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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

As Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Intensifies, What Are Radiation Risks?

A man is scanned for radiation exposure at a temporary scanning center for residents living close to the quake-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. (AP)

Japan’s defense ministry now says it has decided against dumping water from helicopters onto the most badly damaged reactors at a nuclear plant, because radiation levels are too high. It would have been part of an effort to cool down the reactors. But emergency workers who were pulled out of the site when radiation levels soared today are being sent back in, after emissions dropped to safer levels. Japan is raising the maximum radiation dose allowed for nuclear workers.

How does radiation affect the body? We talk to Dr. David Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics and director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University.


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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