A University of Missouri Professor dismisses reports being circulated on social media that say radiation levels in recent snowfall in Missouri are elevated and suggest the increase is related to damage done to the Fukishima power plant in Japan by a 2011 tsunami.
One such story was published in a British tabloid and says “double the normal amount of radiation has been found in Missouri snow,” and ties it to concerns over the impact of the Fukishima disaster.
Some people seeing it on Facebook and Twitter could be alarmed. By 5 p.m. Friday it had been “liked” by more than 7,000 Facebook users and shared more than 9,000 times.
Professor of Nuclear Engineering Bill Miller says it is “bogus.” Firstly, he questions what the writer thinks is a “normal amount of radiation.”
“They don’t specifically give a value,” says Miller.
He notes the article says radiation levels on sand on a beach in San Francisco have reached over 150 micro-REM per hour and calls that five times the normal level, while Miller asserts that amount is 300-times smaller than the radiation humans are exposed to daily in nature.
“So,” he concludes of the amount of radiation the article says was detected in snow in Missouri, “I guess we’re now down to something on the order of one-thousandth of mother nature’s radiation levels … certainly way, way, way below any kind of health concern whatsoever.”
Whether that is a higher amount of radiation than is normally found in snow, Miller didn’t know offhand, but he says the amounts of radiation described in the article are far less than humans are exposed to regularly.
Miller adds, if a level of radiation dangerous to humans is present, it would be detected.
“We have instruments that are out in the world that are testing the atmosphere to see whether or not anybody has set off a nuclear weapon, and they are very, very sensitive so that we could indeed see an atmospheric test of a nuclear weapon from clear around the world.”
Miller tells Missourinet the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international health organizations have concluded that no one in the public, even those living near the Fukishima plant in Japan, face health risks becuase of the incident at that plant.