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OK so with information on the reactors now showing meltdowns, what does this mean?

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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:41 PM
Original message
OK so with information on the reactors now showing meltdowns, what does this mean?
Before the reasoned view was that we had nothing to worry about, but this was when we didn't know what we know now.

Knowing what we know now, how safe are we in California? In the US? In Asia? And in Europe?
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Marblehead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
1. Chernobyl x 4 or 5or 6??
This will be a global event because they can't turn it off.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
2. It means that there's a long road ahead before the situation
is under control. It's a big deal. As for safety in the US, I wouldn't panic. Just keep your eye on the news and pay attention. It's unlikely to affect us too much, in terms of radiation levels. Economic impact, on the other hand, could be an issue. Lots of stuff that comes from Japan may not be arriving in the quantities required. Since many industries use Japanese made parts and components, there could be production problems.

For the Japanese people, if you care about them, it's much more serious. I'm more concerned with that than with the minor effects it will have on us here. But, that's just me.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Do you think this will affect China, Korea and Southeast Asia?
My take away is that this is not good
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Fortunately for them, the wind has not been blowing in that direction
But this is far from over. Unless they get it under control soon, the wind will at some point blow the radioactive releases their way. And they're ALREADY getting shipments of Japan's contaminated goods. Though I think I remember reading that they've banned or are going to ban certain goods from Japan.
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eowyn_of_rohan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
29. What direstion has it been blowng?
East?
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. It will affect many places. Some more than others. It depends
on many things. The closer you are to Japan, the more dangerous. The farther away, the less dangerous. The people in Japan are very close. They're the most at risk. Californians? Not so much.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Thank you, very good take on it. I am very concerned about those living locally than
us over here. So far the University testing stations in US show minimal reaching here. For Japan? Not such a good story.

Thanks mineralman
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Just trying to keep things in perspective.
Panic is not an appropriate reaction for us. If you live in Tokyo, though, it seems like panic could be on the horizon.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
18. Economic impact is already hitting us...
I posted something about this last week.

A buddy of mine works in the semi-conductor industry. That area of Japan that was hit by the Tsunami, Sendai(sp), was the for most manufacturer of a very particular type of copper foil and spun glass type "foil" used in the layers of semi-conductors.

While other nations also make these foils, they didn't make them in the quantity or quality that Japan did.

One of the Fab plants that my friend dealt with is basically gone. As in it was completely washed away.

Nations such as China, South Korea and Malaysia are working like crazy to take up the slack. But there will be a gap, a pretty substantial gap in semi-conductors in about 3-4 weeks when the supply runs out.

Estimated time for ramp up to take up the slack? 6 to 8 months.

That means any gewgaw with a semi-conductor in it will be delayed. Which means probable layoffs, temporary, but layoffs never the less. And a certain ripple if not a good sized wave in the worlds economy.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:59 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Yes, And since US auto manufacturers use lots of
Japanese parts these days, production could slow down. Worse, parts for older Japanese vehicles will start to run short soon. Need an alternator for your Nissan? Good luck. These shortages will continue for some time, and some won't become apparent until existing stocks are depleted.

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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 07:11 AM
Response to Reply #21
40. Very true. Plus Toyota is shutting it's US plants due to the earthquake
and Tsunami as well.
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
37. fRANCE and other countries in europe said don't eat green
leafy vegs and drink milk. sort of says it for me.
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
3. It means more Happy Talk is on the way
and less verifiable info

yup
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
4. The reasoned view was NEVER that we had nothing to worry about
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 01:51 PM by franzia99
Numerous independent physicists had been warning all along that this could be Chernobyl on steroids and that TEPCO and Japan were downplaying the seriousness of the situation.

Let's see, Chernobyl caused cancer in people who lived over a thousand miles from the plant. I saw an article recently that said in Germany people still can't hunt and eat the wild boars because they're too radioactive from eating the plant life. Chernobyl happened in 1986.

Fukushima has 3 breached reactors and 4 spent fuel pools and the Japanese have made no progress in getting the situation under control. Chernobyl had only one reactor and no spent fuel pools. So, this could be "Chernobyl on steroids" as some have warned. There is a reasonable possibility that YOU, yes you in California will be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. You've already been exposed to some. Despite what the media says, independent physicists are saying yes, what you've been exposed to already could cause cancer, but the risk is still low.

