Should Japanese nuclear experts’ lives be sacrificed to prevent radiation exposure to civilians?

Elano Pizzicarola

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Japan’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered one of the country’s most destructive tsunamis. The torrent of water that rushed through towns devoured virtually everything in its path and heavily damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, potentially releasing deadly radiation.

Radiation dosage is measured in units called millisieverts and the average annual exposure for a normal person is about 0.006 millisieverts. The LA Times reported Saturday that six workers were exposed to 100 millisieverts.

Plant owner Tokyo Electric reported the crew have yet to show any serious symptoms. The World Heath Organization lists skin redness, hair loss, and burns as some signs of exposure. Victim may also exhibit acute radiation syndrome which can begin with fever, nausea and vomiting and can progress to seizures, coma and death if the dosage is high enough.

The radiation threat has grown increasingly grave for the local population. Many have evacuated the plant’s vicinity to avoid the radiation lingering in the air and soil. But Monday’s reports claim the radiation has tainted food and water, with spinach being particularly toxic.

In spite of so much at stake, should the Fukushima plant’s technicians risk their lives?