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.
JSBiff writes: Breast Cancer researches at the Berkeley National Lab will be publishing a study, in which they, "have found evidence to suggest that for low dose levels of ionizing radiation, cancer risks may not be directly proportional to dose. This contradicts the standard model for predicting biological damage from ionizing radiation – the linear-no-threshold hypothesis or LNT – which holds that risk is directly proportional to dose at all levels of irradiation."
The evidence grows that low-level radiation should not be viewed as a threat to public health.
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?
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accidents at the types or reactor designs currently in common use, are lower than previously thought, based upon older, outdated scientific knowledge."