It is gratifying to see that at least the UK recognizes that Fukushima was nothing like Chernobyl – hence the radiation event scale needs a complete overhaul. Excerpt from the Parliament press release:
Andrew Miller MP, Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee, said:
Fukushima was no Chernobyl, but the public were left with a confusing picture of the real risks from the accident partly because it was classed as the same magnitude.
Although tens of thousands died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, to date nobody has died, or received a life-threatening dose of radiation, from the Fukushima nuclear accident and no one is expected to.
The accident has made it clear that the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale is not up-to-the-job. The International Atomic Energy Agency should come up with a better and more accurate way of communicating the risks involved in any future nuclear accident.”
The global body responsible for the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) should review the scale focusing on how to:
- better represent orders of magnitude;
- make the scale comprehensible to non-technical audiences;
- ensure the technical basis of the scale incorporates sufficient information about risk as well as hazard.
The report also calls on regulators and other information sources to emphasise to the public that exceeding recommended minimal radiation exposure levels may not pose any risk to people or the environment – and that safety thresholds may allow for significantly greater radiation exposure to occur without significant risk to health or the environment.
Read the whole thing.