When All Else Fails, Change The Rules: Japan Increases Maximum "Safe" Radiation Dose Allowed For Nuclear Workers By 150% To Near-Chernobyl Levels

Tyler Durden's picture

This is about as pathetic as it gets. In order to deal with a new baseline level of radiation across Fukushima (which Japan still refuses to discloses to the world because it is "Under Survey"), the Japanese ministry of health labor has decided to take the unilateral act of scrapping years of safety data, and more than doubled the maximum allowable exposure for nuclear workers from 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts. At least we now know that the radiation level around Fukushima is most likely bounded by this range. As to the reason for the increase, the ministry said it is "unavoidable due to the circumstances." In other words, when self-administered Seppuku will not work, just apply it to someone else.

From AP:

TOKYO—Japan has raised the maximum radiation dose allowed for nuclear workers, citing the urgent need to prevent a crisis at a tsunami-stricken power plant from worsening.

Despite the increase, surging radiation levels forced emergency workers to temporarily withdraw from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant on Wednesday, losing time in their struggle to cool overheating fuel in reactors crippled by last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare raised the maximum allowable exposure for nuclear workers to 250 millisieverts from 100 millisieverts. It described the move as "unavoidable due to the circumstances."

Hopefully the US won't promptly implement this cunning ploy to "overfund" pension funds with just one "safety-related" overhaul.

Indicatively, here is how "safe" 250 millisieverts are:

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TruthInSunshine's picture


Japan crisis reaching worst case scenario-Russia
Published: March 16, 2011 at 10:39 AM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Japan's nuclear crisis is developing according to the worst case scenario, the head of Russia's state nuclear corporation said on Wednesday.

He said the overheating at other reactors at the plant showed the crisis was now escalating according to the worst outcome modeled by the experts.

"Unfortunately, the situation is developing under the worst scenario," Sergei Kiriyenko, who presides over the bulk of the former Soviet Union's military and civilian nuclear facilities, told Reuters.


cossack55's picture

"........military and civilian nuclear facilities, told Reuters before he fell off of his bar stool.

Sylvia Plath's picture

I hate to say this, but it is turning into a situation where the sacrifice of a few is needed for the safety of many.  In a sense this is almost a call for none aggressive martyrdom, but like any culture, the Japanese have this 'nobel sacrifice' built into their culture.

What will happen is that a few workers will ineviatably die of radiation, but the sooner they sacrifice a few, the sooner the many can start the rebuild.

Who wants to draw straws?

Pegasus Muse's picture

I volunteer these "heroes":

Bernanke, Greenspan, TaxCheat Timmay Geithner, Hanky Panky Paulson, Phil Graham, his wifey, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, all the Fannie/Freddie execs past and present, Summers, Robert Rubin, Dimon, Blankfiend, Fuld, ......,

cocoablini's picture

I'm sure any of these workers would take a bullet to save the country. They are Japanese, not a bunch of cowardly american bureaucrats.
Its getting to the point where theres no hope- they can't die and fix it or live and fix it. Its out of control so why have people there dying for nothing

Convolved Man's picture


This is their kamikaze moment.

All though noble in spirit, it may be towards an unobtainable goal.

DaveyJones's picture

coming from an avatar who stuck her head in the oven :/

Hexus's picture

Have another look at the scale, 250 isn't so bad. The usual health and safety stuff has been sidelined for a while, so what? Why do people have to dramatise things so much, they're having a nuclear meltdown is that not enough? Why turn it into some cheesy Hollywood dross.

Lord Welligton's picture

From roymunnson on the "Latest Digital ..." thread.

"10km radius outside of Fukushima Daini as well..they have 4 more reactors"

Completely out of control now.

on Wed, 03/16/2011 - 10:58

For those that are tired of looking at the status of just 6 reactors...they have just moved to evacuate 10km radius outside of Fukushima Daini as well..they have 4 more reactors!!!


[3:07 a.m. ET Wednesday, 4:07 p.m. Wednesday in Tokyo] As a safety precaution, the Japanese government is now telling people living within a 10-kilometer radius of the Daini plant, the second nuclear power plant in Fukushima, to evacuate.

The Daini plant, which has four reactors, has reported fluctuating temperatures at its suppression pools. The Daini plant's reactors have been stopped, and there has been no radioactivity leakage so far.

bugs_'s picture

you also won't have to save as much for retirement as you thought!

idea_hamster's picture

self-administered Seppuku

Was there another kind?

cossack55's picture

Gubmint induced seppuku, see Divine Wind or QE3.

ZeroPower's picture

Devastating for the workers, but if theyre working for the greater good of the people, then God bless, and i hope they get the job done.

duo's picture

I remember NBC saying that the workers doing this had lost their families and homes.  Sad if true.

TWORIVER's picture

I wish they would shove a MOX rod up the JPNGov ass.

Confused's picture

The question is, what happens if none of the workers go along with it? At this point (excuse the ignorance) what are the alternatives?


Certainly a bad situation all around. An epic damned if you do, damned if you don't.  

Mudflap's picture

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have."  - Thomas Jefferson

Nobody to blame but ourselves really.  And our parents... Oh, and theirs...  Basically, the human race is just f'd up to begin with.  We want it all and we're willing to lose everything to get it, Damn it!