I don't think we have enough info at this point to assess the true risk, but it could be catastrophic even for you in California.

PS. Enjoy the tens of thousand of tons of radioactive water that Japan is sending your way.
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. OK. Since CA. has been exposed already. NY, Vermont and WA. State have found
Iodine 131 in their milk...two opposite ends of the U.S. Which means if Vermont has contaminated milk, so should every state between WA. and Vermont? Should we be filtering our water yet? I've already given up on the milk. I have the water filter, but don't want to have to use it yet if we don't need to...to save the filters.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. From a MD in Vancouver, BC (emphasis his) about I-131 and cancer. FWIW, thought good explanation
Let's look at I-131.

If your doctor sends you to a nuclear medicine department to have your thyroid function tested, we use I-131 to test that. The dose we give you is approximately 111,000 Bq of I-131 to see how much your thyroid takes up,10,000 times the amount detected in rainwater at SFU. In 50 years of performing this test, there is zero difference in cancer rates between tested and untested populations.

If you come to us with a hyperactive thyroid, we also treat that with I-131, in the amount 370,000,000 Bq. This is 35,000,000 times the amount in the rainwater. Again, you guessed it, zero difference in cancer rates, even in the 10% of people who need a 2nd treatment.

If you come with thyroid cancer, we treat you with about 5,000,000,000 Bq of I-131. Yes, 5 billion. With a "B."

Even at this amount, there is no convincing evidence of increased cancers of other kinds, only the slightest non-significant trends toward possibly increased risk. Actually, some individuals get a recurrence of their thyroid cancer, and we may treat them with total doses of 22 billion Bq of I-131. At this point, still, the long term evidence is not clear. There may be a very tiny risk of a subsequent cancer 5 to 20 years later, and even this risk is so small that it triggers arguments between those who think there is increased risk and those who think not.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. +1000
Excellent counter-information. Thank you very much!
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. One of the oddest experiences I've had is taking I-131
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 03:24 PM by uppityperson
I had severe hyperthyroid and they wanted to nuke/kill it. I went in to nuclear medicine and they handed me a medicine cup. Actually it was a cup in a cup in a cup. I started to pick the pill out and they say "NO! Just swallow it, but don't touch it."

I felt in a damned if I did, damned if I didn't situation. I took it, came home to sleep and pee alone for the next week, to not sit by my family, not cuddle my child. About 5 weeks later I started slowing way down, then more and more daily as my body ran out of t3/t4.

I was mean to my kid though. Put some glow in the dark makeup on my throat and went into the bathroom, shut off the light and said "look". The response was "oh my god! oh my god! That ISN'T FUNNY!!!!"

Edited to add that I've been watching this closely, what with having a kid and all and having had my thyroid killed, knowing that the aftermath isn't as simple as "take a synthroid daily and all will be fine".
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Yeah, an overactive thyroid is no picnic, nor is the treatment.
I'm sorry you had to go through that.
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #15
23. This is actually bad information.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 04:58 PM by girl gone mad
Again, I would caution those who are not trained well in the hard sciences to refrain from making premature assumptions, particularly when these assumptions are based on word-of-mouth accounts with no legitimate sourcing. You let your biases guide you to wrong conclusions. Iodine-131 is far less dangerous at extremely high doses.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #23
32. +10000
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 10:02 PM by nadinbrzezinski
I got that from the training on why we gave them pills if needed to.

:hi:

Oh and for muricans, stick to your centrum... really... no grams of KI PLEASE!
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. This is why non-scientists need to be cautious when evaluating information.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 04:47 PM by girl gone mad
"Due to its mode of beta decay, iodine-131 is notable for causing mutation and death in cells which it penetrates, and other cells up to several millimeters away. For this reason, high doses of the isotope are sometimes paradoxically less dangerous than low doses, since they tend to kill thyroid tissues which would otherwise become cancerous as a result of the radiation. For example, children treated with moderate dose of I-131 for thyroid adenomas had a detectable increase in thyroid cancer, but children treated with a much higher dose did not. Similarly most studies of very high dose I-131 for treatment of Graves disease have failed to find any increase in thyroid cancer, even though there is linear increase in thyroid cancer risk with I-131 absorption at moderate doses.<1> Thus, iodine-131 is increasingly less employed in small doses in medical use (especially in children), but increasingly is used only in large and maximal treatment doses, as a way of killing targeted tissues. This is known as "therapeutic use.""

