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By "safe", do you mean below radiation level limits? The problem with this is the probabilistic nature of damage from low-level radiation, combined with large populations. If, say, the Fukushima fallout over northern Japan beyond the exclusion zone causes an excess cancer death rate of one in a thousand over an area inhabited by 10 million people, that's still 10,000 victims. This is a certain effect of uncertain magnitude, unfortunately with uncertainties in the orders of magnitudes. (This didn't keep the authors of the Russian Academy of Sciences study on Chernobyl to also estimate the dead from Chernobyl fallout across Western Europe and North America in the hundreds of thousands.)
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
It is, for example, a smaller total impact than the cancer epidemic from the chemical industry, which has failed to taken down any national economies to date. Indeed, it could be fewer than the lives Japan saves relative to the US by its less intensive reliance on driving private vehicles.
The set of "bad things, but not an existential threat to the continued existence of a national economy" is one with a quite wide range.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
Depends on who the 10,000 is ... doesn't it? Only (about) 3% of a nation's population is Creative Class where the rubber-meets-the-future. In some industrial areas we're talking tens of people who have the knowledge and ability to drive the R&D to successful products.
Fukushima was the leading global center for digital camera research and development. With these people dead, missing, or running away from radioactivity the entire digital camera industry is falling from the grasp of the Japanese. If it get away from them, they won't get it back; they will always be behind the curve.
Same basic process happened to Motorola and is happening to Nokia in the mobile telephony business.
She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
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