An Illustrated Guide to Japan's 'Radiation Problem'

Fukushima reactor having pretty tiny effect
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2011 10:39 AM CDT
An Illustrated Guide to Japan's 'Radiation Problem'
The first part of Randall Munroe's chart shows the amount of radiation absorbed by people near the Fukushima plant, which is a lot smaller than the dose absorbed during a cross-country flight.   (xkcd)

Just how much radiation, relatively speaking, is leaking out of the Fukushima reactor? Randall Munroe, maker of the gloriously geeky xkcd webcomic, was getting pretty confused by the various media reports, so he talked to a friend who is the senior reactor operator at Reed Research Reactor, and with her help compiled a pretty illuminating infographic putting the radiation levels measured near Fukushima so far into perspective.

Spending one day in the average town near Fukoshima, it reveals, exposes you to a heck of a lot less radiation than, say, a cross-country flight. The chart also illustrates that all those comparisons to Chernobyl are just a tad overblown. Munroe does caution that he’s not an expert and may have made mistakes, writing, “If you’re basing radiation safety procedures on an internet PNG image and things go wrong, you have no one to blame but yourself.” (More Fukushima Daiichi stories.)

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