Paper: Worldwide health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident

Worldwide health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident

Abstract

This study quantifies worldwide health effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident on 11March
2011. Effects are quantified with a 3-D global atmospheric model driven by emission estimates and
evaluated against daily worldwide Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)
measurements and observed deposition rates. Inhalation exposure, ground-level external exposure, and
atmospheric external exposure pathways of radioactive iodine-131, cesium-137, and cesium-134
released from Fukushima are accounted for using a linear no-threshold (LNT) model of human
exposure. Exposure due to ingestion of contaminated food and water is estimated by extrapolation.We
estimate an additional 130 (15–1100) cancer-related mortalities and 180 (24–1800) cancer-related
morbidities incorporating uncertainties associated with the exposure–dose and dose–response models
used in the study. We also discuss the LNT model’s uncertainty at low doses. Sensitivities to emission
rates, gas to particulate I-131 partitioning, and the mandatory evacuation radius around the plant are
also explored, and may increase upper bound mortalities and morbidities in the ranges above to 1300
and 2500, respectively. Radiation exposure to workers at the plant is projected to result in 2 to 12
morbidities. An additional 600 mortalities have been reported due to non-radiological causes such as
mandatory evacuations. Lastly, a hypothetical accident at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in
California, USA with identical emissions to Fukushima was studied to analyze the influence of location
and seasonality on the impact of a nuclear accident. This hypothetical accident may cause 25% more
mortalities than Fukushima despite California having one fourth the local population density due to
differing meteorological conditions.

Decent paper i read on nuclear power

Some time ago i decided to look into nuclear power. While i havent had time yet to read some of the books i mentioned there, i read this paper.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664640/ no paywall

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Nuclear Energy and Health: And the Benefits of Low-Dose Radiation Hormesis

Abstract

Energy needs worldwide are expected to increase for the foreseeable future, but fuel supplies are limited. Nuclear reactors could supply much of the energy demand in a safe, sustainable manner were it not for fear of potential releases of radioactivity. Such releases would likely deliver a low dose or dose rate of radiation, within the range of naturally occurring radiation, to which life is already accustomed. The key areas of concern are discussed. Studies of actual health effects, especially thyroid cancers, following exposures are assessed. Radiation hormesis is explained, pointing out that beneficial effects are expected following a low dose or dose rate because protective responses against stresses are stimulated. The notions that no amount of radiation is small enough to be harmless and that a nuclear accident could kill hundreds of thousands are challenged in light of experience: more than a century with radiation and six decades with reactors. If nuclear energy is to play a significant role in meeting future needs, regulatory authorities must examine the scientific evidence and communicate the real health effects of nuclear radiation. Negative images and implications of health risks derived by unscientific extrapolations of harmful effects of high doses must be dispelled.
Keywords: sustainable nuclear energy, radiation health effects, radiation hormesis, social acceptance, regulatory implications

 

I have been studying nuclear power…

I just wanted to do a quick study using Wikipedia. Well, that didnt happen. On the other hand, now i learned alot about nuclear power. Starting with 1 tab open, i eventually had to open a metatab in Firefox. The number of tabs in this metatab rose exponentially from 1 to 38 tabs. I have sorted them below here.

 

Main articles

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_debate

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_safety

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_energy_policy

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_plant

Economics and politics

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_new_nuclear_power_plants

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relative_cost_of_electricity_generated_by_different_sources

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_renaissance

This book is very often cited in various articles. It is against NP. I want to read it. So far, it was not convicing in the places it was mentioned.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contesting_the_Future_of_Nuclear_Power

Another paper by the same guy, which finds that altho NP is not CO2 free, it is much better than fossil-fuel based power. Also, this is for current reactors, not future reactors. With future reactors, some of the fossil-fuel using infrastructure can be replaced becus we can make hydrogen fuel with future reactors.

