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Speaker: After the Apocalypse

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    So this is biology, and I defer to Bart:

    the simple linear model from high dose to low dose is wrong, if it was right we would lots and lots more dead radiation industry workers and we don't

    But I'd like to see a worked explanation of that. Radiation industry workers (in the modern developed world and absent disasters) are well protected from radiation, and there aren't very many of them. If they had a 0.1% extra risk of getting cancer as a result of their exposure, would we be able to measure that?

    Which comes down to a philosophical point - if you were told that visiting Fukushima gave you a 0.1% extra risk of cancer, you might not worry. But if a million people were exposed, then that's a thousand extra deaths.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    It’s also an evidential limitation: we don’t have good evidence (in human models) to estimate the numbers of mutations that don’t give rise to cancer, or that cause cancers that are detected and destroyed by the body’s own defences, or cancers that grow too slowly to become a cause of death or illness. In attributing causes for cancer, we’re mostly limited to evidence about cancers that cause obvious symptoms (and therefore come to medical attention) within about 10 years of exposure to some known risk.
    The thing about radiation industry workers is they are subject to more thorough medical checks than the general population, and so we have a better evidence base both for their total radiation exposure and for the possible effects. “Well protected from radiation” is true within limits. Radiation industry workers’ safe exposure limit is set at 50 mSv/year (more than 10x higher than normal exposure), and is sometimes reached (leading to mandatory stand-down), even under normal working conditions.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1938 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    motorcycles are forbidden

    There was a photoblog a few years back by a Russian biker who claims to have ridden around the local area fairly extensively, although whether it's fully authentic or not has been called into question.

    pop-culture resonance

    Back before 'found footage' movies had been flogged to death, there was also 'The Chernobyl Diaries', which was partly inspired by this photoblo. I'll link to the GoodBadFlicks review, because he has an awesome channel and doesn't get nearly enough internet love

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Probably also worth pointing out that the radiation cloud from Chernobyl travelled far enough, and was toxic enough, that livestock monitoring on farms in some areas of the UK (about 1,300 miles from Chernobyl) wasn't fully lifted until 2012.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • clintonlogan, in reply to Rich Lock,

    here was a photoblog a few years back by a Russian biker who claims to have ridden around the local area fairly extensively, although whether it’s fully authentic or not has been called into question.

    Yes this is a fairly infamous extrapolation of reality written a few years back by a woman ADV rider. She and her husband took an organized group tour and captured snapshots of them holding their moto helmets/gear etc to give the impression they’d ridden unaccompanied into the area on their motorcycles.

    At the time it actually caused quite a stir with the local Ukrainian authorities who took this apparent protocol breach very seriously.

    For anyone that’s experienced the security at the entry points it’s pretty obvious that no motorcycle would ever get in there, especially one being ridden by a foreign tourist.

    Since Sep 2016 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Probably also worth pointing out that the radiation cloud from Chernobyl travelled far enough, and was toxic enough, that livestock monitoring on farms in some areas of the UK (about 1,300 miles from Chernobyl) wasn’t fully lifted until 2012.

    I was in rural Scotland when Chernobyl blew. My brother and I were sitting on the top of a grassy cliff looking out to sea when the cloud passed directly overhead, but we didn’t know that at the time. That info came out a couple of days later.

    We went through a little exercise and taped up the taps, bought the local supermarket out of bottled water and rubber gloves and monitored Radio 4 for a few days. We drank some good whisky.

    I remember hearing a Man from the Ministry reassuring everyone that there was nothing to worry about. One guy phoned in and asked if he should be worried, having obtained a measurement of X becquerels at a distance of 150mm in his vege garden. The Ministry Man coughed and spluttered and they cut the caller off. That didn’t inspire confidence.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Thanks guys, that's a really excellent piece.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

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