Report reveals truth about Japan disaster

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Do you remember the morning-to-night media coverage of the disaster in Fukushima, Japan, beginning in March 2011 and lasting for what seemed like forever? More than 20,000 people died as a result of a massive earthquake and subsequent enormous tsunami, but those two natural disasters were not what captured the most attention in the media.

The media fixated on “experts” volunteering doomsday scenarios for Japan as rerun after rerun of hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants filled the airwaves.

VISITORS TO JAPAN were advised to leave. Entertainment groups touring Japan cancelled performances even though they were scheduled several hundred miles away from the nuclear reactor sites. Many Americans in Tokyo fled the country as fast as they could book seats on transcontinental flights back to the United States – flights that exposed these Americans to larger doses of radiation than they would have received had they stayed in Japan.

Hysterical anti-nuclear alarmists were having a field day as they were in great demand on news programs and talk shows. Their dire predictions of latent cancer deaths because of the radiation releases numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Some even questioned the habitability of Japan. Over time, the media circus gradually lost steam, with only occasional reference to the “nuclear disaster.”

There can be no mistaking the seriousness with which nuclear advocates viewed the events at Fukushima, but the human tragedy stemmed from the enormous one-two punch of Mother Nature and the fear propagated by sensational media coverage, not from radiation releases from the nuclear reactors. These facts became clear at the end of May 2013 with the issuance of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation report on the health effects of the events at Fukushima.

IN A NUTSHELL, the conclusions of the report are that lingering health effects are negligible and no deaths are attributed to radiation – including workers at the plants and the general public. You aren’t likely to read about this in many newspapers, on your computer’s home page or hear about it on your favorite news program. After all, a lot of righteous indignation was expended vilifying the Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Japanese government, and the nuclear industry in general for months after the events of March 2011, and to admit that there was in fact no harm because of radiation releases inspires comparisons to Chicken Little.

Even though this report finds no significant health effects because of radiation releases, it is undeniable that the fear of radiation is far more potent with respect to health effects than the radiation itself. Health effects related to fear of radiation and to stress of evacuation and relocation affected thousands of people. The UNSCEAR report acknowledges this effect just as it did in its 25-year study of the Chernobyl disaster, in which it attributes 62 deaths to radiation-related causes, including about half that number who were first responders. That report concluded that residents of the areas affected by Chernobyl fallout need not live in fear of lasting health effects because of radiation exposure.

BY FAR THE most tragic human health toll from Chernobyl was the 100,000 to 200,000 elective abortions chosen by prospective parents who feared radiation damage to their unborn. UNSCEAR’s follow-up study on the effects of the Chernobyl accident on the unborn showed those fears were unfounded.

I submit that the accused – TEPCO, the Japanese government and the nuclear industry – are guilty of not having figured out how to communicate nuclear issues to the public effectively. But communication is not a unilateral exercise. There have to be open receptors on the part of all parties if real communication is to happen.

Therefore, I also submit that anti-nuclear ideologues, aided and abetted by the media, have struck such fear into those who do not understand nuclear-related issues that they have stymied effective communication on these issues and are, therefore, responsible for enormous human suffering and loss of life.

Public news media could do a great public service by reporting on the findings of the UNSCEAR report. Don’t hold your breath.

(The writer is executive director for Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness in Aiken, S.C.)

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Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 06/16/13 - 05:14 am
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Organization's purpose?

"Environmental Quality, Protection and Beautification" under the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) Classification System? You have to be freakin' kidding me.
How about an industry trade group? From the web site and the Facebook page people might get the idea that you simply push nuclear and push SRS. I did search the site and found no listing of who funds the group. Could that just be an oversight? I'm sure it wouldn't be filled with people and industries that have a monied interest in SRS. I do see you're tied in with Christine Todd Whitman's CASEnergy which is bankrolled by the Nuclear Energy Institute. With those ties CNTA could be called a trade group or a front group. It could go either way. You couldn't tell by the name, but that's the idea isn't it?

dichotomy
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dichotomy 06/16/13 - 11:37 am
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Bodhisattva....now that you

Bodhisattva....now that you have tried to assassinate the messenger, do you have any facts to dispute what he said were the effects, or lack thereof, from the incident in Japan?

I didn't think so. In fact, I think you just made his point for him since we have not heard any follow up from the media or opposing groups. No stories of mass deaths, cancers popping up, deformed children. Maybe later on down the road...but so far I think the writer's point is made and verified by you.

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 06/16/13 - 05:31 pm
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Dichotomy

Liberals never let facts get in their way. Fact get in the way of their destroying our way of life.

Reindeargirl
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Reindeargirl 06/17/13 - 12:19 pm
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Radiation is not harmful to human health.

See: tobacco industry testifying to Congress about lack of proof tying cigarettes to lung and other cancer. Ring a bell?

Humble Angela
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Humble Angela 06/18/13 - 01:50 pm
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No one said that radiation
Unpublished

No one said that radiation can't be harmful to human health, but I venture a bet that you have never heard of radiation hormesis either.

As for Bod refuting vs attacking??? It's what he ALWAYS does. It's all he has.

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