Researchers estimate 130 might die from Fukushima-related cancers
Women's group members protest against nuclear power plants at a demonstration in Japan on Tuesday.
July 17th, 2012
06:21 PM ET

Researchers estimate 130 might die from Fukushima-related cancers

As protests against nuclear power gain momentum in Japan, a new report estimates the worldwide cancer death toll from the March 2011 disaster at Fukushima Daiichi could be anywhere from 15 to 1,300.  But researchers say it will more likely be around 130, and mostly in Japan.

"It's not large, but it's not 0," said Mark Jacobson, a civil and environmental engineer at Stanford University and co-author of the new study.  "A lot of people were claiming there were no health effects from the radiation.  We found that was not the case."

The study, published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, uses a three-dimensional model of the atmosphere to look at how radioactive materials spread after last year's massive earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The methods of the study were standard, and the estimates were reasonable, although there is still uncertainty around them, said Kathryn Higley, head of Nuclear Engineering & Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University. But given how much cancer already exists in the world, it would be very difficult to prove that anyone's cancer was caused by the incident at Fukushima Daiichi.  The World Health Organization estimates that 7.8 million people died worldwide in 2008, so 130 out of that number is quite small, says Higley.

More than 15,000 people died in northeastern Japan as a result of the natural disaster. No deaths have been attributed to the Fukushima accident itself, but about 600 deaths were confirmed to be tied to the massive evacuation of the area, Jacobson said.  Those who passed away during the evacuation may have died from a variety of causes, such as disease, fatigue, stress or moving hospitals.

In terms of cancer morbidities, Jacobson and co-author John E. Ten Hoeve estimated that there will be between 24 and 2,500 cancer cases, with 180 being the most probable number, according to their model.  These numbers and the death projections are based on about one year of exposure to radiation from Fukushima - there could be additional effects later, but most impacts from a radioactive disaster would occur within the first year, Jacobson said.

The radition from the damage to the nuclear power plant includes the radioactive isotope Iodine 131, which  has a half-life of eight days, meaning it has a short-term, intense effect.  Cesium–137 was also released and lasts for about 30 years before half of it decays, meaning its impact is longer lasting, but after a year there wouldn't be much left of it in the air, Jacobson said.  It could still be in the soil and food, however.

"Japan is very lucky because only 19% of the emissions ended up over land, where people lived, and 81% was over the ocean," Jacobson said.

By comparison, 90% of the emissions from Chernobyl ended up over land, and the radioactive emissions themselves were about 10 times as great. The resulting health effects were as much as 50 to 100 times higher compared to in Japan, Jacobson said.

To estimate the effects of the Fukushima accident, study authors factored in the radiation concentration people were exposed to, the population that was actually exposed, and the health effect per unit of concentration per person.  They looked at health risk studies over the years to inform their estimates, but that data has uncertainty in it, meaning the range for projected number of mortalities is broad.

Researchers also looked at what would happen if a nuclear disaster of this nature were to happen in the United States  They focused on the Diablo Canyon, a power plant that could be affected by earthquakes in California. If an accident were to occur, a lot of the impact would depend on meteorological conditions - in Diablo Canyon, 45% of emissions would go over land, and the cancer death rate would probably be about 25% higher compared to the situation in Japan. "Similar to Fukushima, a large majority of the health effect is local," the study authors wrote.

But keep in mind that the population density in California is about one-quarter that of Japan.  If California had the same population as Japan, there would have been five times the number of deaths from this theoretical disaster than from Fukushima, Jacobson said.

The study recommends that long-term cancer risk studies be conducted in Japan to compare with the new estimates, and for future modeling of Fukushima's health effects.

soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Bazoing

    Living near Diablo Canyon it is nice to know that my death will not mean much on a world wide scale. That will be nice as the cancer eats away, say my eyes and then starts on my nose.

    July 17, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ScrewELouE

      Sounds like it already hit your brain!

      July 17, 2012 at 21:17 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Texas

      Under 200? Compared to over 15,000? That is a non-story. Do people understand that they are building back on the coast where 15,000 died? Next tsunami another 15,000 dead. Yet they are more scared of nuclear? These were 50 year old designs in 40+ year old plants on the coast in a zone with the most powerful earthquakes in the world and 200 people might die earlier? That actually proves how safe nuclear power is. They didn't have electronic calculators when they built these plants. Safety has improved vastly since then. Look at the safety of airplanes and cars 50 years ago.
      You are scared of nuclear power but not getting into a car? That is irrational.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
    • knucklecheese

      Ryan, you are thinking logically. In the 21st Century World there simply is no room for logical thought, only frantic knee-jerk over reaction, nonsensical conclusions derived from unchecked childish emotional outbursts, a complete and total disregard for the scientific method, and above all, total avoidance of having to accept (let alone process) legitimate facts. Yes sir, throw in the mob mentality that's been going around and the future's lookin' pretty bright!

      July 18, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
    • Dandy

      I wished there was a like button. Liked what you had to say and totally agree!

