Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reddy Kilowatt: Burning Down The House

From Japan's Kyodo News service:
Radiation level in seawater hits new high near Fukushima plant
TOKYO, March 31, Kyodo

In a sign that radiation is continuing to leak from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the maximum level permitted under law has been detected in seawater near the plant, according to the latest data made available Thursday morning.

Japanese authorities were also urged to consider taking action over radioactive contamination outside the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the plant, as the International Atomic Energy Agency said readings from soil samples collected in the village of Iitate, about 40 km from the plant, exceeded its criteria for evacuation.

...the concentration level of radioactive iodine-131 in a seawater sample collected Wednesday afternoon around 330 meters south of the plant exceeded the previous high recorded the day before. In Tuesday's sample, the concentration level was 3,355 times the maximum legal limit.

The authorities denied that either situation posed an immediate threat to human health, but the government said it plans to enhance radiation data monitoring around the plant on the Pacific coast...
My favorite part is, "authorities denied that either situation posed an immediate threat to human health".

So, if 3,355 times the maximum legal limit of radioactivity isn't considered a threat to human beings, perhaps the good people in the Japanese government might explain where they draw the line? 5,000 times? 10,000 times? And what, in Japan's population, are the acceptable numbers of radiation-induced deaths, birth defects and cancers?

But, I suppose these questions are, uh, impolite.