A (strangely) comforting perspective on Fukushima

If you, like me, are no fan of nuclear radiation, then you might find some (perverse) comfort in the perspective provided in this article:

In human history, there have been more than 2,000 nuclear weapon detonations. About 500 of those detonations have been in the atmosphere. Those hundreds of nuclear detonations have caused radioactive fallout all over the world. If we looked close enough, we will find radioactive plutonium, cesium, and strontium in the soil of Hawaii and even in the snows of Antarctica.

Those hundreds of nuclear explosions released many times more radiation than could ever leave Fukushima. Also, no civilian nuclear reactor can explode like an atomic bomb. The nuclear fuel is not concentrated enough….

There is little danger to our food supply. Radioactivity from the 2,000-plus nuclear blasts is still found in our food. Any current danger that could exist would be localized to food produced around Fukushima. Any radiation entering the ocean is quickly dissipated. Any dangerous areas would be from ocean products produced close to Fukushima.

Unfortunately, my next post will suggest humanity’s past experiments releasing nuclear radioactivity into our atmosphere should provide not comfort but reasons to expect Fukushima to cause measurably higher cancer rates in coming decades.

Posted by James on Wednesday, April 13, 2011