Japans Nuclear Crisis Worst Case Scenario

What is the worst that could happen if everything goes wrong with the Japanese Nuclear Power Plants at Fukushima ?

More than a few people are asking or wondering about that question.

I have been asked by some people in Japans neighbouring islands and countries if they may get any spill over radiation effect in their own countries.

From what I have read so far, my answer has been that it is unlikely, although not totally impossible. I am very far from being an expert on this, but most reports are showing only some parts of Japan itself as being at risk.

An example of this, is this report:

Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:22pm EDT
(Reuters) – In the worst case, any radioactive cloud from Japan’s damaged nuclear plant is likely to be limited to the densely populated nation — unlike the wider fallout from the Chernobyl disaster, experts say.
“That is good news for the world, but bad news for Japan.”

That article, from reuters.com, has quotes from a few experts, and is well worth reading, for those interested, or concerned, about any wider fall-out.

How does the radiation compare to the radiation that we receive in our normal daily lives ?

  • One standard X-ray causes about 500 microsieverts of radiation.
  • A whole body CT scan causes about 15 millisieverts (15,000 microsieverts).
  • A single organ CT scan causes about 10 millisieverts.

Note the difference between a micro and millisievert. Even the Japanese PM got that wrong in one broadcast:
1000 microsieverts = 1 millisievert

One report that I read states:
100 millisieverts (100,000 microsieverts) a year, is the lowest level at which any increase in cancer risk is clearly evident.

Apparently most of us already receive about 1 to 5 millisieverts of radiation from naturally occurring earth and sun released events.

Some of the above was from reuters.com, which is a very interesting read.

There have been concerns in the Philippines about the risk of radiation reaching their shores, but this has been answered by their Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute director Alumanda de la Rosa.

In a worst-case scenario, any radioactive cloud from Japan will not affect the Philippines, Montejo said.

Updated information for the Philippines can be seen at: www.dost.gov.ph

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