Talk:Orders of magnitude (radiation)

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Only numbers in sortable columns[edit]

Table columns must have only numeric characters (0 to 9 and optional decimal point) for wikimedia's sort function to work. For any value that is a range in the cited source, it is best if the lower bound is in the sortable column and the full range in the description. -84user (talk) 18:45, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Add this chart pls[edit]

 DoneFulfilling my own request. F (talk) 09:39, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
I have removed the chart on copyvio concerns. Also, Randall Munroe is no expert on radiation, and he himself states on that very chart that it should not be used as reference. > RUL3R>trolling>vandalism 16:12, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
OK, I just read he placed it on the public domain, so no copyvio concern. I however believe the chart should not be used as it is not a reliable source... > RUL3R>trolling>vandalism 16:18, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
The chart at xkcd is too good to ignore. As for, "it is not a reliable source," he provides references; so it is at least as good as the rest of Wikipedia. If there were to be discrepancies, surely they would rapidly come to notice? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Davy p (talkcontribs) 18:52, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
In that case, it is best to cite those references and draw another chart...this is kind of a gray area on policy... > RUL3R>trolling>vandalism 19:23, 21 March 2011 (UTC)
Don't consider it as a "reliable source" - and it's irrelevant where it was first published. As a normal Wikipedia contribution, it does actually state it's sources - right there on the chart. It's actually rather better referenced than the remainder of our article. It demonstrates the nature of orders of magnitude of radiation better than anything else I've seen - and it solves the problems I complain about in the next section. I don't see any reason not to keep it. Hence I'm restoring it back into the article pending further discussion. SteveBaker (talk) 03:52, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Then let's present it differently, because it looks pretty abrupt to just place it right there in the middle. > RUL3R>trolling>vandalism 12:01, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
The chart has now been commended by George Monbiot in the Guardian, Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power, 21st March 2011. Davy p (talk) 13:05, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
The idea that Monbiot understands anything on the issue is laughable. He once suggested using hydrogen in the mains gas lines ! I really don't see why that comment is here. GM likes it , so what? Climatedragon (talk) 22:23, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

I'll rely on the real authors and editors to deal with the issue: The reference to 12 ^ a b "Japan's Chernobyl". Spiegel. 2011-03-14.,1518,750773,00.html. Retrieved 16 March 2011. cited for the numbers 1000 mSv and 200000 mSv in the table did not show those numbers in that context at all in the article. After reading the article 2 or 3 times and not finding either number or the words the numbers could be derived from, I searched for "thousand" and "1000" and "200,000" and "000". None of the matches to the numerics were references to dose. WilliamHoffman —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:50, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

If you want to redraw it - that's fine by me. I think the biggest benefit would be to place the text externally rather than inside the diagram, where it's hard to edit...maybe use SVG to make that even easier. However, until that's done, the diagram is very, very useful and should remain in the article until/unless we get an alternative that we can agree is better. With this page being highly topical right now, we need an approachable diagram like this one to help out the general public who (clearly) have a deep misunderstanding of the issues here. Between people in China who are buying iodized salt to keep radiation sickness at bay (the minimum useful dose of iodized salt would be 160 spoonfuls per day - which would certainly kill you!)...and the idiot Californians seeking to get anti-radiation tablets...we need a solid shot of approachable common sense. SteveBaker (talk) 17:23, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
Making people afraid of eating bananas is not going to stop misunderstanding but increase it.

Some things here are just too wrong. If someone wants to redraw it with factual data, I love the presentation. Climatedragon (talk) 22:30, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

This graphic is an excellent graphic. Sadly it is not a reference and should not be in WP except as an example of good graphic art. It states it is not reliable and it isn't. "Sleeping next to someone" . Seriously , where's the hell did he get that. Not from his refs. Banana dose is several orders too big because it ignores metabolism. (see WP B.E.D. for FULL discussion) , this is not in his refs. ....

Sorry , pretty as it is , this is not correctly sourced or ref'ed. The relevant bits are in the table anyway. Climatedragon (talk) 22:23, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Some more credible graphics here, DOE so should be public domain. Sorry not as pretty, but poss. less error prone. Climatedragon (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:02, 28 March 2011 (UTC).

A tip for other readers like me: "WP B.E.D." is a reference to Banana equivalent dose, specifically Banana equivalent dose#Criticism. Good information, Climatedragon. Mynameisnoted (talk) 17:00, 9 November 2011 (UTC)


Having some entries be "Acute", some "Hourly" and some "Annual" is confusing.

The layperson coming here to estimate some real risk (eg, should I fly on my next vacation...should I have a chest a trip to Chernobyl wise?"), it would be easy to confuse these dosages.

Perhaps we should either:

1) Convert all annual doses to their hourly equivalent and place the annual equivalent into a separate column. This would place entries into a more reasonable order.

2) Make separate tables for acute, short-duration and long-duration dosage levels.


