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Reading Summary: The Panic Over Fukushima.docx

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Geography 3422A/B
Milford Green

The Panic Over Fukushima 11/7/2012 6:11:00 PM The Panic Over Fukushima  Denver – high natural radioactivity o If you live there you get an extra dose of .3 rem of radiation per year (on top of the .62 rem the average American absorbs from various sources) o Lower cancer rate than rest of US – low levels of radiation induce cancer resistance o Rem is a unit of measure to gauge radiation damage to human tissue  International Commission on Radiological Protection – recommends evacuation of a locality wherever the excess radiation dose exceeds .1 rem per year  March 2011 tsunami in Japan – Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant o 15,000 killed by wave o Radiation deaths so small compared to tsunami deaths o Hot spots in Japan that frightened many people showed radiation at .1 rem  Exposure to a dose of 100 rem or more will get you sick right away  In Fukushima accident, workers were restricted in their hours of exposure to make sure that none received a dose greater than 25 rem o Larger dose of 250-350 rem symptoms become life threatening (50% change death) o Dose of 25 rem causes no radiation illness but gives you a 1% chance of getting cancer (in addition to 20% change you already have from “natural” causes) o For larger doses the danger is proportional (50 rem = 2% chance, 74 rem = 3% chance) o Dose of 2,500 rem implies you will get cancer (100%) – cancer dose 
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