I’m encountering a lot of people who are understandably concerned about radiation leakage from the damaged Fukushima plant in Japan. But very few of them seem to know the extent to which exposure to radiation is a fact of life on Earth. Did you know, for instance, that you’ll be exposed to more radiation by eating a banana than by living within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant for a year?
Randall Munroe, who pens the hilariously geeky webcomic, xkcd, has teamed up with a friend at the Reed Research Reactor to create a visual aid for understanding radiation exposure levels. As Munroe cautions, the situation at Fukushima seems to be changing by the hour, but this should at least help put things in perspective.
Click on the image to enlarge.
How much more radiation until Godzilla shows up?
You should email Munroe and tell him he left that off the chart. Clearly an oversight.
I thought it was illuminating to see that there is more radiation living near a coal plant than a nuclear power plant.
Coal power is ucky. Plus, mining for coal has cost more lives in the U.S. alone than the Chernobyl accident ever will, even by the most liberal estimates.
I was subjected to the 1986 fallout from Chernobyl as it swept pretty much over all of Finland. So I guess I can call myself “a Chernobyl Survivor”?
Then again the effects of that radiation can take its toll much later too. The estimate in 1986 from the Finland’s Ministry of Health was that ~2,500 Finns would die because of the exposure to the fallout in the next decade or so.
The only immediately “visible” outcome from that was the fact that Japan refused to buy reindeer meat from the Samis for few years until the radiation levels dropped below their set standards.
As a side note, though, the radiation levels were not high enough to trigger a ban in any other country in the world.
Now you tell me you were in Finland in 1986?! Our children are going to be born with two heads and three arms! Come to think of it, that could be an advantage … But we are not naming any of them Zaphod.
Well, my dear wife, think of the benefits for the future college’s chess and volley ball teams… ;)