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Japan Medicine Stats

Fukushima: 1,600 Dead From Evacuation Stress 178

seven of five writes: The NYT reports that radiation-related hysteria and mistakes have cost the lives of nearly 1,600 Japanese since the Fukushima disaster. The panic to evacuate, not the radiation itself, led to poor choices such as moving hospital intensive care patients from hospitals to emergency quarters. The government's perception of radiation exposure risk, rather than the actual risk itself, may have caused far more harm than it prevented.
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Fukushima: 1,600 Dead From Evacuation Stress

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 26, 2015 @06:09AM (#50603105)

    So fearmongering by the anti-nuclear body has lead to more deaths. Those guys are really doing a great job of increasing carbon emissions, increasing energy prices, increasing deaths due to continued use of coal fired power states, and now increasing deaths thanks to the fear of nuclear power that they've been spreading for years.

    The reaction to Fukushima was totally overblown, and the media made it sound like a global catastrophe when in reality it was a minor incident that was primarily caused by continued use of a reactor that should have been retired. Had it been replaced by a newer reactor, as it should have been, the whole incident would never have happened, but then that's another example of how the anti-nuclear guys are endangering lives by not allowing newer reactors to be built.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mistakill ( 965922 )
      You must realize that the Japanese people a fairly strong memory of the direct and indirect effects of Nuclear events, unique in it's own respect, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki...

      I doubt anyone in Japan would have wanted to be within 1000km of Fukushima and understandably so
      • Which effects? Seriously. I learned in school (back during the nuclear-holocaust nonsense) that nuclear bombs would make the world uninhabitable for millennia and more. Still, a mere weeks after the bombs fell on these two cities living there posed no risk to anyone (except from the fact that significant parts of the infrastructure was gone). Radiation risks after a nuclear bomb are negligible. Unless you were exposed when the bomb exploded.

    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @07:42AM (#50603303)
      Some Clarifications to the 1600 are in order;

      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/ne... [japantimes.co.jp]

      Around 90 percent of those who died of indirect causes were aged 66 or older, according to Reconstruction Agency statistics published in September.

      Unlike those caused by collapsed buildings or tsunami, indirect deaths are determined by municipal panels by examining links between the disaster and the cause of death. This occurs when a relative of a deceased files a request.

      Causes of indirect deaths include physical and mental stress stemming from long stays at shelters, a lack of initial care as a result of hospitals being disabled by the disaster, and suicides.

      Many of these deaths happened well after the evacuation. So effectively all deaths of the elderly displaced are blamed on Fukushima. It appears there is extra compensation if you can attribute a death to Fukushima.

    • Looked at in this way, the 'hysteria death toll' from Fukushima was far higher still in the US. At the time I had California relatives calling me to see if my state had secret stockpiles of KI pills that they could draw on after their desperate drives from pharmacy to pharmacy had come up empty. I'm wondering how the number of people who actually moved away from the coasts of the three pacific states, with the usual number of deaths in a migration, compared with the evacuations at the plants. Then you have

    • There is an entire superset of psychology dedicated to understanding these choices. If it were as simple as one side winning the propaganda war, it would be a course in marketing.

      This is complex stuff. Start here

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik... [wikipedia.org]

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Your argument seems to be "IF they did things right, the accident wouldn't happen". But the anti-nuclear groups point out that humans historically fuck things up such that relying on the existence of rational behavior is a mistake.

      That being said, ALL energy sources have downsides and risks. Nuclear power risk/harm is not necessarily greater than the alternatives. Thus, "mix it up" seems the more rational approach as no one mistake or side-effect dominates, and they each work better under different conditio

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        That being said, ALL energy sources have downsides and risks. Nuclear power risk/harm is not necessarily greater than the alternatives.

        How is it not greater? Dr. Evil could use his Alan Parson's Project [youtu.be] to blow up every dam on the planet, and while the loss of live would be tragic, it wouldn't still be effecting the Earth hundreds of years from now. As opposed to a nuclear meltdown, or an earthquake rupturing a waste containment center.

  • And yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday September 26, 2015 @06:37AM (#50603141) Homepage Journal

    The government's perception of radiation exposure risk, rather than the actual risk itself, may have caused far more harm than it prevented.

    And yet, Tepco downplayed and lied about the actual risk, and the amount of radioactive material released, literally at every turn. That is, literally everything Tepco said about it was a lie, and it was actually more and higher than they said literally every time. Perhaps the public loses confidence in official reports when they are all lies?