      July 18, 2012 at 14:11 | Report abuse |

      I remember going to a protest back in the late 1970s or early 1980s when they opened Diablo Canyon.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
    • Andrew


      Yeah, few people compared to a large number of people for other disasters....but we can use other energy sources that don't kill anybody. There is so much energy available from renewbale sources that nuclear can be eliminated. Nuclear is a rather clean source until something unorindary happens...but there is always a potential for disaster when nuclear energy is beung used.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:12 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla


      Check statistics for deaths per terawatt/hr. Nuclear is the safest form of energy for the value, even more so than wind, hydro, and solar.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • adasd

      We should nuke Tokoyo for being yellow

      July 22, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    you need to add 6 or 7 zeros to the end of that number. If #4 cooling pool fails you can add the rest of us to it too.

    July 17, 2012 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ScrewELouE

      How about getting some smarts there...JOE.

      July 17, 2012 at 21:18 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan in Texas

      Poor thing. You just hate the fact that few people will actually die from the nuclear plants, don't you? We are talking about under 200 people that might die a little earlier. Compare to 15,000 who died instantly in the tsunami – and remember – they are rebuilding in the same places, so they will face the same risk of losing 15,000 again.
      People will accept the risk of driving to go get a slurpee, even though your odds of dieing in a car crash are "6 or 7 zeros more" in terms of odds greater than dieing because of nuclear power.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:10 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      HAHAHA!! Joe, you obviously have NO clue what you're talking about!! You sensationalists make me laugh!!

      July 18, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse |
  3. dosdos

    These figures are based on ultra-conservative models that were created by those who strongly support nuclear energy, and the parameters are very limited to keep the estimate way down. Honest models of the effect of radiation on human health would multiply the range by better than a factor of 1,000, and then multiply it by another 100 to cover all parameters of death caused by radiation exposure. And then consider the children, born and unborn, and you have another 10X to add to the total. This article is a shameful misrepresentation, showing just how the government skews data to make their side look good, when it's just plain evil.

    July 17, 2012 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ScrewELouE

      Nice try... the same trash was expressed about Chernobyl which was much harsher on a population that wasn't informed for days. that death toll did not go to the SCARY level you've expressed DODO!

      July 17, 2012 at 21:21 | Report abuse |
    • 4sanity

      The numbers are a fair estimate of the potential for human health effects. Your fantasy multipliers – are exactly that: FANTASY !

      July 18, 2012 at 02:45 | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      Exactly correct, and they forgot to add the 14,000 children on the west coast that have died from Fukushima, but since its not in the MSM no one knows about it or no one cares to know.... just looked through Chernoybl Children and you can see how the 1986 Chernoybl disaster is still affecting humanity today and its very very sad.

      July 18, 2012 at 05:31 | Report abuse |
    • Stefanie

      Agree 100% dosdos... this is a very irresponsible report and clearly illustrates the results from those who support nuclear power. We have seen this same type of misrepresentation, in the reporting of deaths due to dehydration, as a result of cholera infection in Haitian people.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Whether or not you use a "conservative" mode, it's still just a model or an estimate. It could be that anyone who was close enough to get lethal doses of radiaton died in the tsunami.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      Hey dosdos, do you have a source for the 130 million people you claim will die as a result of the fukushima accident? Also, what is a 'parameter of death'?

      July 18, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • Montyhp

      EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE. The data used to develop these numbers ignores an entire body of work done by Bernie Cohen and others that shows that low levels of radiation may have a protective effect. In fact, every time we teach people that there is "no safe level of radiation," we are not considering all of the science. The truth is, we don't have statistics from the atomic bomb survivors at low doses (like most people around the world will get from Fukishima) to prove what is going on, so we just make an assumption that the risk line goes through zero risk at zero dose.

      The statistical range of deaths should really include zero if all of the data is being considered.

      July 18, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • George

      Haha seriously? The author of that paper is a strong anti-nuclear figure and used junk science to come to these conclusions. If you knew anything about how you are supposed to calculate cancer risk for a population from radiation exposure you would know that this report used incorrect methodology to calculate the already small value of cancers calculated. You cannot blindly apply LNT to a population as specified by the ICRP.

      So this paper already over predicts the amount of cancer deaths that will be caused by this incident. Either way, you have a much much greater chance of dying due to cancer from a coal power plant (1000's of times greater) so why is nuclear so venomously on trial here?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • sam

      "This data is skewed!" says the man who suggests multiplying the estimate by one million with no facts to support it.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • Johan S

      Uh WRONG, if you google the lead author of this study - you'll see he's very much anti nuclear. He's an environmentalist who has written books advocating 100% renewables (wind and solar). So no, its not based on conservative models. It's just the opposite. WHY DID YOU CLAIM THIS IS BASED ON CONSERVATIVE MODELS, WHEN YOU HAVE ZERO EVIDENCE TO BACK THAT UP?

      July 19, 2012 at 21:50 | Report abuse |
    • bairkus

      Where did you say you got those statistical corrections? What studies did you say they are based upon and who was the author?? Could it be You were the author of those figures??? O, Wise One, set us right again!!!

      - He who slings mud loseth ground.

      July 21, 2012 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
  4. Hubert

    Dosdos is absolutely right. And Chernobyl did even worse than expected. Many thousands have died as a result in the past 26+ years.

