Thursday, July 21, 2011

#Radiation in Japan: 100 Millisieverts in Lifetime to Be Set as New Radiation Standard in Japan

How much more meaningless can it get?

The Japanese government is about to set 100 millisieverts as lifetime, cumulative acceptable radiation exposure standard, counting both internal and external radiation exposure, and this is on top of the average 1.5 millisievert/year natural radiation exposure.

Up till now, the acceptable radiation exposure has been 1 millisievert per year, in addition to the natural radiation exposure in Japan which is about 1.5 millisievert per year. There has been no standard for lifetime cumulative radiation exposure.

I read the following Asahi Shinbun article, translated it, and realized how utterly meaningless the whole exercise was. No one knows how much extra radiation that the Japanese (and the rest of the northern hemisphere) have gotten thanks to the broken reactors and spent fuel pools at Fukushima I Nuke Plant. In parts of Fukushima Prefecture, the cumulative air radiation level already exceeded 100 millisieverts.

And how many people, other than the nuke plant workers, have been tested with the whole body counters? Answer: not many. Reasons often cited are: background radiation too high in Fukushima for proper testing; there are not many whole body counters in Japan, 100 at most. Then, I read that a man from Iitate-mura in Fukushima demanded he be tested for radiation using the whole body counter. He finally got his wish several months after the start of the accident, and they refused to tell him the number. He still doesn't know how much radiation he's received.

So, my conclusion is that this new so-called standard or the article like Asahi that discusses the standard is to imprint the number in people's mind: "100 millisieverts, 100 millisieverts, it's safe up to that number." Yes, they'll also tell you it's the lifetime cumulative number, but that doesn't mean a thing when you don't know how much of it you have had to spend already since March.

Soon, as Dr. Yamashita already said in a slip of a tongue, it will be safe up to 100 millisieverts per year.

From Asahi Shinbun (1:25AM JST 7/22/2011):

放射性物質が人体に与える影響を検討していた食品安全委員会の作業部会で21日、「発がん影響が明らかになるのは、生涯の累積線量で100ミリシー ベルト以上」とする事務局案が示された。食品だけでなく、外部環境からの被曝(ひばく)を含む。平時から浴びている自然由来の放射線量は除いた。この案を 軸に来週にも最終結論を出し、厚生労働省に答申する。ただ厚労省からは「基準づくりは難航しそうだ」と、戸惑いの声があがっている。

The working group of the Food Safety Commission that has been considering the effect of radioactive materials on humans disclosed the plan of the secretariat that would say "The cancer-causing effect of radiation becomes only noticeable at and above 100 millisieverts of lifetime cumulative radiation." The number includes not just the internal radiation from food but also external radiation exposure from the environment. It does not count the natural radiation exposure. Based on this secretariat's plan the Commission will come up with its final plan and submit it to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare next week. However, there are those at the Ministry who worry that it won't be easy to create a new standard.


In response to the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare set the provisional safety standards on March 17 to regulate the sale of food items contaminated with radioactive materials. Then, it asked the Commission to evaluate the effect of internal radiation exposure from food on human health, in order to scientifically justify the provisional safety standards.

 同委は当初、食品だけからの被曝レベルを検討。国際放射線防護委員会(ICRP)勧告の元になった論文を含め、様々な国際的な研究を精査した。だが食品 とその他の被曝を分けて論じた論文は少なく、「健康影響を内部と外部の被曝に分けては示せない」と判断。外部被曝も含め、生涯受ける放射線の総量を示す方 向を打ち出した。宇宙からの放射線など平時から浴びている自然放射線量(日本で平均、年間約1.5ミリシーベルト)は除く。

The Commission at first tried to come up with the radiation limit from food only, and carefully studied various international research papers including the paper which became the basis for the ICRP recommendation. However, there were few papers that discussed the radiation from food separately from all the other radiation, and the Commission decided it was not possible to show the effect of radiation on health by separating internal and external exposures. Instead, the Commission will set the lifetime cumulative amount of radiation allowable, which includes external radiation exposure. It will exclude the natural radiation exposure from cosmic rays, etc., which is about 1.5 millisievert per year average in Japan.


In considering the lifetime cumulative radiation, if one is exposed to 20 millisieverts of radiation in a short time in an emergency, then it will be desirable if the radiation exposure is under 80 millisieverts for the rest of one's life.


There are studies that show children and fetuses are more susceptible to radiation exposure, and the secretariat's plan calls for "an attention".


