Hey everyone, I just figured I’d send out a quick note on radiation in Tokyo. There have been a bunch of units tossed around (sieverts, rads, grays, curies, roentgens, etc.).
The highest reported dosage per hour for my ward, Bunkyo, is 80 nGy/h (nanograys per hour), or at worst 60 nGy/h above the average. 10,000,000 nGy equals 1 rad, which means 60 nGy/h is roughly equal to an additional 0.05 rads a year at worst, or spending a month or so in Denver instead of Tokyo. Of course, that assumes the reactors are never brought under control, whereas radiation levels in Tokyo are mostly back to normal, which is still less than the international average.
For comparison, here’s a map of the US, where you can see the accumulated dosage fallout due to extensive nuclear testing in Nevada. Naturally, the impact on Americans of testing 100 above-ground nuclear weapons (and 900-some underground ones) far exceeds what a few downwind, more-or-less regionally contained accidents will have on Tokyo:
In more simplistic terms, that means that even if the worst-case scenario in Tokyo continued for the rest of my life, it would pale in comparison to what the US has done to itself intentionally through nuclear testing.
I can understand folks with young kids or health problems leaving, along with those concerned about supply chain issues and those just wanting a break. And neither the national government nor TEPCO have done much to inspire confidence, withholding important information and issuing conflicting statements. But the US media and public officials have a duty to weigh risks dispassionately, and they’ve gone off the other end.
Long story short, your energies are put to much better use watching college basketball. Really. It’s been a good tourney thus far if you don’t live in the Northeast.