Banana dose equivalents of radiation from Japanese Accident

I thought this really gave me a sense of how bad the radiation is.  Thirty bananas doesn’t sound so bad.  But it could increase I imagine.

Watt’s up with that – The average radiologic profile of bananas is 3520 picocuries per kg, or roughly 520 picocuries per 150g banana. The equivalent dose for 365 bananas (one per day for a year) is 3.6 millirems (36 μSv).
Another way to consider the concept is by comparing the risk from radiation-induced cancer to that from cancer from other sources. For instance, a radiation exposure of 10 mrems (10,000,000,000 picorems) increases your risk of death by about one in one million—the same risk as eating 40 tablespoons of peanut butter, or of smoking 1.4 cigarettes.
Japanese radiation readings:

Monitoring of radiation levels on the spot is ongoing. At point MP4, where a reading of 1,015μSv was detected yesterday, a radiation level of 44.6μSv was recorded at 00:30 this morning, and a level of 36.7μSv at 6:00am. After the start of venting around 9:20, a reading of 76.9μSv was recorded at 9:20 and of 70.3μSv at 9:30.

The radiation spiked up to 30 bananas a day and then fell back down to 1 to 2 bananas per day.

After the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the NRC detected radioactive iodine in local milk at levels of 20 picocuries/liter, a dose much less than one would receive from ingesting a single banana. Thus a 12 fl oz glass of the slightly radioactive milk would have about 1/75th BED (banana equivalent dose).
Further Reading
Radiation and Risks – Various amounts of normal radiation
1400 millirem for a gastrointestinal examination series (14,000 microSv)
200 millirem for one year in an average house from Radon (2,000 microSv)
360 millirem average annual dose for someone in the USA (3600 microSv)
660 millirem per year for your whole career might have a life expectancy loss of 15 days
1360 millirem per year for your entire working career might have an expected loss of 51 days
A manufacturing career reduces life expectancy by 40 days
100 rem definitely causes damage (10000000 microSv, 1 Sv)
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Banana dose equivalents of radiation (bw)
Tue, 15 Mar 2011 01:36:41 GMT

5 responses to “Banana dose equivalents of radiation from Japanese Accident

  1. The radiation spiked up to 30 bananas a day and then fell back down to 1 to 2 bananas per day.

    Fascinating comparison. All about selling newspapers, huh?

    • Well it made me feel better, but I had a another post before that made feel worse.

      I see no reason to abandon nuclear at this point, but how the reactor story will end isn’t clear at this point.

      I think we should consider it relevent in evaluation of nuclear and what precautions are needed at these kind of plants. It appeares the back up power was in a position to be knocked out by the tsunami. That shouldn’t happen again.

  2. This definitely will be a learning experience. On the bright side, it’s hard to imagine anything worse than a 9.0 earthquake followed by a Tsunami (with the flooding apparently responsible for most of the problems – I agree back up power has to be a priority). Also, there is the whole question about risk. We risk our lives daily driving or riding in automobiles. Death from traffic accidents is immense over the years, yet it is rare enough on any given day in any given locality that we deem it an acceptable risk. If in a half century of nuclear power there is a probability that some unforeseen event will kill a large number of people through radiation poisoning, the drama and spectacle of the event is immense. But compared to traffic deaths, it’s likely to be far less deadly. Of course, if it leaves a huge chunk of Japan uninhabitable (unlikely) that would add greatly to the cost.

    People do tend not to think in clear terms about probability when they react to tragedies or events that cause spectacle.

  3. It’s hard to imagine this ending up worse than Chernobel, especially since fire isn’t putting radiation in the jet stream in the same way.

  4. By the way. Is there a larger version of your gravatar photo. I can’t tell if you’re eating a sandwich or brandishing something else.

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