ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 28th November 2017, 09:48 AM   #1
crescent
Graduate Poster
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,823
Evacuating nuclear disaster areas can waste time and money

Evacuating nuclear disaster areas can waste time and money

Quote:
Over 110,000 people were moved from their homes following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011. Another 50,000 left of their own will, and 85,000 had still not returned four-and-a-half years later.

While this might seem like an obvious way of keeping people safe, my colleagues and I have just completed research that shows this kind of mass evacuation is unnecessary, and can even do more harm than good. We calculated that the Fukushima evacuation extended the populationís average life expectancy by less than three months.
crescent is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th November 2017, 11:07 AM   #2
Peregrinus
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,153
The population of the Fukushima area or Japan as a whole? I would think there's a vast difference between the two groups and measurements related to them.
Peregrinus is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th November 2017, 11:19 AM   #3
crescent
Graduate Poster
 
crescent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,823
Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
The population of the Fukushima area or Japan as a whole? I would think there's a vast difference between the two groups and measurements related to them.
The lifespan calculations were only for the evacuated population, not the national population.

Lots of confounding factors, though. Nobody died from radiation, but people died from the stress of being evacuated. Setting up a new life after permanent evacuation is stressful and lowers ones quality of life. Then again, not evacuating and living with the radiation related fear-mongering would also reduce ones quality of life - even if the fear mongering is not science based and greatly ever-states the risk.

The authors looked at lifespan calculations as related to radiation exposure, but didn't look at lifespan calculations related to the stress of moving or loss of income. They looked at quality of life issues related to permanent evacuation, but didn't compare that to the stress of staying, or loss of income from agricultural areas being contaminated. Even if the evacuation were totally optional, much of the farmland would be too contaminated for use by any standard, much of the rest would be perceived as being too contaminated to produce safe food, suffering from inability to be marketed. It is one thing to live in an area of low contamination, it is another thing to eat the food grown there.

Last edited by crescent; 28th November 2017 at 11:27 AM.
crescent is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th November 2017, 11:25 AM   #4
Beerina
Sarcastic Conqueror of Notions
 
Beerina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29,062
Some may have moved to large cities where general pollution would have lowered their life expectancy by more than 3 months. Also possibly due to crime or traffic accidents.
__________________
"Great innovations should not be forced [by way of] slender majorities." - Thomas Jefferson

The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?
Beerina is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2017, 03:50 AM   #5
The Great Zaganza
Master Poster
 
The Great Zaganza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 2,950
Hindsight is always 20/20.
That is kinda the whole issue with radiation that it is very hard to predict how bad it will be. Especially in the beginning of the disaster, partially due to information being intentionally withheld, there was little reason to believe that in the end the amount of radiation released on land would be limited.
But due to bio-accumulation, the number of deaths will still rise: we already see radioactive boars in the region; plenty of fish will be affected, too.
The Great Zaganza is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2017, 04:37 AM   #6
Wolrab
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,099
They never evacuated California after Fukushima and all those people are now dead and the landscape is a wasteland.
__________________
"Such reports are usually based on the sighting of something the sighters cannot explain and that they (or someone else on their behalf) explain as representing an interstellar spaceship-often by saying "But what else can it be?" as though thier own ignorance is a decisive factor." Isaac Asimov
Wolrab is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 29th November 2017, 06:41 AM   #7
WhatRoughBeast
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,239
As The Great Zaganza has pointed out, hindsight is 20-20.

The paper is perfectly reasonable, so long as one is careful of the conclusions one draws. Using real data about how the evacuation affected the population is certainly better than using assumptions, and allows a more accurate assessment of the costs associated with such a response, and more accurate risk/reward models can be developed to deal with future incidents .

However, it's important to keep in mind that the Fukushima disaster turned out much better than it might have. Primary containment vessels remained intact, even though several secondary vessels were ruptured by hydrogen explosions. Had one or more of the primaries failed, and had the wind shifted to the east, and had there been no evacuation, the results would have been pretty catastrophic.

Response to a potentially catastrophic event is usually an overreaction in the sense that the worst-case scenario hardly ever plays out. Of course, in the absence of psychic powers to accurately predict the real outcome of the current situation this is not a criticism, merely an observation. It's like exploratory surgery for a mass of unknown composition. Most of the time the mass is benign, and in a (hopefully) small number of such cases the surgery itself goes wrong. Understanding the risks of action vs inaction is important to picking an optimal response, assuming optimal has a clear meaning.

So, yeah, in this case it's perfectly possible that the evacuation killed more than it saved. That doesn't mean that it was not the best decision based on the information available at the time.
WhatRoughBeast is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:19 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2014, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.
This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.