Evacuations Killed More Than Cancer Ever Will Fukushima Nukeblog July 20, 2012
From the Forbes debunking article:
Of course, the authors, Hoeve and Jacobson, don’t put it that way. They state that this number is non-trivial. But the number of cancers that would occur in the present 127 million Japanese population over their lives in the absence of Fukushima radiation is about (BEIR VII):
52,000,000 ± 50,000.
Assuming their calculations are correct, and their assertion that they all occur in Japan is correct, then in the presence of Fukushima radiation this number becomes:
52,000,130 ± 50,000.
This difference is less than trivial, it is statistically zero.
This fear-mongering comes down yet again to the Linear No-Threshold dose hypothesis, or LNT. As has been discussed before, LNT supposes that all radiation is deadly and that there is no dose below which harmful effects will not occur (BEIR VII) . While LNT has been hotly debated for over 50 years, everyone in the field agrees that the effects of low-dose radiation are so small that it cannot be seen in the overall population. The InternationalCommission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), long a promulgator of LNT, finally admitted in its Publication 103 (2007) that “Collective effective dose is not intended as a tool for epidemiological risk assessment, and it is inappropriate to use it in risk projections.” But this is just what ideologues like Jacobson keep doing.
Of real importance is that the evacuation killed more people than the radiation ever will, even using Hoeve and Jacobson’s numbers. According to the The Daily Yomiuri, at least 573 people have died during the evacuation of the area around the Fukushima plants. And since many were evacuated from areas that were not contaminated enough to cause any health issues, this continued fear-mongering borders on being criminal. It distracts from the real suffering caused by the tsunami and the fear from the meltdown. Yes, there are contaminated areas that have to be cleaned up. Yes, Tepco and the Japanese government failed to heed the serious critiques and suggestions that the world nuclear community has been telling them for many years. But residents were evacuated immediately, and they were told not to eat anything from the region for the few months afterwards while I-131 died away, averting the real danger to children that was the biggest problem from Chernobyl. As Hoeve and Jacobson show, the doses to the public from Cs-137 have been too low to cause significant, or even measurable, harm.