Scientists Calculate The Global Health Impact Of Fukushima

Since the Fukushima nuclear crisis occurred, there has been widespread speculation about the global impact of the disaster. Fortunately, a team of Stanford researchers has thrown their brains at the problem, and the answers are fairly reassuring.

Using 3D global atmospheric models developed over the last 20 years, the team was able to predict the likely transport of radioactive material around the globe and how it would affect the health of the planet's population. Their best estimates suggest that, in total, we could expect to see 130 deaths as a result of the incident and 180 extra cancer morbidities over a longer time period.

Those figures include Japan, however. The US was predicted to experience somewhere between 0 and 30 cancer morbidities as a result of the disaster. Those final predictions are so broad because the resulting radionuclide concentrations are so low in the US — so most likely the number will actually be extremely small. In other words: no need to panic. [Stanford]


    ''No need to panic''... well, unless you're one of the 310 people who are apparently going to DIE.

    But hey, it's reassuring that ''those figures include Japan, however''. And that ''the US is predicted to experience somewhere between 0 and 30 cancer morbidities''.

    US deaths would be much worse than non-US deaths, obviously.

      Im sorry, are you being sarcastic??

      If not you just failed life. US deaths are no worse than Japanese deaths.

      It sounds as if these estimates are based on the old trick of counting only those radioactive isotopes that reach directly people from the air. These are known as "external emitters".
      Conveniently left out are the "internal emitters" - those radioactive particles that have landed on the ground, or on any surface, and just sit there, waiting until someone accidentally either breathes them in, or ingests the, with food or water. That process can go on for decades, as for example, a tiny radioactive particle has lodged in someone's lungs, or gut. These are the "internal emitters" . It's very helpful and comforting to the nuclear industry to leave these out!

        Thanks for pointing this out Christina

    Considering that many were calling this incident the end of the world, it looks like it might have been hyped up a tad. And considering that a vastly greater number of people die from avoidable actions and accidents each year, this seems to indicate that nuclear power isn't to be feared as much as people make out.

    Ah nuclear... "only a few people will die". Zero people will die as a result of Solar/Wind/Barometric Pressure solutions.





        Ahh, the old Caithness study which includes accidents from domestic rooftop wind turbines and a parachutist that drifted into a turbine in its figures....

      Many many more people die in the construction and maintenance of alternative power sources. If you look at deaths per kilowatt nuclear is far and away the safest way to generate power (as well as being the most carbon friendly). I suggest you google it.

      No technology has ever been completely risk free. 100,000 US deaths from coal mining in the last century, 6000 deaths in China every year. 4000 new cases of black lung in the US every year. Compared to less than 100 direct deaths attributed to nuclear accidents since they have been installed (56 deaths from Chernobyl, 4000 cancer related deaths). Given solar/wind/barometric pressure solutions are not able to give us a base load, many thousands or millions will die from the ensuing chaos caused by the widespread loss of power and communications. With Australia still reliant on burning brown coal for electricity, it's shameful we don't have a nuclear power plant yet.... those Melbourne trams are terrible for the environment.

    Can't see any southern hemisphere mapping in the paper.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now