We are now two days into Japan’s nuclear reactor crisis. It is time for a dose of reality to put out the flames of some of the fiction circulating throughout the Internet:
1) Run on KI As I predicted yesterday, there has been a surge of panic buying of KI and virtually all U.S. inventories are likely to be sold out by early tommorrow. Shane Connor of KI4U sold the 6.3 million doses of KI they had in their warehouse in less than 36 hours. Even if nothing reaches in the U.S., having KI for everyone in your family is a good thing to stock as part of your preps. However, do not start taking KI until radiation has been detected in your locality.
2) Incorrect Data Circulating: There has been a lot of bad reporting. In the rush to get news stories out, a very larger percentage of news stories, including ones from major media outlets, have contained incorrect, misleading, or incomplete data. Some of this may be the effect of Japanese authorities trying to downplay the severity of the event in an attempt to prevent a panic among the population in Fukushima and surrounding areas.
3) Rumors of Exagerated Impacts in Blogs and Forums: There has been a lot of well meaning people spreading alarmingly bad information. The fact is that most people are terrified of radiation because they cannot see, smell, or sense it, they don’t know much about it, and they don’t have any calibrated instruments capable of measuring it. Our absolute worst case scenario is to have one or more of the six Japanese reactors to have an event comparable to that of Chernobyl. There is a chart circulating showing that Alaska would get 3,000 RADs of radiation in three days and California would get 750 RADs in seven days. This chart is absurd even if there was a 1 MT nuclear ground burst detonation in Fukashima. The reality was that outside of ground zero at Chernobyl, the highest radiation measured was 10 to 15 RADs per hour at a nearby cement plant. The weather blew the fallout to the north and the west, covering much of Belarus and reaching as far as Sweden and France. Outside of a roughly several hundred mile zone around the plant, the fallout through most of Europe was alpha and beta particle contamination (with primary impacts on milk and wild game) with no significant levels of gamma radiation. There were approximately 250 deaths officially directly attributed to the Chernobyl. The UN estimated a total of approximately 4,000 deaths after 20 years while Greenpeace estimated that the ultimate death toll will be approximately 140,00o in Belarus and Ukraine and 60,000 in Russia. Using Chernobyl as a benchmark for worst-case scenarios, our worst case impact for Alaska and the West Coast would be limited contamination – mostly of milk.