UN: Fukushima Radiation Health Effects Will Be Relatively Small / Not At All Comparable to Chernobyl

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    The Chairman of the UNSCEAR has announced that the health effects from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster will be relatively small because radiation was leaked into the sea instead of the air, and because evacuations of residents were carried out promptly:

    The fact that some radioactive releases spread over the ocean instead of populated areas also contributed to limiting the consequences, said Wolfgang Weiss of the U.N. Scientific Committee on the effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR).

    “As far as the doses we have seen from the screening of the population … they are very low,” Weiss told Reuters. This was partly “due to the rapid evacuation and this worked very well.”

    [...]

    Asked whether he was optimistic that the overall health effects would be quite small, Weiss said: “If we find out that what we know now is representing the situation, then the answer would be yes … the health impact would be low.”

    More information from the American Council on Science and Health:

    (Weiss) remarked that the situation in Fukushima was not at all comparable to Chernobyl — the nuclear reactor whose specter has created unduly fearful expectations in many people.

    ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan remarked on the U.N.’s sound approach to its assessment. “When you’re looking for effect,” she says, “you look first at the high exposure groups to see if you can determine any impact. Not even right there, in Japan, have they discovered any kind of health impact from the wrecked plant.”

    ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom is not surprised by UNSCEAR’s initial findings. He recently addressed the wildly disproportionate health fears of the American public following the nuclear plant damage in Japan. Much of that concern stems from an uninformed, outdated reaction to the entire concept of nuclear radiation, he says.

    A few weeks ago, Dr. Bloom wrote a great piece addressing some fear-mongering pseudoscience: “Garbage In, Anti-Nuclear Propaganda Out: The 14,000 Death Fukushima Lie

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