Fukushima Radiation: Just How Bad Is It?


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Three years ago, a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the nation of Japan.

Even worse, the natural disaster sparked the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, which involved a major meltdown at a nuclear power plant. The tsunami carried radioactive water from the plant into the Pacific Ocean.

If that weren’t enough, last year Tokyo Electric Power Company admitted that the leak didn’t end with the tsunami; radioactive water had been pouring into the ocean for some time after the geological event.

There was widespread panic and outrage over TEPCO and the Japanese government’s secretive and dishonest treatment of the catastrophe.

At the same time, there is a growing debate over just how bad the the situation really is in Fukushima and beyond.

One writer and scientist claims that some news stemming from the disaster is in fact “fear mongering”.

James Concha wrote in Forbes that irresponsible writers lacking scientific credentials and a will to do thorough research were scaring people unnecessarily about the fatal nature of the nuclear disaster.

Said Concha, “Many so-called researchers, activists and reporters claim thyroid cancers have exploded in Japan and Japanese children are dying by the thousands.”

He claims that bad science and irresponsible reporting are creating a panic over issues where it’s still too soon to see the full effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Moreover, there may have been an overestimation in how far spread the radiation levels are following the disaster.

Initially there were fears that wind and water would carry high levels of radiation to America and we would be subjected to a series of health problems.

Now one conservation group testing the waters of Oregon said it would be surprised if radiation levels were anything other than normal.

Needless to say, certain anti-nuclear activists are not happy with the idea that concerns over the effects of Fukushima are being dismissed. They claim that the Japanese government and TEPCO are hiding the truth about the disaster from the Japanese people and the world.

So what does it all mean?

It means, frustratingly, that it’s still far too soon to know the full truth of the matter. It may still be a few years before any noticeable health problems are demonstrated in the Japanese population as a result of the Fukushima disaster.

The back and forth debate among nuclear activists and pro-nuclear organizations means that persons will often have their own motives for skewing studies and research. Either we’ll be expected to dismiss the radiation leak or expect that the worst is still to come.

The best thing anyone genuinely concerned about this situation can do is their own research.

Read peer-reviewed scientific studies from experts in the fields of radiation and its effects on populations.

Otherwise, you may be vulnerable to misinformation.

Image via Wikimedia Commons