The BBC has some very good pictures of the site here. They aren’t close enough for much detail…for obvious reasons.
And here’s their latest. The total number of dead and missing is about 15,000.
There’s so much info, I can’t remember what Japan said would be the maximium emergency dose per worker. I think it was 25 rem, or 0.25 Sv. The United States “allows” twice that, .5 Sv or 50 rem. (I say “allows” because it also has a caveat that permits for heroic death by volunteers.)
15,000 dead or missing. But if Fukushima holds to <0.25 Sv, the death toll from radiation is at “zero” and will stay there. I don’t know if people understand that. Rescue workers are shifting through rubble to save actual lives, real people. The gargantuan Fukushima response is to prevent “statistical” deaths.
In my very first post on this, which got the Instalink and the most attention, I offered to bet my life against anything you care to wager that:
No one will die from acute exposure. And if there’s any increase in cancer, it will be totally lost in statistical noise.
Man, I sweated bullets after the fuel pool explosions! I’m glad no gambling addicts came by. And it’s by no means certain that we’ve seen the last ugly wrinkle. But I’ve lost enough smugness to retract that first offer for a less sweet one. My life against yours, and people volunteering for death don’t apply.
See, Fukushima decided not to sacrifice real lives for statistical ones. I wasn’t sure for awhile. So barring yet another giant surprise, no gallant responders will be klled while taming this monster. The citizenry has been moved outward, to twelve miles. They won’t see dangerous levels of contamination, much less acute radiation exposures. Anyone going inward is a responder. No one ventures into unknown dose rates; they either have my Japanese counterpart with them or at least wear real-time responding dosimetry.
In the end, this disaster will be blamed for lots and lots of “statistical” deaths. Thousands, possibly. Radiophobes will commission their own studies and come up with the biggest figure they think won’t be laughed at. And every one, a statistical death.
Do you worry about getting cancer every time you make a round-trip flight? That’s 2 to 5 millirem. Okay, okay, 20 to 50 microSv, but I use these foreign terms under protest.
Well, every single microSv picked up from the Fukushima source, from however many millions of people, will be added up and assumed to have caused cancer. And those models are wrong.
How do I know? Do you worry about “cancer by airline”? You shouldn’t. Flight attendants pick up far more “Delta radiation”–sorry, couldn’t resist–than you. for a half-century now. How much has that increased their cancers? I’m unaware of any study showing any heightened risk.
Over 9,000 people are still missing. Many or most are dead. But some will still be found and rescued. Those are real lives saved.
Fukushima is preventing statistical deaths.