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Radiation in Japan

My friend, Mike Kirk, is an executive at a Silicon Valley tech firm, and he recently returned from a business trip to Japan (less than 2 months after Fukushima).


One of his destinations was 50 miles from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. As a precaution, a colleague gave him a Geiger Counter so he could make sure it wasn’t getting dangerous as he approached the plant.


Maybe they assumed he would turn it on when he hit the ground… Instead, he logged the whole trip, and you can see the relative peaks of radioactivity.


The AFL-CIO has a nice primer on Cosmic and Solar Radiation: Facts for Flight Attendants, reminding us that higher altitudes and latitudes raise the exposure; radiation levels at the poles are ~2x those at the equator for example. So the shorter-hop flights might be lower altitude... and the night flight is better, but the long trans-Pacific flights look very different. I’ll add flight details in the notes above in case that helps as a clue.


I can hear it now…

Please turn off all electronic devices, anything with an on-off switch, especially Geiger counters, as the sound just makes us all a bit twitchy.


(PPT posted with permission. Do keep in mind that these are radiative exposures. Ingesting radioactive particles is a completely different risk and would not map on this chart)

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Uploaded on May 18, 2011