The reports from eschatological finance site Zero Hedge on the Fukushima nuclear disaster's aftermath make instructive reading. For instance, today's report that tens of trillions of Becquerels have spilled into the Pacific:
... and moments ago reality struck again, when the Nikkei newspaper reported that readings of tritium in seawater taken from the bay near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has shown 4700 becquerels per liter.Tens of trillions of Becquerels! nearly 5000 per liter of seawater! the end is nigh.
Anyone know what a Becquerel is? One Bq is defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second:
For example, natural potassium (40K) in a typical human body produces 4,000 disintegrations per second, 4 kBq of activity.Heaven forfend! The most radioactive measured water near Fukushima is 70 times as radioactive as normal people!
Russia Today also reports:
The level of radiation at the site [of a highly contaminated leak] was estimated at 100 millisieverts per hour, while the safe level of radiation is 1-13 millisieverts per year, according to ITAR-TASS news agency.Well, 4 mSv per year is the natural background dose so one can only imagine where ITAR-TASS is getting its data. US radiation workers are allowed 50mSv per year. The contamination level described would likely be fatal if sustained over a day or two, but then it's still 1/100th the level of radioactivity of some trans-uranic waste from US reactors. I wonder why RT wouldn't put this into the proper context?
Now why might the Russian government, drawing substantial economic and political power from its oil and gas exports, want to put a downer on nuclear power? More interestingly, why might Zero Hedge want to support the aims of the Russian government?
Lewis Page at El Reg points out that the 100mSv is beta particles, so you'd have to splash around in or drink the water for it to have any effect. Gamma is 1.5mSv/hr, which means a nuclear worker can work around the water for four 8 hour shifts before approaching their annual radiation limit.