Some Myths and Facts About Radiation Poisoning

Time magazine put together this short article to explain the effects of radiation on humans. I don't know how comprehensive or even how right it is, but it's worth reading if you're wondering. The upshot is that the problems at Fukushima present a serious danger to the Japanese, although how much is in dispute. (There is almost none to the US.) And surprisingly, the threat is apparently less from particles in the air than from it getting into the food chain, specifically in dairy products. I had no idea.

For those of you on the west coast who will be watching the jet stream regardless of the assurances that it would take a major nuclear explosion to affect the US, this assessment from Weather Underground may set your mind at ease:

I've been performing a number of runs of HYSPLIT over past few days, and so far great majority of these runs have taken plumes of radioactivity emitted from Japan's east coast eastwards over the Pacific, with the plumes staying over water for at least 5 days. Some of the plumes move over eastern Siberia, Alaska, Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in 5 - 7 days. Such a long time spent over water will mean that the vast majority of the radioactive particles will settle out of the atmosphere or get caught up in precipitation and rained out. It is highly unlikely that any radiation capable of causing harm to people will be left in atmosphere after seven days and 2000+ miles of travel distance. Even the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which had a far more serious release of radioactivity, was unable to spread significant contamination more than about 1000 miles.

For the truly paranoid, this environmental reporter is going to be measuring radiation in Santa Monica starting tomorrow if you want to check.

On the other hand, if you want total reassurance, catch the General Buck "I'm not saying we won't get our hair mussed" Turgidson of nuclear scientists, from the wingnut "Heartland Institute". He is appearing all over television saying that Fukishima is working perfectly and anyone who says otherwise is a punk:

Heartland Science Director Jay Lehr was a guest on more than a dozen TV and radio programs today, talking about the crisis at the nuclear power plants in Japan. Tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern, Jay will be on “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.

Short version of his message: This is nothing like Chernobyl, and (officially) still qualifies as less serious than Three Mile Island. It was the first “don’t panic” message Jay delivered publicly to the local Fox News station in Chicago on Friday. And others commentators are now repeating it as the MSM starts to catch up to him in its coverage.

You can listen to or download Jay’s appearance on the Sean Hannity Show with the player above.Click here to listen to Jay on the G. Gordon Liddy Show.

In what might come as a bit of a surprise to our right-leaning readers, Jay has been on MSNBCtwice to talk about this crisis, and might be on again tomorrow. A producer for MSNBC said Jay was “just a fantastic guest.”

Call me nuts but that fellow doesn't sound all that trustworthy.


Hullabaloo / By Digby

Posted at March 15, 2011, 3:59am

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