Asia is in deep doodoo. All of Europe will have the fate as West coast of US (roughly 5,540 air miles between Berlin and Tokyo vs 5,433 between LA and Tokyo).

Well, it depends on wind/jetstream, right? I believe the prevailing winds there are to the East.

After following this all day, I think we're going to be alright. OTOH, that town with 9,500 souls missing is not going to be alright for a looong time.

Submitted by Arraya on March 13, 2011 - 3:52pm.

http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/
You may not be have been aware of it until now, but The Automatic Earth has an in-house full-blown nuclear safety expert.

The subject of Stoneleigh's master thesis at the law faculty of Warwick University in Coventry, England, where she studied International Law in Development, was nuclear safety research.

After graduating in 1997, she became a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where her research field was power systems, with a specific focus on nuclear safety in Eastern Europe.

The monograph she wrote sets the nuclear safety debate in the political and economic context of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It looks at the technical aspects of nuclear safety, safety upgrade programs, safety culture and the human factor, regulation at all levels and bargaining over reactor closures.

It was published in 1999 under the title Nuclear Safety and International Governance: Russia and Eastern Europe, and it remains available online here at Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Here's her analysis of the situation in Japan:

Submitted by CardiffBaseball on March 14, 2011 - 7:00am.

I'll ask the dumb question (maybe one of the links explains this) since I obviously did not pay attention closely enough in my science classes.

Does a radiation cloud blowing towards the U.S. West Coast stay intact? There is no dissipating or weakening as the cloud is blown eastward?

Submitted by nady on March 14, 2011 - 9:01am.

Long Time lurker. Please be aware that the fallout map linked to this topic is not legit. I looked up the website of Australian Radiation Services which supposedly generated this map.

Here is a quote on their webpage.

"DISCLAIMER: Australian Radiation Services is aware of information about radioactive contamination being spread from the Japanese nuclear reactor incident released under the ARS logo and name. We wish to be clear that this information has not originated from ARS and as such distance ourselves from any such misinformation."

Submitted by DataAgent on March 14, 2011 - 11:47am.

nady wrote:
Long Time lurker. Please be aware that the fallout map linked to this topic is not legit. I looked up the website of Australian Radiation Services which supposedly generated this map.

Here is a quote on their webpage.

"DISCLAIMER: Australian Radiation Services is aware of information about radioactive contamination being spread from the Japanese nuclear reactor incident released under the ARS logo and name. We wish to be clear that this information has not originated from ARS and as such distance ourselves from any such misinformation."

Here's a link to their page:
http://www.australian-radiation-services...

Why would someone fake a map? Trying to pickup some cheap west coast real estate?

Submitted by paramount on March 15, 2011 - 8:55pm.

I found this site that may be helpful:

http://www.radiationnetwork.com/

Submitted by ILoveRegulation on March 16, 2011 - 6:56am.

paramount wrote:
I found this site that may be helpful:

http://www.radiationnetwork.com/

Supposedly any fallout is likely to hit the Northwest first. Current readings on that map are 14 in Vancouver, 38 in Seattle, 25 in San Francisco, and 18 in Arizona.

If the U.S. continues to build nuclear plants, I hope the government provides whatever subsidies are needed so that they can be way overbuilt. Leaving energy production solely to private corporations has led to too many disasters (Gulf of Mexico, Fukushima, etc.). The market doesn't work when it comes to energy as externalities and tail risk is ignored. This disaster just proves once again what a fraud libertarianism is.

In the Fukushima case, I read that it was built for a 23 foot Tsunami. If the Japanese government had provided subsidies so that the plant could have withstood a 40 foot Tsunami, Japan wouldn't be in this situation.

Submitted by ILoveRegulation on March 16, 2011 - 7:02am.

KSMountain wrote:
That article was sensationalist and misleading in my opinion. Exclamation point in the title should have been an immediate clue I guess.

He says "The failsafe systems failed" without ever mentioning that the control rods dropped automatically, as they were supposed to.

Not to imply the situation isn't very serious...

