Chernobyl vs. A Banana

In the ongoing wake of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis, news outlets have been saying “Three Mile Island” and “Chernobyl” a lot. To help alleviate the ensuing confusion and help us all understand radiation doses a little better,┬áRandall Munroe of xkcd fame has prepared a chart of radiation doses on the xkcd blag.

We can see at the 1┬ÁSv scale the effect of eating a banana, at the 1mSv scale the dose one gets during a mammogram, and at the 1Sv scale the doses that are likely to kill you. The dose for “Ten minutes next to the Chernobyl reactor core after explosion and meltdown” is pretty astonishing.

One thought on “Chernobyl vs. A Banana

  1. just pixels says:

    The chart doesn’t take into account the risk of slipping on the banana peel in a comical way.

    One aspect of the nuclear dangers from Japan is how Americans on the west coast have reacted with some kind of indignation that radiation drifting across the Pacific poses a meaningful danger. Potassium-iodine tablets are sold out in California for reasons that are irrational (iodine-137 is too heavy to travel very far, iodine tablets pose their own risks to healthy people) and deprives treatment for people who actually need those tablets. Anyway, I don’t recall that kind of panic that last time radiation from Japan came to America — after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Pretty sure it was celebrations.

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