Home > News of the moment > How much Radiation from Japan has reached the UK?

How much Radiation from Japan has reached the UK?

The Health Protection Agency is widely reported to have detected traces of iodine-131 from Japan in UK air monitoring samples. Full Article Here:-

Posted on March 30, 2011

The statement from the HPA is also very woolly.  it says:

“The dose received from inhaling air with these measured levels of iodine -131 is minuscule and would be very much less than the annual background radiation dose.”

Read as given, that suggests that inhaling air at the moment will give you less than an annual dose of radiation.  the problem is that radiation dose is often criticised as a means of assessing risk.  But more importantly, it suggests 9 days’ exposure in the UK to the Fukushima fallout contains, let’s say, the equivalent of several months’ worth  of background radiation.  in other words, you get a good dose in a short period.  Sounds rather less risky, that way put.  But the actual risk remains extremely low, nevertheless, and the use of the word ‘miniscule’ by the HPA appears appropriate.

The statement also reveals another, crucial factor: the age of the data:

“This followed reports from HPA’s monitoring stations in Glasgow and Oxfordshire of measurements averaged over the last nine days which found 11 micro-becquerels per cubic metre.”
But the fallout has been arriving over the UK only over the past day or so (so far as models predict).  So the data we now have is almost certain to be significantly underrepresenting the current radiation levels.  the averaging will also smooth-out any larger, transient spikes of the kind seen over Austalia, for example.

Now, this is not a conspiracy, but a product of the way air is sampled onto fixed filters.  it takes time to gather and analyse the samples.  But technology for real-time analyses, even where these might be somewhat less accurate, has existed for a long time.  It’s not clear why the HPA are not making efforts to try and provide more up-to-date data in the face on intense media and public interest.

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Categories: News of the moment
  1. jay
    April 13, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Sounds dumb i know. But i was just getting paranoid about radiation arriving in the UK because MY cctv equipment just started going crazy. Its got microphones and all the noise level lights have lit up making a random noise like a gyger counter. So did a search on google see if anything has hit here.

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