I've been trying to follow this super closely. If anyone has a link to an agenda-free site with detailed current information, I'd love to know about it.

If anything, the Big Think article underestimated the risk. The failsafe systems did indeed fail. Control rods are only used to stop the nuclear reaction. Continuous flow of water is then needed for months afterwards to cool the fuel. In this case, the backup power failed, they ran out of battery power, and the backup systems that should have provided a constant flow of water also failed.

The site you linked to clearly has a pro-nuclear agenda.

Submitted by SD Transplant on March 16, 2011 - 7:13am.

Per this site, I believe the situation is much more serious than described by the Japanese Govt & MSM.

"Sometimes it is much more important to watch what people are doing rather than what they are saying.
For example, a significant number of foreign governments are now evacuating personnel from Tokyo.
Why would they be evacuating if there was no threat?
Posted below are 27 signs that the nuclear crisis in Japan is much worse than either the mainstream media or the Japanese government have been telling us. When you take all of these clues and you put them together it really does paint a frightening picture....
#1 Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan is urging all people living within 30 kilometers of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility to stay indoors.
#2 Andre-Claude Lacoste, the head of France's Nuclear Safety Authority, says that the containment vessel surrounding the No. 2 reactor at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex is "no longer sealed".
#3 Radiation levels in Tokyo are already 10 times above normal levels.
#4 Reuters is reporting that some residents of Tokyo are already starting to flee the city.
#5 Radiation levels in one city north of Tokyo, Utsunomiya, were recently reported to be 33 times above normal levels.
#6 Radiation levels in the city of Saitama have been reported to be 40 times above normal levels.
#7 According to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the "possibility of further radioactive leakage is heightening."
#8 The Japanese government is admitting that radiation levels near the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex are very harmful to human health.
#9 According to the World Nuclear Association, exposure to over 100 millisieverts of radiation a year can lead to cancer. At this point the level of radiation being measured right outside the number 4 reactor at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex is 400 millisieverts per hour.
#10 A U.S. Navy crew that was assisting in relief efforts was exposed to a month’s worth of nuclear radiation in just a single hour.
#11 According to the U.S. Navy, low levels of radiation have been detected at their bases in Yokosuka and Atsugi.
#12 The USS Ronald Reagan recently detected significant levels of radiation 100 miles off the Japanese coast.
#13 The operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex has pulled out 750 of the 800 workers that were working at the facility.
#14 The French embassy in Tokyo is advising French citizens to leave the city.
#15 The German embassy in Tokyo is advising all German citizens to leave the country entirely.
#16 German technology company SAP is evacuating their offices in Tokyo.
#17 Austria has announced that it is moving its embassy from Tokyo to Osaka due to fears about the radiation.
#18 Finland is urging all of their citizens to leave Tokyo.
#19 The Czech military is sending planes to Japan specifically to evacuate the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
#20 Air China is canceling many flights to Tokyo.
#21 The Chinese Embassy has announced that it will be evacuating all Chinese citizens from the Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Iwate prefectures.
#22 Russia is making preparations to evacuate civilians and military units from the Kuril Islands.
#23 Physicist Frank von Hippel recently told the New York Times the following about this disaster: "It’s way past Three Mile Island already".
#24 The president of France's nuclear safety authority says that this crisis is now almost as bad as Chernobyl was....

"It's clear we are at Level 6, that's to say we're at a level in between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl."
#25 There have been reports of extremely high radiation at another nuclear facility in Japan. It has been reported that at the Onagawa nuclear plant radiation that is 700 times the normal level was detected at one point.
#26 One anonymous senior nuclear industry executive told The Times Of India that Japanese power industry managers are "basically in a full-scale panic" and that "they don't know what to do".
#27 It is also being reported that there were over 600,000 spent fuel rods stored at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex. Most of these rods were apparently stored near the top of the 6 reactor buildings. There have already been major explosions at three of those buildings. It is now feared that there is now nothing to prevent many of these spent fuel rods from releasing radiation into the atmosphere. That is really, really bad news.
So is there a threat that nuclear radiation from Japan could reach the United States?
Well, actually everyone agrees that radiation could reach the United States. The controversy is whether or not it will be enough to be harmful to human health.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is admitting that it is "quite possible" that nuclear fallout from this disaster could reach the United States. In fact, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman David McIntyre says that there could already be radiation from Japan over America....