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-131


Please be aware that some people will try to exploit the general public's lack of scientific knowledge by promoting talking points that, while they may seem intuitive and reasonable, are actually dangerously wrong.
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. Thank you!
I appreciate your help.
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librechik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
17. There have been MANY "scientists" on the MSM who have declared there is nothing to worry about
I wonder if they are double-registered as scientists who don't believe in global climate change...In the "scientists who drive luxury cars" list
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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #4
25. No, you can hunt and eat wild boar in Germany
If you'd like to do so, try these folks: http://www.eurosafari.com/germany-tours.htm

The rest of your post is rather high on the fearmongering scale. Could it be bad for the US? Yes. Is it bad for the US? Not yet. It's very bad for Japan. Worse than Chernobyl? Not even close. The graphite in the reactor at Chernobyl caught on fire, effectively spraying part of the reactor core into the atmosphere as fine dust. That's as bad as possible when talking about contamination.

Even with meltdowns, the nuclear material in Japan is contained, as long as the concrete basins under the reactor vessels can hold it. So far, nobody's reporting a failure in those. Ironically, this makes it worse for Japan, 'cause the "fallout" from the cores is still there.
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GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. You CAN hunt, but there is a problem with radioactive boars
It's no secret that Germany has a wild boar problem. Stories of marauding pigs hit the headlines with startling regularity: Ten days ago, a wild boar attacked a wheelchair-bound man in a park in Berlin; in early July, a pack of almost two dozen of the animals repeatedly marched into the eastern German town of Eisenach, frightening residents and keeping police busy; and on Friday morning, a German highway was closed for hours after 10 wild boar broke through a fence and waltzed onto the road.

Even worse, though, almost a quarter century after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in Ukraine, a good chunk of Germany's wild boar population remains slightly radioactive -- and the phenomenon has been costing the German government an increasing amount of money in recent years.

<<snip>>

Many of the boar that are killed land on the plates of diners across Germany, but it is forbidden to sell meat containing high levels of radioactive caesium-137 -- any animals showing contamination levels higher than 600 becquerel per kilogram must be disposed of. But in some areas of Germany, particularly in the south, wild boar routinely show much higher levels of contamination. According to the Environment Ministry, the average contamination for boar shot in Bayerischer Wald, a forested region on the Bavarian border with the Czech Republic, was 7,000 becquerel per kilogram. Other regions in southern Germany aren't much better. <<snip>>

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,70...
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JuniperLea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:58 PM
Response to Original message
8. The unknowns still outweigh the knowns...
Even though we know now what we didn't know then...

I feel icky... did I just channel Donald Rumsfeld?
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robdogbucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
9. Take it or leave it, but there is no "safe," level of radiation
This is an excerpt from an article, "Fukushima: A Month of Media Disinformation"
Posted: 2011/04/13
From: Mathaba


"...Yes, there is naturally occurring "background radiation" of various sorts--and that causes a level of cancer. As the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (www.nirs.org ) states: "Even exposure to background radiation causes some cancers. Additional exposures cause additional risks." Cited is a 700-page 2005 National Academy of Sciences report, "Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation," that concluded that: "There is no safe level or threshold of ionizing radiation exposure." There have been numerous similar reports...

...The classic book on disinformation on nuclear technology is Nukespeak, published in 1982. It is dedicated to George Orwell, author of 1984, and written by Stephen Hilgarten, Richard C. Bell and Rory O'Connor.

