Scientists Respond to Stanford Radiation Study


A new study out of Stanford University has elicited a rigorous debate around the potential health effects of radiation exposure due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Echoing conversation in the immediate wake of Fukushima, the discussion has ranged from alarmist to rational. Many reports indicate it’s simply too early to say what the effects will be years down the line, but continued data gathering and analysis  will eventually allow the scientific community to reach a consensus.

A number of news sites and other organizations have posted their reactions and concerns about the Stanford study. We’ve rounded them up for you below, as well as some other pieces to inform you about the potential effects of radiation.

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Stanford University study
The study by two Stanford researchers concludes that the radiation exposure due to the events at Fukushima Daiichi could ultimately cause 130 deaths and 180 cases of cancer – possibly more. It was published July 17 in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

‘Is Nuclear Power Good For You?’
This Science Insider piece analyzes the methodology behind the Stanford University study, as well as the differing reactions to the study in the scientific community.

Blogger Reaction
Next Big Future, Canadian Energy Issues and Atomic Insights have all published their thoughts on the study.

MIT study
The study, published in April in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, concluded that U.S. officials might not need to evacuate radiation-affected areas as early as the current guidelines require. The study looked at the effects of radiation on mice DNA.

‘Assessing Fukushima, one year later’ — The L.A. Times
The most “direct, credible and intelligible” way to discuss the potential cancer risk increase in the wake of Fukushima Daiichi is to discuss how exposure alters “the risk of cancer in later life,” according to a Los Angeles Times op-ed by Robert Peter Gale and F. Owen Hoffman. Despite concerns in the media and the public, the reality is the radiation exposure to the workers and public was “quite low,” and people are already exposed to radiation in their daily lives, from both the natural environment and artificial sources such as medical treatments.

Q&A video on the effects of radiation on Fukushima Daiichi workers
Robert Peter Gale, M.D., Ph.D. discusses how Fukushima workers were affected by radiation exposure and dispels the “substantial misunderstanding” that many people have about the effects of radiation. The video was recorded in March at National Press Club for the Health Physics Society.