Fukushima! Radioactivity! Aaaaargh!

Fukushima workers brave radiation and heat for £80 a day

Fears grow for inexperienced contractors working in Japanese heatwave to bring stricken nuclear reactors under control

Then when you read the story there\’s absolutely nothing at all about the radiation being dangerous.

It\’s actually about the fact that Japoan in the summer is a hot place. And people doing heavy manual labour in hot places face risks from getting hot.

The Guardian spoke to several construction workers, who said they were paid about 12,000 yen a day to clear radioactive debris left in the tsunami\’s wake. By contrast, Tepco employees earn an average of 7.6m yen a year.

That \”radioactive debris\” seems to have just been slipped in there. No, no one is asking that peeps go and pick up a lump or uranium.

Note also the contrast between those two pay rates. The per day and per year. 12,000 a day for 250 days a year (a not unreasonable working year) is 3 million.

So the wage differential between nuclear engineers and manual labourers is two or three times. And the problem with this is?

Another piece in the same paper:

He says he has been exposed to five millisieverts (mSv) in little over a month – more than double the worldwide average background dose of 2.4mSv a year. While Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) engineers working inside reactor buildings are allowed an annual radiation dose of up to 250mSv, Rune\’s firm has imposed a cut-off point of 30mSv for staff and 15mSv for casual labourers.

\”I have about two months left before I reach my limit, but I\’m hoping they will make an exception and let me work for longer,\” he says.

5mSv? Cornwall perhaps? Aberdeen?

There\’s really a lot of streching going on to make this radiation seem more dangerous than it is, isn\’t there?

5 thoughts on “Fukushima! Radioactivity! Aaaaargh!”

  1. I think the lowest dose where radiation can be clearly linked to cancer is ~100mSv per year.

    So, workers are going to be close to half level after a full year working at the plant. I have no information on what that increased risk actually works out at as a percentage increase of what sorts of cancer.

    I suppose though the real test is, would I work there? The answer is probably ‘Yes’.

  2. And because it’s so hot, Japan uses a lot of electricity-slurping air conditioning systems. Electricity they can only really get…from nuclear power stations.

    A few months of rolling blackouts in the sweltering heat should get that fickle beast that is public opinion swaying towards nuclear again.

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