    July 17, 2012 at 21:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PudninTane

      Except Dosdos in not right, Chernobyl did less than expected, and many thousands have not died. Other than that, you're spot on.

      July 18, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • Jose

      Pud, maybe you should do a little more research about Chernobyl. Hundreds Thousands of died from the catastrophe when calculated 26 years later. And as for the workers that helped avoid a global disaster in their later 40's, they're walking around as if they were 60-80 years of age. It's really shameful of the risks people are willing to take for the sake of power. No pun intended.

      July 18, 2012 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
  5. jmcondreay

    The problem is that you can't attribute with 100% accuracy that a cancer case is directly related to exposure from a nuclear accident. It's not like a cancer cell just jumps up and says hey I was caused by Fukushima or Chernobyl. This issue is further complicated by the general ignorance that the public has when it comes to radiation sources and exposure. There are a great number of naturally occuring sources that can skew the data when it comes to determining directly related deaths. Now I am certainly not saying that people aren't going to die from this event, but I would argue that the estimated number of people dying from acute exposure from Fukushima is fairly accurate.

    July 17, 2012 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Keith B Rosenberg

    So the actual death toll from the tsunami and evacuation are over 2 orders of magnitude greater than the estimated deaths from cancer from the reactor meltdowns. Sounds like we ought to be banning coastal building before banning nuclear power.

    July 17, 2012 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sam

      Uh.. hel-looooo, the coast is pretty and nuclear plants are ugly, DUH! *snaps gum*

      July 19, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • Wareerat

      Attended show in Orlando last night. Had mixed feelings about the show and the resaon is because of the lighting and sound. First of all, there was a very glaring white light shining from the back of the stage right onto the audience. It made it almost impossible to see the stage. Also with all the other lighting it was easier to see the dancers on the projections screens rather than on stage. Very difficult to make out which dancer was which. The volume of the music and even the videos of Mary and Nigel was almost deafening. It seemed as though the sound and lighting people didn't have time to set up properly or check their work.The performers were so good that it made sitting through the above worthwhile. They're probably the best contestants So You Think You Can Dance has had so far. Hope the troupe will be in the Orlando area next year.

      August 2, 2012 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
  7. Darlene Buckingham

    Unnatural radiation harms life – there is nothing natural about nuclear energy. Many daughters of uranium produced by nuclear fission are not found in nature. Until the truth is told we are going to continue to die from broken pieces of uranium that have no business in our water, air and food. The big big big problem is that people want to be able to kill people that get in their way instead of learning how to live a good life. Simple until we get over killing one another we will continue to destroy our world rather than take care of it and thrive.

    July 18, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tesla

      Define unnatural radiation.

      The daughters of uranium are all smaller order elements. Since we have discovered natural reactors before (places where nuclear fission occurs in nature due to a critical mass of uranium under water), the daughter products of uranium are all found in nature.

      Radiation is all around you. It comes from living things, bricks, space, coal pollution, everything. You are actively radioactive, as you contain carbon-14, an unstable isotope of carbon.

      We are going to continue to die, but not from "broken pieces of uranium in our food." We're going to continue to die due to smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating, a sedentery lifestyle, coal pollution, chemical contamination from fracking and solar panels and their manufacturers. These are each far more likely to give one cancer than radiation. Take some time, do some research, and really think about it.

      July 18, 2012 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • dexmd

      The first nuclear reactor was actually natural... google Oklo mine.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
    • PudninTane

      Darlene has no idea what she's talking about and no grasp of nuclear processes.

      July 18, 2012 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • sam

      I assume you are also a nudist who uses pine cones to wipe and lives in a cave?

      July 19, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • Olivia

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      August 1, 2012 at 14:32 | Report abuse |
  8. Major_Fear

    Can you say... BS! Wouldn't trust any report on MSM!

    July 18, 2012 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dattatray

      I loved it! I was a bit worried when I saw how paekcd in the floor seats were. My mom and I were second row of the second section in the middle with no one in front of us. Luckily we're both tall enough to see over section one, but I'm sure the people behind us were super annoyed with the seating. The show in and of itself was amazing! Melanie was breathtaking!!! She's been my favorite since auditions and seeing her perform live was so exciting! Other standouts would have to be Caitlynn, Tadd, and Ricky! Everyone was so great though!!!I had an amazing experience!!! Go Season 8!!!!

      August 4, 2012 at 00:19 | Report abuse |
  9. Russ

    I'd say the effects are understated, very likely to assuage the public fear and protect the nuclear industry. The incident itself was consistently played down. Contaminated products from Fukushima were shipped to market. We've detected contaminated Bluefins off southern California (after determining that the isotopes were from Fukushima – conveniently the FDA will not test fish) . We've detected isotopes from Fukushima within the US, and so on. 130? It's going to be a lot more than that over the couple of decades. It's just that folks are unlikely to link their cancers with Fukushima in 10+ years.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Weiss

    Figures that someone from Texas (Ryan) would blindly back nuCLEAR power in his "Fox NewsTard " analysis ... The BOTTOM LINE is there is NO solution to the Nuclear Waste storage issue.... While theNRC wants to shove it down Yucca Mountan AGAINST THE WIHSES OF LOCAL RESIDENTS. Would u be Ok with Nuclear waste in YOUR back yard next to YOUR CHILDREN??? Time to free world of this disgustingly toxic form of energy...ANYTHING LESS would be collective suicide.