According to the ICRP, "The cancer risk goes up by 0.5% with 100 millisieverts exposure."


As to deciding on a new standard that includes external exposure, one commissioner said "It should be done by other government organization like the Nuclear Safety Commission, but no one is doing it. So we have to do it."


The current provisional safety standards for foods is for an emergency situation. A safety limit is decided per different nuclide (iodine, cesium, etc) so that and the combined total radiation exposure from food does not exceed 17 millisieverts per year.


Once the conclusion by the Food Safety Commission is submitted, then the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will have to reconsider the safety limit per food. The person in charge of the process said, "We thought they would give us the number as annual radiation exposure limit. If it is going to be the lifetime cumulative radiation exposure limit, it may take a long time as we will have to consider different food intake amount for different age groups, from young to old."

The government-funded researchers and scholars are already busy imprinting this number "100 millisieverts" in the minds of the populace. The reference to X-rays and CT-scans are back. No need to worry up till 100 millisieverts!

Now, does anyone know how much radiation that the residents in Fukushima, Tohoku or Kanto have gotten since March 11? No one does. Are all vegetables in the market tested? No. They only sample one item from one plot from one farm in one city, and if that passes the test the entire crop from the entire city is considered safe.

Radioactive beef? What radioactive beef? The government will buy the meat and burn it, satisfied? Schoolyards with radiation exceeding 1 microsieverts/hour? So? Don't come complaining unless it's above 3.6 microsieverts/hour. All our experts say there's no danger below 100 millisieverts! If you are exposed to 20 millisieverts this year, well you will have 80 millisieverts for the rest of your life (we don't know how long) to spend, so don't worry.


Anonymous said...

"Now, does anyone know how much radiation that the residents in Fukushima, Tohoku or Kanto have gotten since March 11? No one does"

Check out the following.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

Now we get to see just how concerned the IAEA and the ICRP are over the voluntary guidelines they set. People can grossly ignore those guideline for economic expediency without so much as a whimper from either nuclear booster.

Anonymous said...

@anon at 6:40
But that doesn't include internal irradiation.

netudiant said...

This is actually quite disturbing.
It is true that there are several areas in the world where the ambient radiation background, from thorium rich sand etc, is in the 50 millisievert range. For the people living there, that appears to have no ill effect.
However, most of the world has much lower natural exposure, 1-5 millisieverts, so this proposed standard would make Japan a guinea pig for a standard that is globally without precedent and way out of line with any existing exposure limits.

the voice in your head said...

Guidelines?? What do the IAEA care about guidelines. They are nuclear industry sales representatives offering supplies and services.

Anyway, "voluntary guidelines" is a bit of an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

this is really bad. Chernobyl workers got about 125 msv total exposure. Japan is deciding to allow this level to everyone. 95% of Chernobyl workers got severely sick from exposure. Their childs suffer an even worst statistics.
Japan want to set a dangerous precedent where is ok to raise the limit to whatever level is needed to avoid paying compensation for taking care of its citizens. This is clearly the goal here, and clearly not the goal to take care of peoples.

jay said...

Your gorvernment speaking to you...........................
This has been a test of of the emergency broadcast system, had this been a real emergency then you would have been instructed to die.

But that's what they are telling you.

Eat the Soylent Green or move on to the final room and take the blue pil when instructed to do so, it is less painful and is doing humanity a big service rather than to remain a burden on society. Besides Russia has offered to run your Northern most island for free plus free nuclear power. Just take the blue pill as its painless.

Anonymous said...

This is another case of the Government, in colusion with TEPCO, scientists, and a host of other so-called experts...assuming the Public is stupid as stone!

Changing a measurement number doesn't change how the body reacts to radiation. "See TEPCO, some of us are not as stupid as you think we are!

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

netudiant said:

"It is true that there are several areas in the world where the ambient radiation background, from thorium rich sand etc, is in the 50 millisievert range. For the people living there, that appears to have no ill effect".

If this is true maybe you can present the scientific evidence that proves your point. It is easy to "appear" like things are safe when you refuse to do the studies necessary to determine the truth.

"Recently the BEIR Reports have used atomic bomb data to support their theory that humans have undetectable genetic damage from the atomic bombs. As early at 1957, the World Health Organization called together a Committee to study the genetic effects of radiation and to recommend protection of the human gene pool. In the publication by this committee, Kerala, India, was identified as the best place to study the genetic effects of chronic radiation exposure over several generations. To date (1995), the nuclear establishment has not undertaken a serious study of this population, indicating their lack of concern for genetic damage. In one study, undertaken for another purpose, the authors noted that the exposed population of Kerala had an abnormally high rate of Down’s Syndrome. Researchers also found significantly high levels of broken chromosomes in the exposed group. In 1988, with the help of Indian researchers, I agreed to act as scientific advisor to a study of the people of Kerala. Researchers found that they were the first group to interview and examine the population, although the nuclear industry often uses Kerala as its example to “prove” that low level radiation is harmless.

