Radioactive Tokyo tapwater HARMS BABIES ... if drunk for a year
Iodine isotope will all be gone in weeks, though
The Japanese government has announced that radioactive iodine from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant has been found in tapwater, and that infants should not drink it. However there is little reason for concern once the facts are understood.
Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare says that tests have revealed levels of the radioactive isotope iodine-131 in tapwater samples in Tokyo that range from 100 to 210 becquerels/litre. The radio-iodine health limit in force for iodine-131 is 300 Becquerels/litre, but there is a separate limit for baby milk fed to infants less than a year old of 100 Bq/l – hence the recommendation.
As ever, we hear of "more than twice the safe level", though the BBC does add that "officials have stressed that children would have to drink a lot of it before it harmed them".
Indeed they would. As World Nuclear News makes clear, the health safety limits in question are based on a year's consumption: in other words, a baby could drink milk containing 100 Bq/l of radio-iodine for a year without ill effects. The same dose could be sustained by drinking the Tokyo tapwater (assuming continuous iodine-131 levels at the maximum so far seen) for a bit under six months.
You'd really struggle to achieve that, however, as iodine-131 has a half-life of just eight days. Most of what was in the plant when it shut down Friday before last has now turned into inoffensive Xenon, and the heat which drove initial emissions to atmosphere is now a small fraction of what it was in the first days of the incident. Levels in the water can be expected to peak soon and then drop, fast at first and then slowly, to almost nothing over a six-month timespan.
Higher levels have been seen in water supplies near the plant – one very high reading of 965 Bq/l iodine-131 has been recorded and another of 365, though that was last week following the height of the crisis and levels have since fallen to within the drink-it-for-a-year-no-bother safety limit.
Caesium radioisotopes have also been detected, but the effects of these should be minimal or nil based on experience following Chernobyl. The only health hazard presented by the Russian disaster was from iodine ingested in milk by children.
The Japanese announcement isn't totally unreasonable. It guards against a sudden worsening of the situation – for instance much more severe damage to a reactor core than anything yet seen, despite the fact that residual heating in the cores has now sunk to a low level.
On the whole though, the Japanese government seems to be facing the classic dilemma following a nuclear incident of any type. If you say there's no cause for concern, people will assume you're lying: if you then say there is cause for concern, you actually are lying. ®
You're being a conspiracy nut
I don't know French, so I haven't been able to find anything that says whether or not Pellerin was convicted, or whether the case even went to trial. I also gather from the article you linked that it's not been proven that any cover-up took place; further, that at least one person has actually been convicted of libel for lying about Pellerin's statements regarding the Chernobyl accident; and further still, that the rising trend in Corsican thyroid cancer rates apparently began roughly a decade before the Chernobyl accident took place.
As for your other link, I find it hardly surprising that the Soviet regime would not only lie to the world about the severity of a major industrial accident, but would actively injure the health of many hundreds or thousands of its subjects in order to perpetuate the cover-up. That's just one of the many remarkable traits which made the Soviet regime so well-loved around the world, and it's certainly not as though they only behaved that way with regard to Chernobyl -- take the loss of the Kursk, for example, in which the Soviet government also did their best to downplay the magnitude of the problem for as long as they possibly could.
On the other hand, depending on how you count it, this year marks either the 20th or the 22nd anniversary of the Soviet regime's collapse, so I'm not sure what point I'm intended to take about the behavior of those political regimes which a) are not totalitarian oligarchies and b) actually still exist. Similarly, I'm not sure how it is that, from a five-year-old news story about an 83-year-old man being hounded into a courtroom by a bunch of leftist idiots who think radiation is worse than pedophile zombie Satan, I'm expected to draw the conclusion that the world's power elite are conspiring to conceal the true flipperhand-baby horrors of Chernobyl.
You're not proving your point here; you're just saying "A + B = X-Files" and expecting people not to argue. Obviously there are better places to try that sort of thing than the Reg comments section; there's always going to be some saddo with nothing at all better to do in the entire breadth of his life than to sit down, put a clothespin on his nostrils, and explain at painfully pedantic length exactly why you're full of it.
Sailing on the Titanic is one of the safest activities mankind has ever undertaken. 99.999999999% of all humans who have ever lived didn't die on the Titanic.
How dare you!
How dare you present the facts in a calm and deliberate manner - don't you realise there are scare stories to peddle, newspapers to sell and hard disks of forum postings to fill??
I demand a snappy headline that indicates that the world is about to end. Preferably one that uses minimal syllables and misspells the word "nook-yoo-luh-r"