    July 18, 2012 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ana Steele

      Weiss – fantastic use of random SHOUTY CAPITALS. Unfortunately, I couldn't understand most of what you wrote because of your random use of capital letters and incoherent ramblings. Also, what do Texas and Fox News have to do with this situation?

      July 18, 2012 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      Umm... the residents near the Yucca Mountain Storage Facility were happy it was going in. Of course, that was mainly due to the contract for the location which power companies paid billions of dollars into. Then, once it was finished, Nevada decided they didn't want it to be used for it's intended purpose, but hey! Thanks for the money and jobs! That was really nice.

      Also, there are ways of dealing with the waste that is not dry cask storage. Breeder reactors can reprocess old fuel and pull more power out of it, creating more energy and leaving a waste product with one hundredth the mass and a 200 year half-life. With that technology, we could have enough power to last until the human race blinks out (at current consumption).

      July 18, 2012 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      The storage of nuclear waste is far better than the storage of coal-ash/sludge produced by coal power plants. At least with nuclear energy, ALL the toxins, chemicals and materials can be stored without damage to the environment. Coal plants continually pump hundreds of millions of tons of ash into the atmosphere every year. The remaining ash and sludge from the smoke stacks, which contains all the heavy metals not pumped into the air, is stored in ponds, pools, pits, old mines, and wherever else the industry can dump it.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
    • bairkus

      I suggest building a house on the Yellowstone Caldera, if you can figure out how. Then live "in harmony with Nature" there, Weiss, and after living there a couple of years and getting a handle on Mother Nature's threats to our existence, try getting Her out of our back yard! One Third of the US is going to be effaced from the earth the next time she blows that one – unless we figure out a way to prevent it.

      But in one way I'm really comparing apples and oranges. The Yellowstone Caldera is not a Manageable Risk like Nuclear Power Generation or its more deadly cousin Solar Panel Installation and Maintenance - The Caldera Eruption is a certainty.

      Still, in another way they are alike. Its an emotional thing – It is utterly terrifying, when you don't understand the risk.

      July 21, 2012 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
    • Nidigonda

      there should have been some means of acoigwledknng who was dancing in new numbers. My friend was gushing over how well Marko did with Melanie in the Broadway number and was surprised when I told her it was actually Jess. These dancers deserve at least a moment or two of audience appreciation all of them. I did like the blending of dances into a more theatrical experience, but did not like the new pair coming out before one pair finished. Again, no chance to applaud. We were smitten by Ricky and Jess, even though we went in as girl-focused favorites. Those two were phenomenal, esp. Energizer Bunny Jess. Overall, great show.

      August 2, 2012 at 08:54 | Report abuse |
  11. rjp34652

    CRAZY. Nuclear radiation doesn't cause cancer, don't you know that. We've been told for years that its something else.

    For example, in the 1950s there was a huge amount of nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere. Lots of radioactive fallout, including Strontium 90 with a half life of 50k years or so, percolated out into the environment because of it. Strontium 90 has an affinity for breast tissue in cows and humans. Connect the dots and you've got human suffering caused by human arrogance.

    But as they say, commercial radiation doesn't cause cancer. It must be in the toothpaste or something else.

    but that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    July 18, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tesla

      Frequent flyers get more dose than rad-workers, let alone people who live near the plants. There's a lot more radiation associated with coal, both in mining and burning it. It's just not regulated, and the industry releases it willy-nilly into the atmosphere. And don't eat bananas, they have a trace amount of radioactive potassium-40, which not only decays radioactively, but releases an anti-proton (or was it a with each atom that decays, meaning that you have parts of your system getting actively annihilated when you eat bananas. So, yeah.

      You can holler all you want from the choir loft. I'd rather speak firmly from a place of learning, logic, and reason.

      July 18, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • man4earth

      So Tesla, we should fear the banana not the meltdown? Yes you get plenty of exposure as a frequent flyer, that is not good, but you don't get the Hot Particles.

      July 18, 2012 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
  12. Common Sense

    Do people understand that the longer the half-life of an element the less intense the radiation is? So a Strontium 90 with a half-life of 50k years will put out a very weak amount of radiation, because the actual radiation release occurs when it breaks down (i.e. losses mass). The mass loss expells either alpha, beta, gamma, or neutrons which cause the element to "decay" into another element or isotope. The most dangerous elements are the one with really short half lives, because if you are near them during the quick decay you will gain the highest radiation dose.
    Cigarettes, alcohol, and sweetened drinks have caused more death than Nuclear Power plants ever will.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bag

      Sorry this is wrong and misleading. For one, Uranium becomes stable when it decays into lead so comparing this to strontium is inaccurate. Secondly, elements with a smaller half-life are less dangerous because we can simply isolate them until they become safe and stable, not really a problem for us. Being exposed to the radiation of a smaller element will not be as deadly to us as Uranium because it will become stable before we ingest it or have too much exposure. Thirdly, the half-life of Uranium is around 4.5 billion years, in other words we are left with a large pile of Uranium that is never going to go away and is giving off radiation. Alpha radiation isn't too harmful to use unless we are to ingest it, which is a large risk from Uranium because it is constantly giving it off. The probability of an element giving off gamma rays is more likely to come from one that last billions of years as opposed to one that last a few minutes.