Johnny Lawrence's picture

Tough situation, do they call the workers out for their own safety, or do they sacrifice the lives of the workers in an attempt to save the overall population?

uhb's picture

For those with access to a geiger Counter:
How to translate the CPM reading of a geiger counter into Sievert/Gray:

cpm 10-30: safe, 1-3milliSv/Yr
cpm 100: 9milliSv/yr, believed to be cancerous in children if long-time exposed
cpm1000: You receive 88milliSv/year, believed to be cancerous if long-time exposed
cpm10.000: You receive 880milliSv/year, cancerous if long-time exposed
cpm100.000: cancerous cancerous if exposed to for approx 100hrs
cpm1.000.000: cancerous if exposed to for approx 10hrs
Higher: Deadly

darkpool2's picture

This is about as pathetic as it gets.


There are just no depths that our "ëlected" officials wont stoop to.

sabra1's picture

i did not know you could pomo radiation!

sodbuster's picture

More like Mark-to-death.

Those guys are heroes in my book. Definitely in harms way, and your enemy is invisible.

cossack55's picture

Though I am an asshole and rather enjoy being one, I never toss around the word "hero" lightly. In this case I will definitly agree with your comment. This is what Valhalla is all about.

hedgeless_horseman's picture

Debt ceiling, budget deadline, retirement age, allowable radiation dosage, are just a few of the limits we will see obliterated.

sabra1's picture

why not just send in the bernank and timmy buck naked, to pee on the rods!

papaswamp's picture

Dead men walking.

France calls BS on Japan saying they are hiding the extent of the crisis. Yea I know not surprising. Some amazing pictures with spiffy diagrams.


Ben Probanke's picture

* EU Energy Chief: Situation At Japan Nuclear Plant Out Of Control
 ...someone is not impressed by the water cannons at Fuckyoushima

ZackAttack's picture

Mark to Roentgen, bitchez.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

This is a nice glimpse of the future. Events spiralling out of control while government makes rule changes to try to maintain the illusion of control. Note to self for the future: when it appears TSHTF, don't wait for government help.

Be prepared.

cossack55's picture

You got it, Doc. Only 319,578,235 to go (thats a lot of note-taking).

Ben Probanke's picture

* EU Energy Chief: Possible Catastrophic Events In Next Hours

Cdad's picture

And the criminal class of Wall Street bankers, right along with the crony capitalist big energy lobby groups, continue prattling on that everything is just fine...in support of the Japanese government line.  Burning nuclear reactors is proof positive that nuclear energy is the safest form of energy in the world.

Great!  It's good that we have gotten a handle on the situation.  Follow the bankers and the lobbyists...they always lead the way to safety.

Is it too early for martinis?

cossack55's picture

I would recommend watching whatever airport is closest to Yucca Mountain for a huge influx of Gulf Streams. Thats worry time.

PulauHantu29's picture

"When all else fails, change the rules."

Isn't this the Hank Paulson-Timmy Geitner Maxim?

Cindy_Dies_In_The_End's picture

Nah, they were totally inspired by Cpatain Kirk rigging that "unwinnable test" at Star Fleet Academy.


cheating is winning..as long as its for the forces of good.



I know junk me for the ST reference..

tallen's picture

I wish they'd send Brian Moynihan,Blythe and all the other scumbags to clean it up. Help clean up not only the nuclear waste, but kill off the evil bankers too. = Double Win?

Nedly66's picture

WTF is happening?!!!!?


TLT just jumped $1.50

Paul Bogdanich's picture

This is not pathetic.  it's a bad situation.  Men are going to die.  The only queston that remains is how to save the most for the fewest dead.   Retreat is unthinkable.  Personal safety must be forgotten.  Time to stop acting like bankers and start acting like men.  Heedless self interest is not what is needed here, if it was ever needed anywhere.  Somebody has to contain this situation before it destroys everything and it won't be the ever so brave financial types.  I just hope people get the message after this.  These selfish people need to be punished.  Severely.      

luk427's picture

They must have learned some tricks from Rumsfeld and his gang of crooks. They got aspertame approveved wich is a known carcinogen and neurotoxic poison.    http://www.rense.com/general67/rum.htm

deepsouthdoug's picture

Fuckin Bureaucrats.

Tense INDIAN's picture

cant belive it ...Japanese too manipulating ....

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

breaking news: GE's Jeff Immelt on site at reactor #4..giving technical advise while helping bucket water on the core..more to follow..sarc off.

Invisible Hand's picture

Not just dose is important.  Dose rate is also important.  Also doses at these levels are not significantly dangerous.

US limit for radiation workers is 50 mS per year.  Higher dose limits are allowed for emergencies (planned special exposures).

The fatal dose limits you list are only fatal if recieved over very short times (few days).

This is a very serious situation and the dose limits being raised reinforces that fact. However, many people who received similar doses at Hiroshima and Nagasaki lived normal life spans and had no ill effects.

Any one that agrees to recieve this level of dose to protect others is a brave person, but not even mildlysuicidal.  Doses at these levels increase your risk of cancer somewhat, but not significantly.

Other than a small increased risk of cancer, a dose of 25 Rem (250 mSv) will produce no health detectable health effects, even with blood tests.

These doses are much less dangerous than running into a burning building, which fireman do every day.

Sofa King's picture

Your not tryin' to quote Spock from Wrath of Khan, are you?  Because if you are, do that shit right and pay some respect...

minus dog's picture

How is this pathetic?  We're talking about nuclear workers willingly going in there to try and unfuck the situation.  I think the word you're looking for is "heroic" - or is ZH simply unable to get beyond the 9-5 suit and tie frame of mind?  How about a little respect instead of gibbering from the sidelines?

Keep in mind that the original dosage restrictions were set with the intent to create a zero-tolerance atmosphere in a very technically demanding environment.  Now that the gloves are off, they're working with dosages they can get away with instead of what they'd like to see.

And now that you've trotted out charts talking about dosages for context, how about admitting that that panic over a few dozen microsieverts early on in the disaster was entirely overblown?  Eh?