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How much radiation do you NORMALLY get?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Little-Acorn, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    Amidst all the hype and hysteria over "nuclear disasters", it's helpful to consider some actual numbers and effects.

    "Nuclear radiation" is nothing new. We get it from many natural sources every day (sun, rocks, cosmic rays etc.), and have for all our lives. So did Mozart, George Washington, Julius Caesar, Emperor Chin, and Alley Oop the cave man.

    Keep the following numbers in mind next time you hear hysterical reports of Japanese citizens being exposed to a whopping 20 microseiverts of radiation from the damaged nuclear plant.

    -------------------------------

    http://www.fox6now.com/news/la-fg-radiation-comparison-20110315,0,386338.story

    You're being exposed to radiation -- but it's the amount that counts

    6:50 a.m. CDT, March 15, 2011

    Everyone is exposed to some radiation. It's the level of exposure that determines whether there's any harmful effect.

    But how much radiation is a lot? Here are a few numbers for comparison.

    (A microsievert is a unit that measures the biological effects of radiation.)

    * One year's worth of exposure to natural radiation from soil, cosmic rays and other sources: 3,000 microsieverts

    * One chest X-ray: 100 microsieverts

    * One dental X-ray: 40-150 microsieverts

    * One mammogram: 700 microsieverts

    * CT scan (abdomen): 8,000 microsieverts

    * Full-body airport X-ray scanner: 0.0148 microsieverts

    * Airplane flight from New York to Los Angeles: 30-40 microsieverts

    * Smoking a pack a day for one year: 80,000 microsieverts

    * Average dose to people living within 10 miles of 1979 Three Mile Island accident: 80 microsieverts

    * Average radiation dose to evacuees from areas highly contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster: 33,000 microsieverts (Of 600,000 of the most-affected people, cancer risk went up by a few percentage points -- perhaps eventually representing an extra 4,000 fatal cancers on top of the 100,000 fatal cancers otherwise expected.)

    * Limit on whole-body exposure for a radiation worker for one year: 50,000 microsieverts

    Sources: TSA (APL report); CDC; FDA; NRC; ANS; IAEA; Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio
    Copyright © 2011, The Los Angeles Times
     
  2. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    More numbers:

    (one mSv = 1,000 microsieverts, for comparison with Acorn's numbers)


    That would be one million and five million microsieverts, respectively.

    So, how much are people exposed to nuclear power plant accidents likely to get?

    *
    Which would be a little more than a third of the dose that causes radiation sickness, as described above.

    So, why is it that people here in the USA, thousands of miles away from the nuclear plant disasters in Japan, are buying geiger counters and iodine pills to ward off radiation poisoning?

    Why are people so paranoid about nuclear power plants? It makes no sense.
     
  3. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    It is simple really...people don't know what they are talking about, and are often completely ignorant when it comes to how nuclear power works...

    It seems many people just hear the term "nuclear" and assume devastating explosions.
     
  4. dahermit

    dahermit Well-Known Member

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    Japan, Chernobyl, Three-mile Island...Yes, people are completely ignorant of the danger. However, the people who were exposed are never the ones who are cavalier about the real danger of melt-downs. The people who are dismissive of the danger are the ones like you guys who do not live in the shadow of the nuclear plants.
    There were several "ignorant" scientists who resigned from GE (constructed the GE Mark I reactor), in protest over the fact that the Mark I (the ones in Japan), core container was not thick enough to withstand a melt-down and was in fact an accident waiting to happen.
    If there is not problem with nuclear reactors, you can find very cheap (free) vacation homes at Chernobyl. And, there will also be some very inexpensive Japanese property available very soon.
     
  5. GenSeneca

    GenSeneca Well-Known Member

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    Someone check my math here...

    Smoking a pack a day for one year: 80,000 microsieverts

    20 (one pack) X 365 = 7300

    80,000 / 7300 = 10.96 msv per cigarette

    10.96 X 20 = 219.17 msv per day

    If a 1,000 msv dose (1 seivert) causes radiation sickness, wouldn't smokers suffer from constant nausea, vomiting, and hemorrhaging?

    Either radiation dissipates very quickly in the body or the numbers for cigarettes are BS.

    Perhaps that's why Bush always pronounced it "New-kler", he didn't want to scare people. :)
     
  6. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    If you are attempting to respond to my point that "people are often ignorant of how nuclear power works", you have failed in every regard....

    Your comparison is literally akin to saying "ships have sunk, therefore all ships are dangerous." It is simply absurd.

    No one has argued there are not dangers associated with nuclear power, but the danger is generally not as large as it is made out to be, and comparing Chernobyl to Japan really ends at the word "meltdown", and it disregards what that word actually means, and how it will play out.

    I think if you ask the typical person what a nuclear meltdown means, they will probably think it involves a nuclear explosion of some kind.

    Yes, but an "accident" and frankly even a "meltdown" can be far more contained (barring some changes) in Japan than they were in Chernobyl.

    Again, your statement amounts to "a Boeing 757 is unsafe, therefore a Boeing 737 is unsafe too." It does not go like that.
     
  7. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    From my post above:

    There are two different units: Microsieverts, and millisieverts (Msv).
     
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