      July 18, 2012 at 20:29 | Report abuse |
    • Bag

      Meant to say gamma radiation not rays*

      July 18, 2012 at 20:58 | Report abuse |
  13. man4earth

    Cancer risk models for radiation are based on young adult males, the risk is twice as high for females, ten times higher for children and many times higher than that for a fetus. Cancer is not the only health effect, radiation suppresses the immune system, leaving the exposed to an increased risk to all Illness. This is one way that a study can show a much lower impact than there is. How much released radiation was the study based on, I don't know when this study started but probably months ago, if you have been following the news related to Fukushima you would know that TEPCO has reported more than once that the amount of radiation released was much higher than previously reported, just a few weeks ago TEPCO reported that the amounts released were much higher than earlier estimates. The study is based on one year exposure, and radiation is still being released from Fukushima. There is much effort in nuclear circles to downplay the risk from this catastrophe, and radiation in general. One example of this is the recent MIT study on low level radiation exposure that exposed mice for few weeks and concluded that it was not that bad, and that people were better off being left in place near a meltdown rather than being evacuated, which could save industry and governments huge sums of money. The results of the short duration MIT study contradict the results of extensive low level radiation studies from around the world. Shortly after the MIT study was published they received a 1.7 million dollar grant from the DOE.
    When it comes to radiation, one has to dig deep and pay close attention to know the truth, if the public at large knew the truth there would not be a nuclear industry.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Montyhp

      Cancer risk models are based on atomic bomb survivors which included a broad segment of the population.

      You can't have it both ways. If you want to complain because there are conflicting reports coming from different scientists, then maybe the science should all be kept secret until the scientific method weeds out the faulty results. In general, there will be scientific agreement developed after a few years of study and discussion. Until then, you can't start with the conspiracy theories just because scientists come up with different answers in individual studies.

      July 18, 2012 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • man4earth

      Montyhp, Studies were done on the atomic bomb survivors, the BEIR V report is seriously flawed for one, because dose estimates were based on a grossly overestimated exposure since much of the radiation from an atomic bomb detonation rises quickly into the upper atmosphere not exposing the local population to much of the radiation that was calculated as dose in the report. What this means is that cancer estimates were based on a much higher dose level than was received.
      Deceit, it was known decades earlier that this was the case with atomic bomb detonations, yet this report came out in 1990.
      Expect more junk science studies to come from major universities because they are hurting for money, and will seek more grant cash. Enrollment is down at major universities as students flock to lesser expensive schools, in fact tuition spending is down 5% from the previous year.
      Evidence, you can't do a low dose slow dose study for a few weeks on mice and expect to find what will happen after years of exposure, why do it at all? Many long term studies have already been on this and had a completely different outcome than the MIT study. The only reason to do such a poorly designed study is to have something to convince the public that the contamination is not very harmful.
      As for wether the risk models were for adult males or all population segments I have not read this study, just few articles about it. I was involved with a government radiation study that did include children, but did not show risk for women or fetuses. The typical risk cited when discussing radiation exposure is to an adult male.

      July 18, 2012 at 16:40 | Report abuse |
  14. Chuck D

    GE must accept all blame.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chuck B

      Chuck D, you're an idiot. Are the engineers who designed the World Trade Center at fault for not designing the towers to withstand the impact of a 767 going 500mph? All these anti- nuclear people talk about how dangerous they are yet they've never stepped foot inside to see all the safety precautions there are throughout the plant. You can't sneeze in one of these places without having someone write a report about it. How many people die from coal, natural gas, etc. compaired to nuclear? Do a little research and educate yourselves. So tired of hearing people cry about how dangerous the plants are while they use electricity everyday. Get off the grid and survive on your own if you hate them so much.

      July 18, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • man4earth

      Chuck B, Many people have gotten off the the grid, but they remain at risk from nuclear energy. We don't need nuclear energy, Germany made the decision last year to phase-out nuclear and shut down several nuke plants, and still they export more electricity than they import because of a dramatic increase in installation of solar panels and wind turbines.
      There may be an impressive array of safety measures at a nuke plant, but the problem is no matter how good you make one it can fail, by man or by nature. Safety measures only work if they are operable, natural disasters can turn our best technology into useless rubble in short time, creating a second very long lived disaster. Our planet is the only place we have to support our lives, we cannot afford to render sections of it useless and fill it with nuclear toxins.

      July 18, 2012 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla


      Ummm... no they aren't. Germany was an energy importer before they phased out nuclear. Now they have a choice: Keep importing nuclear power from France, and be giant hypocrites, or stick with their 'moral' guns and import coal power from Russia. It's their choice who's pocket they want to be in.

      July 18, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
    • man4earth

      Tesla, The information I've read does not agree with your statement.




