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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Familiar nuke refrain from the O: Don't worry, be happy

It turns out that our post of yesterday about Fukushima fallout in Portland was right. The O sent a young reporter out to do something with it. Of course, she interviewed a bureaucrat in Salem and dutifully parroted back that there is nothing to be alarmed about -- the usual comparison to chest X-rays or MRIs tells you all you need to know.

Interestingly, not only did "the outskirts of Portland" show the nation's highest recorded levels of radioactive cesium from the accident, but rainwater east of nearby Camas showed the nation's highest levels of radioactive iodine-131. In other words, Portland was dosed by Fukushima as much as, if not more than, anywhere else in the country.

Any level of exposure to ionizing radiation increases one's risk of getting cancer. There is no completely safe dose. Unless you're getting a benefit from it, you don't want it, at any level. And Fukushima gave us some.

Comments (16)

Thank you Jack.


Nothing to fear. The concern is not an apartment bunker buster as Manhattanites are immune to such exposures.

The Cascades Mountains are the first major rain-producing landmass that the lower altitude airborne radioactivity would confront. Perhaps that is why the levels are highest on the west flank of the Cascades.

I hope our media gets on this more. I see comments here talking about particles in the air, but there are other ways this can arrive from Japan, including as part of the debris that's floating our way.

There just seems to be a state media time limit for some stories that ends far short of actual events.

This is an ongoing crisis. The key phrase I've heard is, "Reactor 4 Spent Fuel Pool."

I'm not a nuclear industry expert, but that's where the greatest potential for catastrophic problems seems to be - mainly if any of these ongoing quakes or other events further damages it and exposes the rods to the air.

Stay tuned.

By the way, I think it's awfully misleading of the Oregonian to run a picture of Fukushima reportedly from the day after the quake, looking so nice and pretty.

Especially since the explosions at the nuclear plant hadn't started yet.

If you're going to try and manipulate perceptions on this thing, you might want to bring the skill level up a few notches.

Considering the enormous magnitude of the tsunami and meltdown event and the minuscule dose that resulted, what's the fuss?

Certainly there were magnitudes of magnitudes more health hazards from the idiots that gave their kids iodine than from any fallout, right?

Hey Snoregonian editor & publisher -- to pick up on just piece of your attempted distraction devices: Doctors strictly limit the MRIs & x-rays they expose their patients to in a month, a year, a lifetime; for good reason. And comparing the Fukushima disaster fallout to the 1960's frenzied bomb testIng massive radionuclide global latitudinal showering is inapplicable and deceiving. So, STFU and stick to hawking grocery coupons.

I'm up in arms over this.

Now, what do I do?

I going out to work in the yard. If YOU are so worried about I-131 levels go get you thyroid checked as it absorbs Iodine and collects it as a bodily function, as the Dr. laughs you out of the office, because the levels are so low they are difficult to differentiate from "Background" radiation levels. I think I will go outside and work in the yard this weekend, "Catch some Rays" and REALLY soak up some radiation. It will be good for me as well as most all of you too!

You have done something. Private companies are building 2 new nuclear reactors in Georgia and you've agreed to guarantee the loans as a US taxpayer. Don't worry though: It's only 8.33 billion dollars.

It's the Wall Street finance plan but more upfront this time. Oh, and if anything goes really wrong on Wall Street, you'll still have to pay for that too.

Why have big corporations fretting about doing the best possible job, when they can cut corners and take chances, knowing they're ultimately not on the hook financially? It worked great with derivatives - why not try it with some nuclear reactors?

So you have done something, and welcome to the nuclear power industry.

My otherwise healthy wife has recently been diagnosed with an enlarged thyroid and anomalies in her related blood work. Living rural on the southern coast, there was no fallout testing here. Exposure will certainly be a consideration in the differential diagnosis of her thyroid.

Jack, did you intend to link to a different Oregonian story? Because the one you linked to was written by Joe Rojas-Burke, who is neither especially young nor, obviously, a she. Here's his bio:

Joe Rojas-Burke, The Oregonian
About Me: I write about scientific ideas, discoveries and trends that are shaping the future of the Northwest. I've been a staff writer at The Oregonian since 1999. Before wandering into journalism, I studied biology at Columbia University and worked as a cell biology researcher at the Rockefeller University in New York City. I completed the graduate program in science communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1990.

I think I will go outside and work in the yard this weekend, "Catch some Rays" and REALLY soak up some radiation. It will be good for me as well as most all of you too!

Mark, if you want to be the nuclear toad on this blog, it's fine with me. But why don't you give your full name so that people can Google you and see that you work in the nuclear industry?

Yeah, the fallout from Japan might increase your small chance of cancer to a slightly larger small chance.

You'll probably experience more health hazard from your increased blood pressure from worrying about it.

Yeah, the fallout from Japan might increase your small chance of cancer to a slightly larger small chance.

Where is the science on this?

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