Nuclear Fallout Declared Only as Bad For You as London's Air Pollution

By Gary Cutlack on at

A team of researchers looking into the niche world of what happens after a nuclear accident have some good news. They say we shouldn't all be evacuated, as evacuation leads to stress and stress is bad in itself. Also, we'd only be likely to lose a few months off our lives as a result of the exposure to radioactive matter, which is about the same end result as choosing to live in a polluted metropolis for your productive youthful years.

That's the slightly contrived conclusion of a team from the University of Bristol anyway, which says that the mass evacuation of the Fukushima area following the tsunami catastrophe was overdone -- and that even the post-Chernobyl abandonment of the surrounding countryside was a bit unnecessary -- as in the long term, a few extra cases of cancer per head of population isn't worth the massive stresses of relocation.

To prove this, the Bristol uni team pretended a fictional nuclear reactor in West Sussex went haywire and leaked a dirty cloud over the county. The researchers estimated that despite the fallout drifting over 3.9 million people in the south east, this would only lead to an extra 1,500 cases of cancer in the exposed population; something the scientists think is fine. All they need to work on now is a way to communicate that to people, as we suspect everyone will tear their skin off in panic if told to simply wait out a passing nuclear radiation cloud. [The Times via Standard]

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