      July 18, 2012 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla


      http: //en. wikipedia. org /wiki /Energy_in_Germany

      http: //www. tradingeconomics. com /germany /energy-imports-net-percent-of-energy-use-wb-data. html

      http: //www. spiegel. de/international /business /greenwashing-after-the-phase-out-german-energy-revolution-depends-on-nuclear-imports-a-786048. html

      First three links. Germany is a heavily industrial nation, which means they import energy, in the form of both fuel and power. They're just importing more.

      July 18, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • man4earth

      Tesla, We should be talking about electricity, energy includes fuel for things other than electricity production.

      July 18, 2012 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
  15. COEngineer

    130 might die sooner because of the 2nd worst nuclear accident in history. How many die everyday in coal mines in China? How many people die sooner because of breathing air polluted by vehicle emissions? It is too bad that it is not zero, but 130 every 50 years is a lot less than any other type of energy.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NEUengineer

      There's no place for your logic here.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
  16. nik green

    Did the criminals at TEPCO sponsor this "study"? "130" deaths from three total meltdowns that spewed >30 times as much radionuclides than Chernobyl, and is still continuing, sounds extremely suspect. Furthermore, cancers caused by radiation often manifest YEARS after exposure – to arrive at a "conclusion" about the cancer etc. deaths caused by the Fukushima catastrophe is totally junk science. This sounds like a whitewash by the nuclear power industry.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Montyhp

      You have to be able to rely on statistics to help predict the effects (that is why they didn't say 130 deaths, they said between 15 and 1300).

      If you want to compare to Chernobyl, how many deaths were caused by radiation exposure to the public from Chernobyl? Not many.

      July 18, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • Sharkman

      From Wiki,"Sixty-five people (of the 12,514 tested) in the cohort were diagnosed with histopathologically confirmed thyroid cancer after the first screening examination. Statistical analysis indicated the dose response was linear and that the estimated risk of thyroid cancer almost doubled for every Gray (a unit of absorbed radiation) of exposure. There "An earlier analysis of pooled data on external irradiation and thyroid cancer in other populations suggested the increased risk associated with radiation peaked 15–19 years after exposure but was still apparent 40 years"

      July 18, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
    • Montyhp

      Sharkman, Yes, like I said, a very small amount. By the way, you don't say how many thyroid cancers would have occurred in the absence of Chernobyl. Also, 65 cancers incident is not the same as 65 cancer deaths (the story says 15 cancer deaths, which is typically what is counted). Thyroid cancer is fairly common and almost ~100% curable.

      July 18, 2012 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • Tekelder

      nik green – Fukushima, based on reports of measured radiation released works out so something less than 10 lbs which is mostly cesium (less than one normal 40 lb cesium source used to sterilize food). The Chernobyl disaster release more than 20 metric tons of radioneuclide core material (not including the graphite moderator which burned). They are not comparable, especially when you understand that Chernobyl did not have any containment structure. The building over the Chernobyl reactor was a rain shelter – nothing more.

      July 19, 2012 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
    • Sharkman

      My post mentioned 65 of 12,500 tested, the number of people exposed was a lot greater then 12,500. It was just a small sample not a complete diagnosis and yes thyroid cancer can be treated, by removing the thyroid. Such a procedure leads to a lifelong dependency on synthroid and other health issues.

      July 19, 2012 at 19:05 | Report abuse |
  17. John Smyth

    What "spin".

    They really want to avoid telling the truth which is:


    July 18, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. I agree

    nik green makes a good point – it's way, way, way too soon to publish a "study"...

    July 18, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Montyhp

      So how can other scientists review the data, criticize, replicate, and come to consensus without publishing a study?

      July 18, 2012 at 16:40 | Report abuse |
  19. Sharkman

    This is a non-story because no one really knows how many cancers will be caused. Any expert will tell you that they do not know. If they are paid by the Government they will give you a low number even though they still do not know. Look up "hot particles" and see what may happen even to people far away from the release site.

    July 18, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Engineer

    Why does anyone argue with Nuclear Chicken Littles. Facts and science mean nothing to them. Let's just hope that those who make policy are not pandering to their irrational fears.

    July 18, 2012 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tesla

      But they do. Ever since people learned that you could win an election on emotional drama, logic and reason have gone by the wayside. It's how the news media sells articles, it's how advertising functions, it's how politicians win. Fear is the best emotional response to invoke, and that ignorance of fact, science, logic, or reason helps drive that fear. Why do you think education is slipping in this country? People have to stay dumb and afraid of things they don't understand.

      “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
      -Howard Phillips Lovecraft

      July 18, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
    • consideration

      In my mind one of the most respectable scientists was John W. Gofman, MD, PhD. He went up against the AEC with an irrefutable presentation, and demonstrated the hanky panky "science" the Atomic Energy Commission.
      Bob Alvarez, has aptly stated that the NRC funded studies are clearly science fiction, whether coming out of MIT or Stanford. No one really knows the full effects of radiation, and the pollution keeps getting worse. They went ahead with the development of atomic weaponry and nuclear plants without understanding what they were dealing with. Now they hide their ignorance with poorly executed studies.

