Some facts about radiation

xkcd, an online cartoon has a great infographic comparing radiation exposure from various sources, including the  “accidents” and the current Japanese situation.

There’s a lot of discussion of radiation from the Fukushima plants, along with comparisons to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Radiation levels are often described as “<X> times the normal level” or “<Y>% over the legal limit,” which can be pretty confusing.

Ellen, a friend of mine who’s a student at Reed and Senior Reactor Operator at the Reed Research Reactor, has been spending the last few days answering questions about radiation dosage virtually nonstop (I’ve actually seen her interrupt them with “brb, reactor”). She suggested a chart might help put different amounts of radiation into perspective, and so with her help, I put one together. She also made one of her own; it has fewer colors, but contains more information about what radiation exposure consists of and how it affects the body.

Here’s the article: http://blog.xkcd.com/2011/03/19/radiation-chart/ which links to the chart: http://xkcd.com/radiation/

Radiation facts infographic - xkcd


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