SteveBaker (talk) 13:14, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Making the first column be the "Hourly equivalent (mSv/hour)" would look best to me because it keeps everything in one table. Not sure how to treat acute doses, maybe treat them as if received within an hour with a footnote explaining just that. "Duration" and "Level" could then be second and third columns, maybe renaming Level as "Total dose"? I feel both short and long duration doses should be kept in the same table, as that will show the difference duration has on the effects, as the lede explains. -84user (talk) 12:41, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Time period for Acute dose[edit]

If you receive an acute dose of 1000 millisieverts, how long can you go before receiving another acute dose without suffering the effects of a 2000 millisievert dose? Is it 1 year? Can you receive a dose 1000 millisieverts per year for 10 years and not die? Or is there a lifetime limit?--RaptorHunter (talk) 19:10, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

DOE "No safe dose of radiation"[edit]

I'd like to see a source for the claim written just above the table that: "The DOE's position is that there is NO safe dose of radiation (linear, no cut-off model) . Less dose is less risk, but not without risk. This is at odds with some of the information below."

The linear, no threshold model is used as a conservative assumption when setting regulations, but I've never heard the DOE claim that there is NO safe level of radiation. That would imply that one should never expose oneself to sunlight...

Indeed, US law sets certain low levels of radiation exposure as acceptable, implying that levels below that are safe.

I suppose that this is largely a question of semantics, since a one in a trillion chance of cancer is still technically a danger, even though the law doesn't worry about such things. However the quote as written seems wrong to me. Perhaps someone should add information about the lowest level of radiation KNOWN to cause damage. IDK112 (talk) 01:20, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Right; at first I didn't catch the point, and thought the idea of a safe dose was a dubious but relevant one, thus requiring a citation. On second reading, the table is not at odds with Samuel Doe's or anyone else's position on whether there is such a thing as a safe dose, because it doesn't address the question. If it belongs in Wikipedia, this is the wrong article. Jim.henderson (talk) 20:49, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

US EPA's threshold outdated?[edit]

250mSv for no life saving, 750mSv for life saving may be revised. its reference is dated 1993, I could not find EPA's recent data but, FEMA page 45037 Aug-2008 and FRMAC/DOE Feb-2010 page 2-13 have new report with different thresholds. I only found EPA doc Sep-2007 with less info and does not indicate definition of emergency workers thresholds. These new docs indicate 100mSv limits for property and 250 mSv for life saving. other numbers also must be verified with newer sources, since UNSCEAR's latest detail report was issued on 2008.--Masaqui (talk) 21:07, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Need new ideas[edit]

This table has so many problems that I don't even know where to start. I'd like to just dig in and fix it, but I spent hours staring at it and researching various options, and I just don't know what to do. The basic problems is that radiation doses are a lot more squishy than a table format seems to allow for.

  • Most of these numbers should actually be ranges. For example, the dose you get from an x-ray depends on the specific equipment in use, specific positioning of the patient and protective equipment, etc. Many other numbers like the LD50 are subject to a large uncertainty or controversy. Even regulatory limits change over time, depend on the regulator, and are often subject to a list of exceptions and caveats.
  • Dose rates change over time. Radioactive materials decay, people move about the source, cosmic weather changes the background, etc. So a dose can be more complicated than rate X duration; it is an integral.
  • Frequency matters as well as duration. For an X-ray, we might be able to get or figure out what the dose rate is while the shutter is open, the duration of the shutter opening, and the acute dose per x-ray, but then how many x-ray's will you have per hour? Per year? That's another range.
  • In a complete table, we could not maintain a constant relationship between the different columns. Hourly background dose would be divided down from an annual number, while annual dose would be integrated up from hourly numbers. This compounds the problem of ranges mentioned above: hourly background dose rate is more variable than annual dose rate, while annual dose rate from radioactive waste is more variable than its hourly dose rate in a specific year. And there often won't be enough published data to know the variability on both time scales, so then do you just scale up and add a note?
  • In some cases, the absorbed dose might be the only number available, in other cases only the equivalent dose, and in other cases the effective dose might be the only one published in the literature. How do you put these things side-by-side in the table?
  • How do you represent committed doses? Committed dose represents effective dose that will be received in the future over an extended period of time. (You're "committed" because the stuff is inside you.) So do we use the rate at which you accumulate committed dose, as is done in radiation protection, or the rate at which the committed dose turns into effective dose, as is closer to reality?

I faced these problems in a smaller table in the article sievert, and you can see what I've done there. But the intention here appears to be to build a much more comprehensive table, which, to my mind, magnifies the problems. This topic is better represented graphically, ideally with lots of blurred shaded borders. The xkcd chart seems like a great solution, (see earlier discussion,) and I have trouble understanding why editors preferred this table. This table does not resolve the reliability issues raised with the xkcd chart, it only gives a fake impression of reliability by using fixed numbers with lots of decimal points. And I guess it allows anyone who disagrees with a decimal point to edit their own. I investigate the Easy Timeline extension, but I can't see a way to make that work either.

So I don't know what to do. Give me some ideas.--Yannick (talk) 14:21, 24 May 2012 (UTC)