In particular, the danger here shares a common feature with many other environmental scares: the staggering inability to support vastly unlikely future risk resulting in really actually massively increased present damage to the public. For example....
- Keeping reservoir levels high in Queensland as a protection against drought, so that it cannot perform its actual task which is to mitigate against floods. (And then on discovering the problem releasing water to protect the dam from overtopping at the peak of the flood water flow levels...)
- Using corn for ethanol.
- Making a fuss about new reactors being built, thus ensuring older, less inherently safe, reactors cannot be decommissioned.
- Crippling Western economies with ludicrous overheads, ensuring that more responsible, less polluting manufacturing work in the West is replaced with vastly less responsible, vastly more polluting manufacturing work in China.
Yet in Japan, you have radiation zealots threatening to order people out of their homes, to wander, homeless and panic-stricken, through the battered countryside, to do what? All to avoid a radiation dose lower than what they would get from a ski trip.
UPDATE: The unparalleled excellence of xkcd puts all this in its proper graphical context.
FURTHER UPDATE: john b takes issue with my mention of the Wivenhoe dam above. The actual sequence of events may be even more - ahem - damning if this report is true.
And Jon Snow apparently needs a thorough kicking for good measure too.