Sunday, 15 May 2011

James: Radiation, Fact or Science Fiction

Radiation, radioactive and nuclear are all words that of late have been attributed negative connotations. Not just just thanks to obfuscation of what actually happened to the Reactor in Fukushima, which was down to poor infrastructure around the power plant not the fault of the reactor design, all the fail safes worked except the human one of finding a new power source within 8 hours. Yet I think one of the main perception problems with 'radiation' can be phrased as the old adage 'we fear what we do not understand'.
Still I lay my blame with those of the media and science fiction scaremongering. Now this may sound like it is starting to turn into a rant, but if I too just state feelings over facts we will not get anywhere. Thus, from now on I shall leave the opinions you and just present the facts.
650,000 deaths a year, across the globe, are attributed to normal levels of background radiation. The lowest dose, in a short period of time, to cause physical effects like radiation sickness; 25 Rem = 0.25 sieverts. The average a normal person, like you, will in counter in one day is 1x10-3Rem = 1x10-5 sieverts. Tiny, tiny amounts. Interestingly, many places in Cornwall have a higher level of radiation than is allowed in UK schools. Now you maybe thinking of cancelling that trip to Cornwall, but I urge you not to be perturbed the point I am trying to make is that even those who are writing the safety guidelines are overly scared. I am not suggesting you take a blasé approach to radioactive materials, just know the facts. The last thing I am going to leave you with is from a good graphical representation of radiation levels, my favourite bit to point out is that you get more from a banana than from living within 50 miles from a nuclear power plant for a year.
So now to you, go and make your own mind up about 'Radiation: Fact or Science Fiction'. Any response to which is greatly encouraged.


Milly said...

Really interesting stuff! It scares me how powerful the media can be....I feel like I've been duped.

RockA said...

Banana facts, It can be a good section. Brilliant!!!

Anonymous said...

This is awesome!