[ RadSafe ] Quest for the good report about Japan crisis.

Jean-Francois, Stephane stephane_jeanfrancois at merck.com
Tue Mar 15 08:26:49 CDT 2011

I think we are debating in vain and we all know it. You will never have a balanced report on a crisis as a balanced report is a subjective beast. For radsafers here, a balance report would evacuate emotions and stick to the facts with their frame of reference or even better, the actual situtaion is not that bad, considering the trigger etc, etc. Almost no HP is impressed by a nuclear power plant or nuclear power. But can we say the same about Joe and Jane Public even before this inceident ?  They are being fed with all kind of imagery, like this one in a local Montreal news paper http://www.montrealmirror.com/wp/2011/03/10/table-of-contents-march-10-2011-%e2%80%93-march-16-2011-vol-26-no-38/) reagding the vapor generator that are supposed to go from Canada to Sweeden by boat. Much ado about nothing would you say ?  Not for Joe and Jane Public.

You know that it is very difficult to persuade a person that is scared of something she of he don't understand or care to understand. As RSOs we know that a very difficult challenge is to explain to a pregnant woman the risks of working with radioisotopes or X-rays, even if she don't have a remote chance to exceed 1 mSv as a CEDE!!! Emotions is human and even on this list, I have seen my share of emotion from professionnals.

I think the trick to ensure that we don't fall only to our emotions is to put things into perspective.

- An earthquake that hits 9 on the Richter's scale AND a major Tsunami is a serious test of a nuclear power plant. 
- In 2 minutes, 10 000 persons of a village of 17 000 are now reported missing, presumed death. 
- Tokyo is still using nuclear electricity as we speak.
- We see ''live on TV'' a nuclear power plant exploding.
- Social networks and email are reporting anything, from anecdotal opinions to valuable scientific data.

It is not the time to debate about the good report or to minimize the events, our job is to explain calmly the difference between contamination and exposure (internal and external risk), the emergency procedures of a nuclear power plant, the difference between Tchernobyl and the current event and the effect of doses in layperson terms.

All the rest is vain, I am sorry to say.

Stéphane Jean-François, Eng., M. Env., CHP. | Manager, Environment and Health Physics 
Safety and Environment | Global Compliance
Merck  Canada Inc. | 16711 TransCanada Hwy. | Kirkland, QC, Canada H9H 3L1 
Office: #4-2-448 | P: 514-428-8695 | f:  514-428-8670 | 
stephane_jeanfrancois at merck.com 

-----Message d'origine-----
De : radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] De la part de ReuvenGmail
Envoyé : 15 mars 2011 02:32
À : radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Objet : Re: [ RadSafe ] RadSafe Digest, Vol 569, Issue 1

What kind of credential would satisfy you, Roger?
Why wouldn't you provide ABC, and us too, with your approved list of 

What expertise is required to confidently state that a colosal disaster 
fefell us all (not a "Issue" as many here are used to use...).



Message: 7
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2011 17:48:52 -0700
From: "Roger Helbig" <rhelbig at sfo.com>
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Tell ABC News to get some real experts
To: "'The International Radiation Protection \(Health Physics\)
Mailing List'" <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Cc: ire-l <ire-l at lists.missouri.edu>
Message-ID: <sig.7055c63ada.019c01cbe2aa$c24e7330$46eb5990$@com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"

ABC News again had Joseph Cirincione President of the Ploughshares Fund as
their expert of choice on tonight's news - suggest you all write your local
ABC news station and get the network to get a genuine expert instead of an
activist with no scientific credentials


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