      July 18, 2012 at 21:43 | Report abuse |
    • man4earth

      If anyone has irrational fears it is the nuclear industry, they have an irrational fear of renewable energy for personal financial reasons. Fear of nuclear energy for personal safety reasons is not irrational.

      July 19, 2012 at 01:43 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla


      Ok, so what do you call the fears of someone who doesn't leave the house because he's afraid of getting crushed by an airplane? Or someone's fears of drinking non-bottled water because they don't trust flouride?

      Ooh. I have a better one. What to you call the fears of anyone living within a 2 mile radius (the potential shrapnel range) of a wind turbine, which have catastrophic failures far more often than a nuke plant, who is terrified their house will be crushed? What about the fears of anyone who lives anywhere near a solar cell manufacturing plant, scared that someone in this supposed 'green' industry will cut corners and dump silicon tetrahydride, an extremely toxic materiel that fumes noxious, poisonous gas?

      Check the death tolls (the actual ones, not the debunked Chernobyl one that said something like half a million people died). Nuclear, from ore to dry cask, is not the energy source you should be fearing.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
  21. ADiff

    If the estimate is 130, then the real number is probably more like 0.

    How many are killed by flying in commercial airlines? How many by brick buildings? How many by paved roads. These are more substantial sources of radiation. So by all means lets absolutely stop flying and building brick and stone buildings and paving roads.....

    Stupid 'Chicken Little' BS.

    July 18, 2012 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. man4earth

    There are a number of things that can cause a paved road or building materials to be radioactive, some are only slightly radioactive and not much to worry about, others can be many times background and a real concern. Your attempt to convince people that all roads and all stone and brick building materials are radioactive is highly misleading and incorrect.

    July 18, 2012 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. man4earth

    Considering the increase in infant mortality and many other reports coming out, this study is already debunked.
    Here is one from a couple of days ago.


    July 18, 2012 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gabriel

      I went to the show in New Jersey @ Prudential Center. I too, loved the new presentation of this tour, its more fast-paced (may be a bit too fast) and a whole lot of dance ronieuts (I don't know how these young people do it each tour City I truly commend them). I've been to all of the SYTYCD tours (sorry they didn't do Season 6 as a tour by itself, they combined 6 and 7 when 7 had its tour). As far as the lighting goes yes, it was a big problem for me in the 2nd half of the show, you couldn't really see the performance but the dancers were also tired to me and I was looking from afar with binoculars on. This tour is the most intense I've seen dance wise but I do appreciate the fact that the show is not as long as its been in prior tours. I also loved the FINALE, nice touch. To Melanie: your solo made me cry, it was a blessing to see you perform tha night. To Jordan: your solo was off da chain sistahgirl, you are a force of nature and I only wish you great success. To Jess: your born to dance, its in your DNA, just remember the little people (like your fans of SYTYCD). Much Love and Blessings to ALL of the dancers you did the fans proud in Jersey with your performances. Love you guys.

      August 1, 2012 at 20:22 | Report abuse |
  24. ciaopaparazzi

    Coal causes thousands of times more deaths.

    July 19, 2012 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Chris Davey (Radiation Safety Officer)

    The bias in traditional risk analysis for radiation exposure is showed very well here. The Health Physics Society would point out that low dose radiation is not proven to have negative effects, and very possibly has positive effects. This would mean that the hundred or so postulated to die over the next 50 years could well be a much smaller number, or in fact lives that would have been touched by cancer now will not, resulting in less deaths. Only one thing is certain – the number already killed by evacuation "about 600 deaths were confirmed to be tied to the massive evacuation of the area, Jacobson said." Something seems very wrong here: saving potential, future deaths by causing more real immediate ones.

    July 19, 2012 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Annie

      Excellent point. I've often wondered the same thing – another example, the San Bruno pipeline explosion – those eight people had names, and families, and lives that were ended in no uncertain terms because of natural gas transportation. I don't understand either why an increased risk of a possible death far in the future somehow outweights one here and now.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
  26. Sara

    The people defending nuclear energy crack me up!!! So stupid.

    July 19, 2012 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • George

      The people fighting against a source of power that has killed less people in the 50 years of operation than coal power kills in a day make me laugh.

      Conspiracy theories and zero facts is the name of the anti-nuclear game.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
  27. Tesla

    So, I had a thought. Call it a chicken little one if you like, but hear me out.

    Okay, so we know it's impossible for us to create energy. We can transform it, but we can't truly create it. Standard methods of energy production usually involve chemical potential energy or atomic potential energy, and through burning or a neutron collision we transform that energy into heat, which boils water to drive turbines. We also know that these forms of energy have byproducts and aftereffects. One of the biggest effects is that the fuel cannot be fuel anymore. The energy has been removed from it. Everyone's on the same page, right?

    So, what about renewables? Nothing is truly renewable, the universe is moving toward its heat death. Maybe they are somewhat more renewable, but let's take a real look.

    We know cities, or even a new large building can affect wind patterns, which can affect weather in an entire area. So what happens to a wind current when it has much of its energy siphoned off before its time?

    Sunlight strikes a lot of the earth at a time, but to make solar power worthwhile, you'd need a lot of panels. Now, what happens to the areas not struck by the sun? It may be strange to think about, but there really is only so much sun to go around.

