Please, I know this is long, but take a minute to read through it. Hopefully I can explain why this particular 750 Rad thing is bogus, and when you see how off the charts bogus it is, it will help put everything in a more reasonable perspective.
I am not flaming you or anyone else for saying this 750 Rad thing. I am not saying this to belittle you. You just don't understand the mechanics of radiation and what is being thrown out there, and it is getting you and everyone who reads it on edge.
I am on your side, and I am not saying there is nothing to worry about. Anytime you have a bunch of nuclear reactors that have problems of this magnitude, yes, there is a problem and we SHOULD be concerned.
There are a lot of things to be concerned about, but there is no reason to get crazy about this 750 RADS thing you hear. There are people out there throwing these numbers around, moving decimal points three ways to one side or another, not realizing they are doing it, mistaking millicuries for curies, Rads for millirems, sieverts for grays, and so on. Look. Don't get crazed. When someone tells you that 750 Rads are going to contaminate an area, it is nonsensical. The units are wrong. It is like telling someone they need a kilometer of flour to bake a loaf of bread. It is nonsensical and irresponsible, because it is scaring the crap out of people.
Here's the thing. A Rad measures the amount of absorbed radiation on something. Not the amount of radiation, but the amount of energy transferred to something, typically human flesh. (note, you may hear someone refer to rads and rems...for the purposes of human flesh and discussion, they both mean about the same thing...so we will just stick to "rads" because that is what you hear out there a lot) Basically, a Rad measures EXPOSURE to radiation.
If you hear someone mention curies, millicuries or megacuries, that is an amount of decays of an isotope in a given amount of time. When you know what the isotope is, and you know how much energy or what kind of energy is given off when that particular isotope decays, then you have an idea how much radiation there will be.
When you know THAT, then you can figure out how much exposure human flesh will get in a given amount of time when exposed to certain levels of that radiation, and that exposure is measured in Rads.
Now. Here is the thing. EVERYONE gets exposure to radiation, and when your tissue absorbs that radiation, you get exposed to a certain amount of rads of radiation. We ALL get exposed. The average annual exposure to the average person living on this planet is 310 millirem. That is very, very small. That is .31 Rads, spread out over a year. Think of it as eating a cup of salt. Would it be bad for you if you took a cup of salt, mixed it in a glass of water and drank it in one minute? You bet it would be bad. But if you eat that cup of salt over the period of a year, you would probably be fine, but if you eat that much all the time, you will probably have cumulative problems from it, right? Radiation is the same. If you get it spread out over time, it isn't that bad, your body fixes it, but a fair amount over time might have cumulative effects.
I worked in nuclear medicine for 15 years, and I was allowed to have up to 5 rads (that is 5,000 mrad, but we refer to it as mrem or a millirem) a year of exposure to my body. I could have a lot more than that to my hands, which I probably did. But I was allowed to get up to 50 Rads (that's 50,000 mrad!!!!) over the course of a year to my hands because you don't have much in your hands that can be damaged by radiation. I am still here. And I worked with people who handled radiation at much higher levels than I did, and they are in their eighties now, without a problem.
So, back to this 750 Rad thing.
The have a measurement they use called the "LD50/30" dose. It means, the amount of radiation (Rads) that a person can get at one time, all in one shot, that will give you a 50% probability of being dead in 30 days. That amount of radiation is about 600 Rads, more or less. So you can see, if people in California were to get 750 Rads, there would be a huge amount of dead people. That is not, I repeat NOT going to happen. It isn't possible given the amounts of radiation even likely to be released in a worst case scenario.
I can answer questions on this if you want, just post back. There are a lot of people who know a lot more about radiation than I do, and I haven't been working with it for about 15 years now, but I am right as rain on this. If you have questions, I can at least give you a ballpark answer or point you in the right direction if I don't know.
With the terrible, terrible things going on in the world, we have much to be concerned about, but getting a lethal dose of radiation is not one of them. We are more at risk of dying of starvation or freezing to death because our politicians in power are doing their best to destroy our economy and energy industries. Trust me on this.
Additional reasons why this is not Chernobyl ...
- outstanding construction; reactors built for a high-seismic zone
- withstood 8.9 magnitude quake, which exceeded design criteria
- explosion was most likely a steam explosion (radioactive steam) ... giving good reason to believe the primary containment structure is intact
I would have to say that at this time, I agree the risk is small.
But I DO NOT agree that the risk is non-existent.
One thing that they have seen time and time again when there is a nuclear incident is it’s not at all predictable about what ares get how much. Some areas downwind get by and receive almost no radiation at all.
Other areas get doses that are far, far beyond what the models predict.
And I think it’s a good thing that people can come to the forum and ask questions and discuss things. They openly admit they do not know everything. They are just trying to find out more.
Now there is a certain contingent of knowitalls who come and do nothing constructive, and just heap scorn.
Well I’m not happy that the knowitalls simply didn’t just warn us this was going to happen a week ago.
I guess we should humbly bow to their overpowering flatulence.
Thanks for the info. There has always been alot of confusion when it comes to rads and rems and LD50 number.
But one thing is sure: less is better than more!
Excellent, people need to know the units and what they mean. Fearmongers play to the populace’s ignorance and you are clearing some fog.