Fairfax newspapers in Australia are promoting a new "study" spreading alarm about a nuclear incident that has unhelpfully failed to kill or injure many, many people through radiation. They state:
Stanford University scientists said RADIATION from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant may cause as many as 1300 cancer deaths globally, according to a study that showed fallout from from the Tokyo Electric Power Company's crippled reactors may be deadlier than predicted. Mark Jacobson, co-author of the study, added that the March, 2011 disaster may cause as many as 2500 cases of cancer in Japan and may have been 10 times greater if the radiation had not mostly fallen in the sea.
Here's a few facts omitted from the article -- facts that suggest the findings are alarmist trash!
1) Jacobson is a long-time anti-nuclear activist and global warming campaigner.
2) Jacobson's past absurd claims include asserting that by 2030 "wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 % of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels" -- a purely fantastical infrastructure plan that grossly exaggerates the output and reliability of solar and wind power and grossly underplays the cost.
3) This bonehead Jacobson has claimed "nuclear power results in up to 25 times more carbon emissions than wind energy" (which is contradicted by experts).
4) Jacobson still assumes the discredited No-Safe-Dose theory of nuclear radiation, claiming that infinitesimally small levels of radiation spread widely will still kill hundreds. In fact, says the International Commission on Radiological Protection:
The concept of Collective Dose has come under attack for some misuses. Collective effective dose is not intended as a tool for epiemiological risk assessment and it is inappropriate to use it in risk projections. The calculation of the number of cancer deaths based on collective doses from trivial individual doses should be avoided.
Why was none of this background given in the newspaper article? Surely it is relevant in judging whether the alarmist findings should be heeded or treat with contempt.?
The Way I See It....ironically, the Jacobson paper is just more evidence that anti-nuclear extremists and media dupes cause more harm and alarm than nuclear power ever will. The study actually confirms it in its own findings, even allowing for its gross exaggerations:
Japanese government agencies evacuated a 20-kilometer radius around the plant, distributed Iodine tablets to prevent radioiodine uptake and prohibited cultivation of crops above the radiation threshold -- steps that scientists "have applauded."
But the paper also notes that nearly 600 deaths were reported as a result of the evacuation process itself, mostly due to fatigue and exposure among the elderly and chronically ill. According to the study's model, the evacuation prevented at most 245 radiation-related deaths -- meaning the evacuation process may have cost more lives than it saved!
PS: After all his wild assumptions and exaggerations, the worst that Jacobson can claim is that the worst nuclear disaster in two decades could eventually kill just 30 people (mainly the plant workers and the cleanup crews).