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Japan Earth Stats

One Trillion Bq Released By Nuclear Debris Removal At Fukushima So Far 190

AmiMoJo writes The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says more than one trillion becquerels of radioactive substances were released as a result of debris removal work at one of the plant's reactors. Radioactive cesium was detected at levels exceeding the government limit in rice harvested last year in Minami Soma, some 20 kilometers from Fukushima Daiichi. TEPCO presented the Nuclear Regulation Authority with an estimate that the removal work discharged 280 billion becquerels per hour of radioactive substances, or a total of 1.1 trillion becquerels. The plant is believed to be still releasing an average of 10 million becquerels per hour of radioactive material.
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One Trillion Bq Released By Nuclear Debris Removal At Fukushima So Far

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  • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Friday July 25, 2014 @12:26AM (#47528543)

    Even though they measure the same thing, the Becquerel is a very, very small unit. If somebody was talking about the risk of a dam breaking, and used the cubic centimeter for measuring the volume of water behind that dam, perhaps with a note that a single cc of water can killl a person if they choke on it just right as a justification, wouldn't you still prefer a unit such as gallons, or cubic feet or cubic meters, Wouldn't that be better in helping asses the real consequences of a dam failure even though we are measuring the same thing? Or wouldn't it be better to give information on just how many acres downstream would be flooded and how many people live on that floodplain, even though that's all a very different kind of measurement? There are plenty of cases where either a similar measurement that uses units more in keeping with the situation or a measurement of something different may either or both be better.
              Using SI units is a good thing overall, but what if those units are many orders of magnitude outside of the thing they were designed to measure and there's a non-SI unit that isn't? Or, what's the point in preferring Km./liters over miles/gallon if we are talking about how much fuel it took to send Voyager 1 outside the heliopause? Neither one is very useful when we are not exactly sure just where the edge of the solar system is, or how to measure it, and Voyager will keep on coasting many light years farther in the end, if its trajectory even has an end in the lifetime of the universe.
                I see using becquerels in this case as similar to someone being opposed to a government project, so they give how much it costs in the currency of some nation currently undergoing hyperinflation, so the project costs a bajillion, bajillion, Saganillion Elbonian Smerdlaps, That's not the same thing as writing about the US economy for a European audience and converting to Euros, or writing about the European economy for Japan and converting to Yen. Even though we know a conversion rate for the uints, and it's fixed as of a given date,,using some units for currency could still be an attempt to make the numbers sound so large they prejudice the average reader more than they inform. You should look at what level of information the average person reading an article from that particular source will have in deciding whether a difference of units is simply a difference or if there's some intent to mislead - and since you asked it as in what way X is :bad?", hopefully we can agree attempts to mislead are bad.

  • by KAdamM ( 2996395 ) on Friday July 25, 2014 @01:35AM (#47528835)
    For your information, an average human body contains natural radioactive isotope of potassium - 40K. Every second there are approx. 3000 decays (Bq) of that isotope in your body. It means that every man is approx. 9 billions Bq "on release" per year. 40K emits 1460 keV gamma-ray (that easily goes out of your body) in about 10% of decays, the rest ends in beta-particle only, that stays inside. That's one of the problems of measuring release in Bq, which is not a good idea. Anyway, your one trillion Bq is equivalent of mere 1000 people, if you measure radiation that goes outside of man body. If Fukushima scares you, stay away from people. Don't hug them, kiss them, or - that's the most dangerous - sleep all night near them. Avoid crowded public places, gatherings, public transportation etc. Build a lead bunker. Wait! Radioactivity is already in your body!
  • by nojayuk ( 567177 ) on Friday July 25, 2014 @01:36AM (#47528837)

    A cubic kilometre of seawater contains about 10 trillion becquerels of the naturally-occurring potassium K-40 isotope. That's ten fucking disasters per cubic kilometre using your scale and there's a lot of seawater on this planet (1.3 billion cubic kilometres according to most sources).

"An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of code." -- an anonymous programmer