www.nirs.org/climate/background/sovacool_nuclear_ghg.pdf

Abstract

“This article screens 103 lifecycle studies of greenhouse gas-equivalent emissions for nuclear power plants to identify a subset of the most current, original, and transparent studies. It begins by briefly detailing the separate components of the nuclear fuel cycle before explaining the methodology of the survey and exploring the variance of lifecycle estimates. It calculates that while the range of emissions for nuclear energy over the lifetime of a plant, reported from qualified studies examined, is from 1.4 g of carbon dioxide equivalent per kWh (g CO2e/kWh) to 288 g CO2e/kWh, the mean value is 66 g CO2e/kWh. The article then explains some of the factors responsible for the disparity in lifecycle estimates, in particular identifying errors in both the lowest estimates (not comprehensive) and the highest estimates (failure to consider co-products). It should be noted that nuclear power is not directly emitting greenhouse gas emissions, but rather that lifecycle emissions occur through plant construction, operation, uranium mining and milling, and plant decommissioning.”

From the conclusion:

“The first conclusion is that the mean value of emissions over

the course of the lifetime of a nuclear reactor (reported from

qualified studies) is 66 g CO2e/kWh, due to reliance on existing

fossil-fuel infrastructure for plant construction, decommissioning,

and fuel processing along with the energy intensity of uranium

mining and enrichment. Thus, nuclear energy is in no way ‘‘carbon

free’’ or ‘‘emissions free,’’ even though it is much better (from

purely a carbon-equivalent emissions standpoint) than coal, oil,

and natural gas electricity generators, but worse than renewable

and small scale distributed generators (see Table 8). For example,

Gagnon et al. (2002) found that coal, oil, diesel, and natural gas

generators emitted between 443 and 1050 g CO2e/kWh, far more

than the 66 g CO2e/kWh attributed to the nuclear lifecycle.

However, Pehnt (2006) conducted lifecycle analyses for 15

separate distributed generation and renewable energy technolo-

gies and found that all but one, solar photovoltaics (PV), emitted

much less g CO2e/kWh than the mean reported for nuclear

plants. In an analysis using updated data on solar PV, Fthenakis

et al. (2008) found that current estimates on the greenhouse

gas emissions for typical solar PV systems range from 29 to

35 g CO2e/kWh (based on insolation of 1700 kWh/m2

/yr and aperformance ratio of 0.8).” (my bold)

Another interesting book. Freely available.

www.amazon.com/Sustainable-Energy-Without-Hot-Air/dp/0954452933

www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/sustainable/book/tex/sewtha.pdf

“Addressing the sustainable energy crisis in an objective manner, this enlightening book analyzes the relevant numbers and organizes a plan for change on both a personal level and an international scale—for Europe, the United States, and the world. In case study format, this informative reference answers questions surrounding nuclear energy, the potential of sustainable fossil fuels, and the possibilities of sharing renewable power with foreign countries. While underlining the difficulty of minimizing consumption, the tone remains positive as it debunks misinformation and clearly explains the calculations of expenditure per person to encourage people to make individual changes that will benefit the world at large.”

Safety

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents_by_death_toll

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_waste_treatment_technologies

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-level_radioactive_waste_management

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-level_waste

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NIMBY (Not in my backyard!)

4 non-Wikipedia links, that try to show that the accidents so far were really not that bad, and i agree.

www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf06.html

www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf36.html

www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/inf07.html

www.world-nuclear.org/info/fukushima_accident_inf129.html

About the radioactivity of coal

www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste&page=2

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_effects_of_nuclear_power

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_mining_debate

Specific designs and proposals

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP1000 (lots of these are being built in China)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrapower (Bill Gates is a supporter, see video below)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshiba_4S

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Pressurized_Reactor

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RBMK (The design used in soviet reactors at Chernobyl)

More technical

I probably shud have refreshed my knowledge of particle fysics before reading these.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_reactor

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_poison

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine_pit

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scram

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_safety_systems

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inherently_safe

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_nuclear_safety

Thorium

Public opinion

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_opinion_on_nuclear_issues

One interesting report is mentioned which found that education was a predictor of positive opinions towards NP. The report is here: ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_271_en.pdf