Right now it's quite possible that there could be some radiation floating over the United States.
But most government officials in the U.S. are insisting that there is "no threat" to the health of American citizens from this crisis at this point.
So how would nuclear radiation from Japan get transported to the United States?
Well, if radiation released by a damaged nuclear reactor got up into the jet stream, the first major land mass that it would encounter would be North America. In fact, the jet stream commonly takes air from over Japan directly over the west coast of the United States. The following video demonstrates this fact beautifully....

Source & video here:

http://seenoevilspeaknoevilhearnoevil.bl...

Submitted by Arraya on March 16, 2011 - 7:27am.

From what I have read due to the reactor design an international radioactive release is very very low probability. From what some engineers and seismologists said this accident is not and TEPCO was warned. Ignored warnings can almost always be decoded to a cost-cutting decision.

For Japan, large-scale contamination is a different story. But, yeah, it's not that it is worse then they are telling people, it's that they are bargaining and in denial themselves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias

The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred that it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.[1]

Submitted by ILoveRegulation on March 16, 2011 - 7:34am.

Arraya wrote:
From what I have read due to the reactor design an international radioactive release is very very low probability.

I'm not so sure about that. There is a lot of spent fuel on site that needs a continuous supply of water to keep cool. Radiation around the site is getting so high that all the workers were forced to evacuate. If they can't figure out a way to keep the spent fuel cool, then there probably won't be an explosion, but it could all melt over the course of many months with the radiation contaminating an ever wider area.

From what I've read, I get the sense that this has the potential to be worse than Chernobyl due to the large amount of spent fuel.

Submitted by Arraya on March 16, 2011 - 7:55am.

ILoveRegulation wrote:
Arraya wrote:
From what I have read due to the reactor design an international radioactive release is very very low probability.

I'm not so sure about that. There is a lot of spent fuel on site that needs a continuous supply of water to keep cool. Radiation around the site is getting so high that all the workers were forced to evacuate. If they can't figure out a way to keep the spent fuel cool, then there probably won't be an explosion, but it could all melt over the course of many months with the radiation contaminating an ever wider area.

From what I've read, I get the sense that this has the potential to be worse than Chernobyl due to the large amount of spent fuel.

Sure lots of spent fuel but it needs a dissipation mechanism. Chernobyl had a large nuclear explosion. Which is not likely due to design. A complete meltdown at these reactors would not cause the kind of explosion. This is not to say the local contamination can't be severe. But you need a mechanism to eject it. I suppose a combination of the proper wind flows and a monster fire could do some damage but we are getting into the less and less probable.

Heck, when Chernobyl blew radiation alarms in Sweden were going off, almost immediately

Submitted by ILoveRegulation on March 16, 2011 - 8:09am.

Arraya wrote:

Heck, when Chernobyl blew radiation alarms in Sweden were going off, almost immediately

Not true. Chernobyl blew on April 26 and on April 28 some workers going into a Swedish nuclear plant set off alarms.

I don't know how bad this thing is going to get, but it seems like pretty much everyone has been underestimating the danger up to this point.

Submitted by Arraya on March 16, 2011 - 8:38am.

Still, it goes to my point - that there was a powerful ejection mechanism that released a large amount of radioactive material into the atmosphere. In these reactors we don't have a mechanism to do this. Not saying that one can't manifest due to the unpredictability of complexity of the situation. It's just very low on the probability scale due to reactor design as opposed to this accident which was not that low on the probability scale. Actually, experts did not underestimate this. The underestimation was partially a monetary influenced event and exacerbated by normalcy bias (during the emergency). Just like with Katrina and the Gulf blow-out.

Submitted by CA renter on March 16, 2011 - 5:04pm.

Anyone here considered "taking a vacation" back east as a result of the nuclear problems?

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