Radiation: because we can measure it doesn’t mean it is dangerous

From the BNC comments

re post by: MuadDave, on 30 March 2011 at 11:20 PM:

Is it just me, or are those levels unsurprising/underwhelming? …Pu-238 decays.

Nope, Maud, it’s not just you. That’s a huge problem for the industry wrt both regulatory limits and even more, public opinion/understanding, especially in crises like this, as rare as they occur. We can measure radioactivity down to such utterly minute levels, yet we are tied to ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) in terms of both occupational and public doses – and yet anytime any radiation is measured, many in the public get worried because ‘that must be bad, right?’

Anyhow, in answering your question I’m forced to bring up issues that are probably better suited to the philosophical thread, but I was trying to answer your question – e.g., ya, those plutonium measurements so far are extremely low, you are exactly right.

[From Comment on Fukushima Technical Discussion Open Thread by Rational Debate]