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Japan Medicine Power Science

Fukushima's Fallout of Fear 124

gbrumfiel writes "Experts believe that the many thousands who fled from the Fukushima nuclear disaster received very low doses of radiation. But that doesn't mean there won't be health consequences. Nature magazine traveled to Fukushima prefecture and found evidence of an enormous mental strain from the accident. Levels of anxiety and PTSD-like symptoms are high among evacuees. Researchers fear that, in the long run, the mental problems could lead to depression and substance abuse among those who lost their homes. In other words, even if no one develops cancer as a direct result of radiation, the health effects could still be very real."
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Fukushima's Fallout of Fear

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  • by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:57PM (#42609397)

    If officials would reliably issue accurate statements there would be much less reason to stress out.

  • by scsirob ( 246572 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @05:59PM (#42609419)

    .. Are they saying that fear mongering will kill more people than the radiation from actual nuclear disaster? Wow.
    So that means, on the death toll scale:
    1. The actual Tsunami
    2. Traffic accidents from people trying to flee
    3. Stress related deaths
    4. Radiation related deaths

  • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @06:11PM (#42609621)
    That seems accurate, but I would say that there are still a lot of other items between 3 and 4.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @06:24PM (#42609807)

    FFS enough with the nuclear-accidents-are-cool-and-safe propaganda on slashdot.

    On the one hand we are expected to believe there are nuclear terrorists with a few grams of cesium-137 pose a deadly threat to our largest cities []

    On the other hand we are expected to believe a nuclear accident where 180TONS of nuclear fuel in three reactors completely melted down, releasing over 5-30kg (15-85TBq) of cesium-137 directly into the atmosphere, 10 times as much other volatile isotopes, (in addition to even greater ongoing releases into the ocean) will have no significant health effects at a population level.

    Read the works of the late Alice Stewart at Oxford University or Ernest Sternglass. All the other pro-nuclear academics are corrupted gits.

  • by BlackThorne_DK ( 688564 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @06:39PM (#42610015)

    Please do me a favor. Don't go to the Grand Central Station with a geiger counter. Also stay away from Capitol Hill i D.C. and any other granite or marble building.
    Also bananas could be scary to look at, and flying to the east coast would also be a no-go. []

    I wouldn't have you ramp up that nuclear fear too high, or you might be a part of statistics.

    Radiation is all around us, and the scientist are not even sure it is a bad thing.

  • Implications (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @07:15PM (#42610579) Homepage Journal

    Given that, I wonder how the total financial meltdown courtesy of Golden Sacks and co. complete with people losing their homes, income, and healthcare compares to every reactor in the U.S. suffering a Fukushima style meltdown all at once.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @12:26AM (#42613293)

    I was in Japan shortly after the Tsunami, and most people seemed to understand that the radiation would have no impact on their lives for anyone in Tokyo or south of Tokyo, compared to the mild panic say on the west coast of North America. The authorities seemed to have communicated somewhat effectively the risks, at least for those not in the immediate area, and people were far more focused on getting support to tsunami victims than concerned about radiation. As such, the damage due to panic was relatively localized.

    I'd hate to see something similar happen in the US - with the culture of fear, panic, and entitlement, people would go nuts and the damage across the entire country could well be hundreds of times larger than any radiation release could cause. This is why the prospect of a dirty bomb is such a scary terrorist scenario - it wouldn't cause much damage itself but people would tear each other apart, avoid anyone exposed due to fear, and permanantly cordon off a large section of urban landscape. Even though if this were to happen it is likely to be home grown, the army will likely go to war with the first country that blinks, and politics will get even more insane. Scary stuff - though completely preventable and self-imposed.

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