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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-11 12:32 PM
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Fukushima schoolchildren's radiation exposure estimated at half of upper limit
Source: Mainichi Daily News

Fukushima schoolchildren's radiation exposure estimated at half of upper limit

A worker from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency measures radiation levels in a sandbox at the Fukushima University-affiliated kindergarten in Fukushima on May 8, 2011. (Mainichi)
Schoolchildren's cumulative radiation exposure a year in Fukushima Prefecture would be about half the limit for their outdoor activities, if calculated under the current standards, according to the education ministry.

The finding has prompted the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to convene a meeting to seek advice from experts on whether the outdoor activities of schoolchildren in the prefecture should be restricted.

University of Tokyo professor Toshiso Kosako has resigned as a nuclear adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan after criticizing the dose limit as too lax.

On the assumption that the hourly amount of radiation is 3.8 microsieverts -- the current standards for limiting children's outdoor activities during school hours -- the ministry calculated the levels of schoolchildren's cumulative radiation exposure, taking into account their activity patterns.


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I shudder at the coming cancer epidemics in Japan...
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-11 12:44 PM
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1. And Here
That's why the insurance industry is going into overdrive trying to undo HCR. All the cancer cases that Fukushima is going to cause will cost them hundreds of billions unless they can find some way to deny coverage. The pre-existing conditions clause is really good for that, since cancer usually kills slowly, and nobody can really tell when it started. With the lack of stable employment, few will have the same carrier long enough for their cancer to be covered under the old system.

That is also why the Repigs in Congress are in such a rush to gut Medicare and Medicaid.
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-11 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. because our ongoing poisoning by their sponsors will, in fact, bankrupt those same sponsors?
Good point....
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caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-11 01:27 PM
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3. I'm not sure I understand the estimates
It seems like they're focusing a bit obsessively on exposure during and on the way to and from school, and not the question of living in the area in the first place (as though only radiation exposure associated with school activities had health effects).

The ~10 mSv exposure they're calculating - which I take to be additional exposure because of the nuclear accident, on top of whatever the background was - at least can be compared with standard risk assessments for radiation, even if the figure is a bit questionable. A rule of thumb is that if you take the product of number of people exposed and their exposure in rem and divide by 2000, that's roughly the expected excess cancer mortality. 10 mSv is 1 rem, so basically you're looking at 1 fatal cancer per 2000 people. Fukushima prefecture has about 2 million people, so if they were all exposed at this level a pretty conservative estimate would be 1000 additional cancer deaths in this area alone.

I'd say the numbers one would get this way are minimum values. The rate would be higher in children as they're a more vulnerable population. Clearly, the 10 mSv figure is only looking at part of the children's days; one would assume there's exposure at home even if there is a lower exposure rate indoors. And there's also a fair amount of uncertainty in the cancer dose response rule of thumb I mention. It's also a bit early to have much confidence in the radiation exposure projections until the accident situation stabilizes more.

Seems to me that if it's too radioactive to let the kids outside to play during school, it's too radioactive to live in that area. But relocation is costly, and from a certain perspective it's cheaper (and thus "rational") to accept the burden of some thousands of cancer deaths rather than incur the economic (and other) burdens of relocating people.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-11 01:37 PM
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4. Would think they'd be trying to get the children completely OUT of the area ???
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Devil_Fish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-11 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. If I lived there with my 2 year old daughter, I would leave by any means nessasary. NT
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