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Science

Submission + - MIT Study: Prolonged Low-level Radiation Damage Heals (mit.edu)

JSBiff writes: A new study from MIT scientists suggests that the guidelines governments use to determine when to evacuate people following a nuclear accident may be too conservative.

The study, led by Bevin Engelward and Jacquelyn Yanch and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that when mice were exposed to radiation doses about 400 times greater than background levels for five weeks, no DNA damage could be detected.

Japan

Submission + - Japan re-opens some towns near Fukushima (businessweek.com)

JSBiff writes: Bloomberg, among others, is reporting that the Japanese govt has partially lifted the evacuation order, allowing residents to return to 5 towns previously in the evacuation zone. Additionally, a key milestone has been reached in achieving a full "cold shutdown" of the damaged reactors — the temperature of all three reactors has dropped below 100 deg. C.

It's a shame that they were unable to return home for 6 months, and for people who lived closer to the plant, they might never be allowed to return home. Now the question is, will residents actually *want* to return, other than to maybe retrieve stuff they left behind?

United States

Submission + - NRC Study lowers hazard estimate for Nuke Plants (nytimes.com)

JSBiff writes: "With the incident at Fukushima causing much renewed concern about the risks of nuclear power this year, the New York Times reports that The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released the preliminary version of a report due out in April 2012, based upon new science about the behavior of Cesium-137, which finds that the public health hazards of nuclear accidents at the types or reactor designs currently in common use, are lower than previously thought, based upon older, outdated scientific knowledge."

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