It opens by declaring that "the history of nuclear development has been profoundly shaped by the manipulation through official secrecy and extensive public-relations campaigns. Nukespeak and the use of information-management techniques have consistently distorted the debate over nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Time and time again, nuclear developers have confused their hopes with reality, publicly presented their expectations and assumptions as facts, covered up damaging information, harassed and fired scientists who disagreed with established policy, refused to recognize the existence of problems"claimed that there was no choice but to follow their policies."

In the first month of the Fukushima disaster, there's been an explosion of Nukespeak by the nuclear power establishment aided and abetted by a compliant media."

#http://www.karlgrossman.com



"...Me, I'm waiting so patiently
Lying on the floor
I'm just trying to do my jig-saw puzzle
Before it rains anymore..."

Jagger/Richards




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deaniac21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
13. Our deficit will be gone before those reactors quit melting.
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librechik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
16. I think we are most afraid of an explosion after a meltdown
which could still happen and poison the atmosphere, causing a radioactive cloud to drift wherever...

I doubt thousands will die immediately (or even one) but the damage to later generations will be untold.
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girl gone mad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
24. The reason "meltdown" is a dangerous state..
cracks and expansions in the fuel increase the exposed surface area, which releases more radiation into the water and steam. The fission products which may result from chain reactions in the melting fuel will weaken the containment structures and can increase the chance of a breach, even if the fuel doesn't directly melt through the vessel. The heat and pressure buildup also cause risk of explosion, which means they may need to vent more radioactive gases.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #24
28. And there is that fear that it might hit the water table...
Which scares the shit out of me
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
30. New talking points on the way
on a serious response it can go from bad to worst, depending on whether it enters things like the water table (which it is already doing)

Worst case scenario, the exclusion zone in Japan will be larger than Chernobyl

For Americans...

Well here you go

http://nadinbrzezinski.posterous.com/on-what-you-can-do...

Apparently that is an old issue round these parts. Oh and DO listen to Arnie Gunderson at Fairwinds on this. He (and Michio Okako) have been great on explaining this to us mere lay people in good and easy to understand terms.

Oh and realize, appart of happy talk, you are going to see more ... lying and hiding of info by both the compromised media and the industry.

It has a name in the realm of politics... corporatism.
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Paradoxical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
31. There is a legitimate reason to worry if you are near Japan.
Like China or Eastern Russia.

Very little reason to worry if you live in the US (possibility of exception for Alaska depending on winds).

Very, very little reason to worry if you live in Western Europe.
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Harmony Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. Not true
We are approaching (probably surpassing) what we knew of Chernobyl's impact. I don't think any part of the globe can escape the potential slow motion train wreck taking place in front of us.

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Paradoxical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Chernobyl did not have negative health effects on US citizens.
And I don't believe it was shown to cause health problems anywhere else other than areas relatively close to Eastern Europe.
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Harmony Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. This is different
which is why we can't make assumptions based on past information.

Chernobyl's impact was spread far beyond Eastern Europe. Honestly, our information may not be that accurate to begin with given how people were not warned of the slow danger that lurked given the information avenues people had access during that period compared to now. Furthermore, it impacted the poorer portion of Europe, which was mostly under the cloak of the Iron curtain.

Lets face the truth, that is they are finding some concentration of radioactive Iodine, and Cessium in rain water in the Eastern portion of the United States. Basically, the radioactive material has traveled all the way across the pacific, beyond the Western United States to the other coast of the United States (in other words a massive distance) So, the cumulative effect is the concern as well as how it will spread out.

Our understanding of wind patterns and how they act given they are in flux is incomplete.



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Paradoxical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Yes, levels 6 times MCL. That is still an insignificant level.
MCL is based on chronic exposure of the the length of a 70 year lifespan.

Material will be deposited all over the Earth. Just like every nuclear detonation has. That doesn't mean that levels are dangerous.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. My worry is not what will happen in the immidiate future
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 11:04 PM by Taverner
These things have a way of causing cancer 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 years later...

Long term effects of radiation is something we just don't know

I am certain that there won't be short term consequences (ON EDIT: in the US or Europe)

But 30 years from now, if me or my family dies suddenly from a fast, resistant cancer - was it Fumishima? Or was it something else?
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in_cog_ni_to Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. You will never be told the TRUTH. Agent Orange. n/t
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