We now have measurements of the background radiation at grid points all through the contaminated area, detailed information on about 32,000 exposed households and matched control households not living on contaminated sand, and information on 92,000 pregnancies. Our preliminary findings are that the rate of Down’s Syndrome is 3 to 4 times higher in families living on the radioactive sand than for control families. Other problems which were more than doubled for the radiation exposed group were congenital blindness and deafness, epilepsy, malformation of long bones, childlessness (couples who wanted to have children but could not), and various kinds and degrees of mental retardation. In the communities living on the contaminated soil every one of the so-called sentinel mutations, rare genetic damage was found. This was not true for the matched controls. We are still trying to raise money to complete the detailed analysis of this important data.

In my opinion, all future radiation protection standards should be based on damage caused to future generations. This will significantly lower the limits of exposure, which are now officially considered “safe”. It has serious implications for further plans to expand the nuclear industry and for the management of nuclear waste."

Anonymous said...

This is similar to the 350 mSv total life exposure dose the Soviets tried to establish four years after Chernobyl, also not counting the doses already received.

The idea wasn't really very popular so they decided to use the surface contamination criteria: 1,5 million Bq/m2 of Cesium 137 for the general population and 555,000 Bq/m2 for kids and pregnant women. That was around 1990, they lowered it again later on after the USSR collapsed.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen any suggestions on what should of or could of been done after the earthquake and tsunami to avoid what has occurred since then. Maybe the right thing to do was to immediately evacuate 200,000 to 300,000 or more people living within a 50 kilometre radius of the plant. But, evacuate to where and how? Talk is cheap on both sides of this unprecedented disaster. Whether its the Japanese authorities and TEPCO or all those who are critical of the way things were handled. Unfortunately, some situations in life really are "shigata ga nai"!

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was working it was 20 mSv for a lifetime, and the ICRP was talking of lowering it even further.
The US standards were 2.5 times as high, and not measured properly, so we were all cringing at what, how and who decided that radiobiological effects were determined.

Research led me to find out that the people making the decisions were public servants, bean counters, and hacks.

There were no medics, biologists or experts on any of the advisory panels.

As for Japan, time to EVACUATE.
Best to admit failure and walk away. You can never go to huge areas of Japan every again.
Denial is not an option, as we will soon see whenthe first batch of humans are born.

Anonymous said...

"to evacuate 200,000 to 300,000"

this is not a complicated thing you know. With just a little of will in Japan this is easy.
In other countries, for wars, earthquakes, innodations, millions are moved to new areas.

The are many many buildings with rooms for these people. And yes, the gouvernement can either buy or built news houses for them. Done.

Anonymous said...

there is a rumor that says that there has been a hughe increase in infant mortality in Kanto and North East Japan following Fukushima nuclear reactor nuclear explosions.

Anonymous said...

Sure wish info on infant deaths were public knowledge. Prof Hiroaki Koide @ Kyoto U video of lecture on youtube very informative: calls for evacuation of 5.65 million for 10,000 sq km area. Arnie Gunderson 22 July 2011 gives many reasons why minimum should be 50 MILE zone.

IAEA is pro-nuclear and history of ignoring data from Chernobyl. ICRP vastly underestimated dangers, use vastly bad scientific models.

PM Kan appears to have a plan, trying to get funds for shelters and people released, but pro-nuclear politicians are keeping him tied while the people are not getting the facts or the help they deserve.

Anonymous said...

100 millisieverts as lifetime
Up till now, the acceptable radiation exposure .. 1 millisievert per year

The Nuclear Coup in Japan

"Then, I read that a man from Iitate-mura in Fukushima demanded he be tested .. they refused to tell him the number."
I certainly have no trouble with your politeness, arevamirpal, but is Japan to become the Land of Impossible Insults?
Land of Clownfaces?

"Talk is cheap on both sides of this unprecedented disaster."
'Not caring' was equally cheap, then AND now.

"to evacuate 200,000 to 300,000"

With just a little of will in Japan this is easy."

Luridly easy, with a cooperative population, with intl. help which would have been given.

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