    Hydroelectric power is a great indicator of these questions. The Three Gorges Dam is so large, it's reservoir actualy throws the spin of the Earth off. That is a monumentally huge change to the environment.

    Geothermal probably scares me the most; pulling energy directly from the earth. And I know, there's a lot of power put off by these sources, but we're power hungry. What will be the effects when we start drawing from nature? Will the wind stop? The ground crack and dry? The Earth spin off it's orbit? The core grow cold? They seem really stupid. But energy doesn't come from nowhere.

    Chicken little, I know. But these thoughts must have been considered by others.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NEUengineer

      The earth has been cooling off for the last 4-5 billion years (unless you're a creationist and then we can drop that number to about 5000 years). Yes, in theory we could use up all the energy from the earth and it would freeze and die. Of course, that would take billions of years.

      To answer your question, we should be more worried about the sun burning out than us as a species using up all of the "natural" energy here on earth.

      July 19, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      I understand, NEU, but that's the point. All power has a catch. And we are a species that uses terawatts of power every hour. True, the Earth has been cooling for about 3 billion years, but it also didn't have us actively drawing the heat. Just like global warming; we put up far more carbon dioxide through pollution than any natural process could hope to. More importantly, the core growing cold was just one random blip thought. We've seen that drilling wells for natural gas can make an area far more prone to earthquakes. As I stated earlier, we threw off the spin of the earth by changing it's distribution of mass with one dam.

      We are capable of drastically altering the world around us, and every form of energy production does it. Never assume that we are incapable of changing the natural order, especially when it comes to energy.

      July 19, 2012 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
    • George

      Tesla, us mining uranium from the surface of the Earth will NEVER have an effect on the core cooling down. We may be able to affect things but that is something that is far beyond our ability.

      The cold hard truth is that solar and wind ("renewables") don't have what it takes to power a modern society, unless you want to retreat back to daily scheduled blackouts and energy caps. Me, personally, would like to move closer to complete energy abundance. I like having 24h/day cheap electricity.

      July 19, 2012 at 14:41 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla


      Not sure how you got that I am anti-nuclear. The core cooling was a reference to geo-thermal. I believe we need more reactors, and utilize breeder reactors to help with the waste and produce more energy.

      The point I was trying to make was that every power source has a catch. People are quick to rag on nuclear and tout the "superior" nature of renewables, but they don't think about the dynamics of energy; nothing is renewable. And energy from wind or solar is intercepted in transit to somewhere. What will that change? That's what I was talking about.

      TL,DR: I am pro-nuclear, and trying to make a point about the fallibility of renewables.

      July 19, 2012 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      Look into the laws of conservation of energy, and I think you'll have your answer. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed – the generation of electrical power is merely converting one type of energy into a form that we can most easily use and transport. We're not "using it up." Think about this very simplified example: what happens when you air condition your home? You remove heat from your home, which then gets dumped outside, thereby heating up the great outdoors (ever so slightly). You open your windows, and things equalize again. It's a very simplistic example which leaves out a lot of factors, like losses due to the efficiency of your AC unit and losses in converting electrical energy back into heat, but hopefully you get the idea. You may also want to look into "closed" vs "open" energy systems in your quest to understand the balance.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:33 | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      oop, didn't read your post too carefully. sorry for the redundancy – it's difficult to say what kind of unintended consequences may be down the road – but that's why we continue to research, innovate, discover, and engineer our world to better meet our needs. It's unfortunate that this can sometimes create adverse consequences, but that's no reason not to keep moving forward.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Tesla


      No need for an apology; that did kind of turn into a rant. Even I get turned around by my own statements when I review them later.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
  28. Tekelder

    I'll bet there are and will be more stress related deaths caused by the breathless reports of nuclear disaster than will actually be caused by any real or probable nuclear scenario.

    July 19, 2012 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. get_it_right

    I am getting so sick and tired of always hearing such statistics about ONLY deaths from cancer. The people of the world deserve to hear also the much bigger number of INCIDENTS of cancer caused by the radiation. It is hell enough just to get cancer.

    July 20, 2012 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. tmc

    Not only nukes, get rid of the OIL, diesel & gasoline used to power electricty plans and automobiles. Hydrogen is much safer and not runned by an international greedy cartel!

    July 20, 2012 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrew

      I agree, there are abundant amouts of renewable sources available....nuclear (and oil) can be replaced.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:09 | Report abuse |
  31. Marty

    Just wait until the real numbers come out.

    July 20, 2012 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. therealtrickjames

    What a tragedy....

    July 20, 2012 at 23:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. freshnewblog

    I have been following this and I think that society is above the unrest that we are experiencing from it. Does anyone agree with me? How could we deal with this better?

    July 22, 2012 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Danuza

    My 4 year old has watched every sngile episode knows all the dancers and wanted for his 5th birthday to go see the SYTYCD concer tour along with his sister who is 13 and I had to break his heart to tell him that we can't go because they were not coming to a venue near Seattle or anyware inthe pacific northwest. I'm so disapointed and sad about that. I hope they will add some extra dates closer to us so we too can see this extra special group of dancers .

    August 4, 2012 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
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