Radiation Levels – What is acceptable?

They are known as the “Fukushima 50”; the workers at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station who are working tirelessly to prevent a nuclear meltdown at the plant.  This all after the impact the earthquakes as well as tsunami’s have had on the nuclear plant and more specifically Japan earlier this month.

These “Fukushima 50” are exposing themselves to extremely high levels of radiation to ensure the safety of millions in Japan. Only time will tell if their sacrifice has been in vain or not. As my wife pointed out to me, these people are actually “dead men walking” as there is no way that they will survive the exposure…sad but true…and yet heroic.

This got me thinking…we are all exposed to some level of radiation everyday. What is acceptable and what is not? Seems that Randall Munroe wondered that also, but then put together a chart showing how radiation is measured.

Seems that ionizing radiation absorption dose is measured in a unit called a “sievert” (Sv).

Now have a peak of the values in the pic below, first at the blue section, then enough of this blue makes up the green section, and so on to the red and then yellow values…click on the pic for the full picture.

Hectic to  think that that amount of radiation the people were exposed to at Chernobyl in only 10 minutes…and we all know how that disaster turned out.

So spare a thought today for the heroes known as the “Fukushima 50” as well as the loved ones that they will be leaving behind.

(Source: xkcd)

MadMike posted at 2011-3-24 Category: Interesting Finds

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