Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nuclear scare: Tokyo still safe—Governor assures

There has been conflicting reports whether or not it is still safe to stay in Japan following a series of explosions at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant after Friday's 9.0-magnitude quake.
Reading from several sources made me even more confused about the people's safety for fear of nuclear meltdown.
However, I was advised by my friends who are in Japan to get my source directly from Japan. They remain calm there and are wondering why the exaggerated reaction overseas.
The Japan Times said on Wednesday that while the radiation levels were detected to have increased to approximately 20 times than normal, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government assured the public that there is no immediate health risk and should remain calm.
Gov. Shintaro Ishihara told reporters, "I received a report this morning that there was an important change of data. I heard that it will not immediately cause health problems."
Ishihara further said that the government will continuously update the public.
The report said that the highest exposure level that was detected on Tuesday in Tokyo at about 10:00 was 0.809 microsievert. The mean level between 10:00 and 11:00 was 0.496 per hour.
Sievert (Sv) is the unit of measurement used to analyze the biological effects of radiation. An exposure level in excess of 100,000 microsieverts per hour would pose health threats.
On Monday, the exposure level detected was between 0.035 and 0.038.
Having a chest x-ray exposes a person with about 50 microsieverts.
If a person were exposed to 0.809 microsieverts for a year, he will have been exposed with 4,344 microsieverts, which is within the 2,000 to 5,000 microsieverts per year that we naturally receive. Hey, the sun is one good example of radiation source, the reason why we put sun blocks.
It seems that the source of fear is when the mainstream media put the words "...times higher than usual." This may create unnecessary concern and worse—panic. The public need to be thoroughly informed of this issue.
Meanwhile, fearing nuclear plant crisis, a number of foreign embassies urged their citizens to leave the country flattened by disasters, in a report by the Japan Today.
On the other hand, the White House advised its citizens to follow Japan's guidelines and advised against leaving Tokyo concerning radiation scare.
Author's note: A few minutes before posting this story, I heard on Japan TV the words "Shimpai ha arimasen," which means "Do not worry/panic."
Details of this report here.

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