Phys 3550 - Physics for War, Physics for Peace
This assignment asks you to compare the health effects (particularly long
term health effects) of the population of Japan following the nuclear strikes
of 1945 and the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. The nuclear weapons
question is related to the program “Making of the Bomb ”.You might also
supplement that material with sources from the library or online, but if
you do then do not forget to include citations. Two excellent sources of
additional information are the Avalon Project (Yale Law School) and the
Archive. No doubt you can find more. (Note: if you do use extra material
be careful not to include sources about the hydrogen bomb (a so known as
the H bomb or a thermonuclear bomb). This assignment is strictly about
the atomic bomb (A bomb).
What is the current radiation levels in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as compared
to those in the rest of Japan? (4 pts)
Hiroshima and Nagasaki essentially the same as rest
of Japan, and rest of the world, around 1 mSv per year. Immediate area
around Fukushima significantly higher
What short term problems did the survivors of the two bombs
face? (the first few hours or days)
2 pts each for any three of the following
Lack of resources. Huge number of persons who were
killed or injured so that their services in rehabilitation were not available,
especially including medical services
Destroyed city, firestorm, lack of communications.
Difficult to find out fate of loved ones.
A panic flight of the population took place from
About 6500 children survivors who were orphaned
What were the long term health effects on the people
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You might want to distinguish between the years
immediately after the bomb was dropped, and the period decades later.
The possible effects might include (but are not limited to) (2 pts each
for any five of the following)
Incidence of cancer
There are estimated to be at least 280,000 survivors
of the two explosions, as self-reported in a Japanese census in 1950. Of
those approximately 7800 have died from cancer, slightly above the normal
that would be expected from that population. It is estimated that about
420 can be attributed to radiation from the bombs, although the individuals
cannot be identified. Incidents of some specific cancers (particularly
leukemia) show a more marked increase.
As of 2007, there has been no evidence of increased
cancer incidence or increased mortality from cancer or other diseases in
the children of survivors
Incidence of birth defects
Of approximately 76,000 infants born between 1948
and 1954, no significant rise in birth defects has been detected. However,
statistical inference of an increase would only be possible if the natural
rate of birth defects had been doubled. It is possible some birth defects
were caused by the radiation, but not enough to detect.
Incidence of other mutations
There is evidence of an increase both in the numbers
and severity of eye cataracts.
There are have been significant to severe psychological
effects which can also lead to biological effects.
Also, not all effects are either physical or medical. You could also consider
Civic Paralysis. No significant reconstruction or
repair work was accomplished at first because of the slow return of the
population due to fear.
Sheer Terror. Persons who had become accustomed to
mass air raids had grown to pay little heed to single planes or small groups
of planes, but after the atomic bombings the appearance of a single plane
caused more terror and disruption of normal life than the appearance of
many hundreds of planes had ever been able to cause before. (This might
well be considered to be a health effect, and included above.)
Hibakusha (survivors) and their children are victims
of severe discrimination
Some web resources