Shameless Radiation Journalism

[Couple small edits were made on 3/25/2011 #:29 pm SMT for precision – mvb]

In this popular AP article, titled “Tokyo shoppers clean store shelves of basic goods”, there’s a tidbit of news about plant worker’s radiation exposure in there:

“…two workers were hospitalized after stepping into contaminated water while laying electrical cables in one unit, nuclear and government officials said. The water seeped over the top of their boots and onto their legs, said Takashi Kurita, spokesman for plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co.  The two likely suffered “beta ray burns,” Tokyo Electric said, citing doctors.  They tested at radiation levels between 170 to 180 millisieverts, well below the maximum 250 millisieverts allowed for workers, said Fumio Matsuda, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.” “…Their injuries were not life-threatening.”

“Well below 250 mSv”  Yeah…  250 mSv = 250,000 µSv, which is the maximum ANNUAL dose a nuclear plant worker is allowed to receive (natural annual dose is usually under 4,000 µSv).  It was raised from the international & Japanese safety maximum annual exposure  standard for nuclear plant workers of 100,000 µSv/yr in the first week following the partial meltdown, ’cause otherwise they wouldn’t be able to go in legally for enough time to get things done.  170,000 microSievert… Jeez, they’re sending people in there without the required protective clothing?    If they hadn’t changed the legal limit (which was in place to protect workers!), the report would have read “They tested at radiation levels between 170 to 180 millisieverts, nearly double the maximum annual dose of 100 millisieverts allowed for workers.”  But no…  move along, nothing alarming going on here…  The law was changed, so nothing to be concerned about.  Shame on TEPCO.

And AP should expose the corporate spin for what it is, not spread it.   -mvb

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