With the terrible earthquake and resulting tsunami that have devastated Japan, the resultant damage to an aged Nuclear Power Plant facility (built in 1971) has over-shadowed the human carnage with frightful warnings of released radiation. Being true-to-form, the media are having a field-day drawing unrealistic comparisons with Chernobyl, a China Syndrome or atomic-like explosion. Panic is almost seen in the streets, blah, blah, blah. Even the expert "talking heads" they bring on TV so far haven't mentioned that these Nuclear Plants were old Generation #2 models. The new Generation #5 plants, now being ordered by over 20 countries, are designed to be impervious to tsunamis, earthquakes, missile attacks and loss of coolant (using a no-fail gravity feed system) and yet there is not one word about this. Why kill a good horror story with some real perspective by highlighting many of these marvelous improvements. China has ordered 65 of these new, state-of-the-art reactors. Unfortunately, the demonetization of anything Nuclear has brain-washed the public.
The good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer. Yes I know this seems counter intuitive because of media hysteria for the past 20 years trying to convince Australians & Americans that ANY dose is bad. There is however, burgeoning evidence that radiation operates as a sort of cancer "vaccine". The scientific name for this phenomenon is called hormesis.
As early as 1983, it was found that an apartment complex in Taiwan was constructed with massive amounts of Cobalt 60 in the concrete. After 16 years, the building's 10,000 occupants developed only five cases of cancer. These people had been exposed to radiation nearly five times the maximum "safe" level, but they ended up with a cancer rate 96% lower than the general population.
In 1991, a $10 million, the U.S. Department of Energy study examined 10 years of research by John Hopkins School of Public Health on 700,000 shipyard workers, some of whom had been exposed to 10 times more radiation than the others from their work on ship's nuclear reactors. The workers exposed to this "excess" radiation had a 25% lower cancer mortality than the non-irradiated workers.
Amazingly, even the Soviet-engineered disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 can be directly blamed for the deaths of no more than 31 people inside the plant who died in the explosion. Although the news media hyped up the death rate to a few thousand, after endless investigations by scientific groups, a report summary stated that, "They have not yet reported any deaths outside of the 31 who died in the plant." Meanwhile, the animals around the Chernobyl reactor, who were not evacuated, are "thriving", according to scientists quoted in the April 28th (2002) edition of the (UK) Sunday Times.
The Way I See It....and although it is hardly a settled scientific fact that radiation can be a health benefit, there's certainly evidence that it decreases the risk of some cancers---and there are plenty of scientists willing to say so. Recently, a Canadian study was mentioned that found tuberculosis patients subjected to multiple chest X-rays had much lower rates of breast cancer than the general population.
I guess good radiation stories are not as exciting as ignorant news anchors warning of mutant humans and exploding nuclear power plants -- news anchors who, by the way, have injected small amounts of poison into their foreheads to stave off wrinkles. Which is to say: The general idea that small amounts of toxins can be healthy is widely accepted -- except in the case of radiation. They'll take the crap poisons in the Flu shot or drink copious amount of diet sodas laced with aspartame without a thought, but are horrified at the minutest amount of that "deadly" radiation. Ignorance is bliss, they say, but coming from the media...it's criminal!