Catastrophic Radiation Release: Just How Bad Could It Get?


Are we ready for a nuclear accident that releases roughly 24 times the amount of radiation that a WWII-era atomic bomb delivers?

Well, if you’re looking for an educated assessment of how bad Japan’s nuclear crisis could get, the Huffington Post (see link below) has what you’re looking for in a piece by Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, a senior associate at Radioactive Waste Management Associates and an expert on what’s likely going on in those facilities in Japan.

Mr. Resnikoff – one of my leading expert witnesses in radiation-contamination cases – makes the point that “…nuclear reactors are not the same as coal/oil/gas electricity plants. Unlike conventional plants, they cannot be turned off…”

And how bad could it get? Using one of the radioactive isotopes as an example, Resnikoff does the math and concludes that this crisis could deliver “…24 times the amount of cesium-137 produced by the Hiroshima bomb.” And that wouldn’t be all, given the existence of both the active reactors and the stored waste, which is highly radioactive. Plus, of course, cesium is not the only radioactive isotope involved in this situation (strontium is another), but it’s worth noting that cesium is still used to determine contamination levels around the Chernobyl site.

There’s nothing “alarmist” about the HuffPo post – clearly nobody has to “hype” the gravity of this event. Things are getting worse in Japan, and it’s good that somebody is calculating just how “bad” bad can be.

Here’s the post at HuffPo:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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