    • And yet, the report says, and I quote:

      "No one has been killed or sickened by the radiation — a point confirmed last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even among Fukushima workers, the number of additional cancer cases in coming years is expected to be so low as to be undetectable, a blip impossible to discern against the statistical background noise."

      Seems to me Fukushima was a government failure in emergency management more than anything else.

      • wait, so the stories about the men who went inside to stop the reactor, facing certain death, were complete fabricated?

        The media just took Wrath of Khan and substituted the nouns?

        • wait, so the stories about the men who went inside to stop the reactor, facing certain death, were complete fabricated?

          Yes, Achievement Unlocked! You can now get your daily news from Comedy Central instead of Slashdot.

      • by trenien ( 974611 )
        Because, of course, both the IAEA and George Johnson are completely unbiased when it comes to nuclear power...

        I honestly don't know about Johnson, but I've often seen guys of his age involved in science such as him to be quite pro-nuclear: quite enough for most to not be particularly thorough when it comes to researching positive outlooks. That brings me to the IAEA which is the source cited and has been criticised a lot for its very positive stance about nuclear power.

        Last of all, when talking about Fu

        • by Uecker ( 1842596 )

          Because, of course, both the IAEA and George Johnson are completely unbiased when it comes to nuclear power...

          I honestly don't know about Johnson, but I've often seen guys of his age involved in science such as him to be quite pro-nuclear: quite enough for most to not be particularly thorough when it comes to researching positive outlooks.

          I also see that it is very easy to get confused about what the scientific community actually believes about something. Especially if you are not a scientist and already have a bias. The reason is that science is very open and even fringe opinions are tolerated. So if you are looking for a confirmation for a something you believe in you can always find some study in an obscure journal which seems to confirm your idea. For science, this is not a problem because scientists are usually able to judge by themselv

        • I love articles like this. They are sooo funny. Take a look at the illustration picture. You saw the same type of imagery with another "investigative report". Here the TV crew got dressed up like that and took a TEPCO representative with them who declined the "protective gear". They claimed he did so only to safe the face of TEPCO 'cause, you know, everybody knows we can't enter Fukushima with this type of protective gear.

          Except, this is for protection against dust, not radiation. Same as is used in a slaug

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        How else could they have coped with it? The situation was uncertain, an evacuation was required. The deaths mostly came because once displaced the refugees lacked adequate housing, communities, jobs and medical support.

        The only way to mitigate that would be to build a spare city for people living near nuclear plants to move in to, and then pump vast amounts of cash in to jump start its economy and replace all the stuff people lost. Even then, you can't replace heirlooms, personal items and pets. The things

      • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

        It's easy to see how the Japanese could over react.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Even if TEPCO had been more honest, the reality is that no one knew how bad it was going to be. They lost the ability to monitor the reactors and had to assume the worst. It could easily have resulted in far more material being ejected into the atmosphere and surrounding area. Evacuation was the only option.

      The evacuation was an inevitable consequence of the accident. The accident killed 1600 people so far.

      • So, if you use that in the future, please be sure to clarify that they were indirect effects of the evacuation, and not from radio logical health effects. I imagine you'll conveniently leave out those details. We'll see.
      • The evacuation was an inevitable consequence of the accident. The accident killed 1600 people so far.

        TFA is actually pretty well written and avoids playing the blame game like you are. It simply points out that inadequate consideration was given to the consequences of an evacuation. That is, the evacuation was done because it was assumed there was a high risk to not evacuating, but nearly zero risk to evacuating. That turned out not to be the case. And that in the future, evacuations shouldn't be assum

      • The prudent, conservative, thing to do was to recommend people with pre-puberty children and pregnant women move out of the area. The rest should have stayed put.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Thousands have died from Chernobyl, and many tens of thousands more had serious health consequences. Given that things seemed to be bad and that there was no way to know how bad or if the problem could be contained an evacuation was the only reasonable course of action.

          • Thousands have died from Chernobyl

            This is pure fantasy with no basis in reality. We simply have no idea how many deaths Chernobyl may or may not have caused. The number is unknowable but probably somewhere between 0 and 4000. We also do not know how many people suffered health consequences.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In *every* nuclear disaster, the *first* reaction of the people in charge is to lie:

    1 - Chernobyl. Lies.
    2 - Three Mile Island. More lies.
    3 - Fukushima. More lies.

