Tuesday, March 22, 2011 Radiation Schmadiation

I've been excited about an upcoming trip to Tokyo for a couple of months, so the earthquakes and tsunamis and meltdowns should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about me and my relationship with the universe. We're still planning on going, of course. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Tokyo wasn't badly hit by the natural disasters, and I'm sure they can use the tourist dollars.

Still, the combination of massive radiation leaks and thousands of unrecovered bodies can only mean one thing to a paranoid geek: Zombie Apocalypse. I was prepared to deal with yakuza and do battle with ninja (preferably on the roof of a speeding bullet train), but radioactive undead is pretty much a deal-killer for me.

Fortunately, this chart from the ever-lovely XKCD shows that the fear over the Fukushima leaks may be slightly overblown. As the chart shows, levels at the nuclear plants in question are nowhere near that at Chernobyl. A person spending two days at Fukushima takes less rads than she receives over the course of a year under ordinary conditions. Now, picking up a dose of radiation in one go is a much different (mutated) animal than absorbing it over time, and no meltdown is ever good, but I don't think we need worry about Japan being overrun by ravening undead just yet.