Well, if the latest research is anything to go by, not many, if any.
WHERE are those shameless nuclear hysterics who whipped up the Fukushima panic, now punctured by a United Nations report?
The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation last week found none of the Japanese public is likely to get sick from the 2011 incident, when a tsunami smashed into the Fukushima reactor.
“It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers,” UNSCEAR it said.
“No radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers . . . It is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure would be detectable.”
Right so no one is going to die because of Fukushima.
Yet remember the free ride the media gave to anti-nuclear alarmists such as Helen Caldicott, who warned Fukushima could make Japan “uninhabitable”?
She told 3AW the reactor could blow (ruled out by nuclear experts), which meant “hundreds of thousands of Japanese will be dying within two weeks”.
Then there was Crikey writer Guy Rundle panting: “Japanese crews (fighting a fire at the reactor) will slough their skin and muscles, and bleed out internally under the full glare of the world’s media.”
The Nossal Institute’s Dr Tilman Ruff claimed “we might be looking at a Chernobyl-type disaster or worse”, causing mass sickness.
What killed more people than Chernobyl?
But the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl reactor should already have warned us to dismiss such scares.
That disaster was hyped by activists such as Peter Garrett, now a Gillard Government minister, who claimed it “caused the deaths of more than 30,000 people”.
The Australian Conservation Foundation published a paper claiming 250,000 died. Caldicott said it was “nearly a million”.
In fact, the best assessment comes from the Chernobyl Forum, representing Ukraine, Russia and Belarus and relevant UN agencies.
“Claims have been made that tens or even hundreds of thousands of persons have died as a result of the accident,” it said.
“These claims are highly exaggerated.”
It could find only 65 known deaths so far, nearly half from the blast, and said there was no “clear and convincing evidence for a radiation-induced increase in general population mortality”. There was only one exception: thyroid cancer in children, which killed 15. Thankfully, this is treatable.
Fear was more lethal. The International Atomic Energy Agency estimated up to 200,000 European women were made so scared they aborted their babies.
Yes, alarmists are deadlier than radiation.