    And before someone says this is an issue with private companies running nuclear facilities, remember that the initial Chernobyl denial and coverups happened under the control of a communist government, so it swings both ways.

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @07:17AM (#50603239)

    It looks like the nuclear accident steals the show but one must not forget that the earthquake and tsunami themselves that killed at least 15000 people and rendered many others homeless. So I am not sure how they got to 1600 deaths but how did they differentiate cases that were caused by the radiation-related evacuation and cases where the direct effect of the earthquake and tsunami was the cause.

    • by Idou ( 572394 )
      Sorry, I know this is Slashdot, but please. . . how do the tsunami deaths mitigate the meltdown's damage? Yes, the tsunami itself was one of the worst disasters in Japan's modern history. Ergo, it was the WORST time to have a meltdown. Simultaneous disasters have multiplier affects off of each other, which makes everything WORSE. The meltdown diverted resources that could have gone to helping more people impacted by the tsunami. Straightforward things like gathering the dead and cleaning up the wreckage aft
  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @08:01AM (#50603353)

    Evertime there is a Hurricane Evacuation you get a couple dozen that die from car accidents or falling off ladders boarding up their houses to prevent looting, etc. That is one of the reasons politicians are wary of calling evacuations unless really needed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Evertime there is a Hurricane Evacuation you get a couple dozen that die from car accidents or falling off ladders boarding up their houses to prevent looting, etc. That is one of the reasons politicians are wary of calling evacuations unless really needed.

      And yet politicians also seem lined up to cheer for security "theatre" at airports, when it can result in similar indirect deaths and injuries.

      What am I talking about? Despite the common fear of flying and airplane accidents, car accidents are MUCH, MUCH more common to result in death or serious injury. Some studies have indicated that people choosing to travel by car rather than plane in the months after 9/11 may have resulted in the deaths of over a thousand more people [ssrn.com].

      I know a number of people who

    • The ultimate nightmare scenario for the National Weather Service: a confirmed rain-wrapped EF0 tornado that touches down in Miami or Fort Lauderdale at 4pm & is clearly heading towards I-95. If they say nothing, the tornado is unlikely to kill anyone, because everyone will be driving slowly due to the torrential rain anyway. On the other hand, if they send out a warning that a tornado is about to cross I-95, some idiot is almost **guaranteed** to abandon his car, attempt to cross 4-6 lanes of traffic, a

    • Politicians don't care about a few people dying in random accidents.

      They care about lots of voters being grumpy because they were told to leave and were inconvenienced by it and then it turned out there was no actual need to leave since the Hurricane wasn't as bad as predicted for their location. And that it makes them look silly to some voters.

  • It was an emergency, they had no idea how it would turn out as they were evacuating the area. And it is not just the patients. Sure, for many patients the risk of moving them will always outweigh the risk of anything else. But still the healthy and mobile doctors and nurses are still going to want to evacuate instead of putting their lives n danger. And these patients will definitely die without medical supervision, so the choice is between leaving them to die or taking the risk and taking them with you.
  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @03:13PM (#50604503) Homepage

    ...but the coal industry in the States kills about 24,000 people per year - and that's just the respiratory stuff, it doesn't even attempt to find out what all the mercury that winds up in the fish is doing to people.

    So sorry if it sounds callous to say, "actually, it doesn't matter whether you're arguing over zero deaths, one, ten or a hundred"...but as long as every single article about nuclear issues doesn't start and end with that 24,000 deaths per year (hundreds of thousands worldwide, though China is the really staggering toll), then all of those articles are callous.

    Honestly, if 65 people per day were dying of a disease, would it be callous to say "look, the cure only kills about a hundred people in a whole year, fuck those people, deploy the cure". Maybe it would, but with a good:bad ratio of 240:1, it's the kind of callousness we all sign off on when it comes to anything else.

    It's actually funny (black humour) to read those super-long posts attempting to prove this or that about the ultimate death toll...but the numbers don't even rise to the 1600 at issue for the evacuation, much less the respiratory deaths from fossil alternatives, much less the whole atmospheric chemistry issue. It's like the bar being set for nuclear is that it must be perfect..."way, way better" is not good enough...

  • It was Japan. The only hysteria was in the behaviour of the Western media trying to milk the story. "Hysteria" in Japan only seems to exist in low budget monster movies.

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