Tsunamis and Radiation: Seriously?
“I arrived to chaos–people were desperately boarding trains trying to get out of there. My grandmother found me after a couple of days, wandering around the station. Soon afterwards I came down with a high fever. My mom was called because they thought I would die. I didn’t, but now I sometimes wonder if cancer is part of my future.”
This direct testimony from a Chernobyl survivor bears witness to the horrors of nuclear disasters. It has been reported that less than 50 people died as a direct effect of the accident and only 4000 suffered from thyroid cancer from the long term effects of radiation (99% survived), but people in the area suffer from a “paralyzing fatalism,” due to their fears about radiation poisoning.
The same is happening today as a result of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami-related Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. Obviously, warnings were in order for those living near to the power plant, but there is really no risk to United States residents. According to Dr. Wade Allison, professor of nuclear and medical physics at the University of Oxford, radiation fallout from “Fukushima is less than 1% of that at Chernobyl.” Despite past advice to the contrary from the Japanese government, even the tap water is Tokyo is not too radioactive to drink and some Fukushima vegetables are safe to eat. As for Californians needing to avoid fish, that is simply ridiculous. The levels of radioactivity that make it to our shores are negligible.
Again, it is important to assess the information for ourselves and not just trust the “experts” or even the press. We recommend reading Dr. Allison’s excellent article (linked above). It gives a good balanced view–we do not need to live by fear.