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Heated Fox Debate Breaks Out as Scientist 'Redoubles' Claim of 'Overblown' Nuke Concerns

"We can have a civil debate without interrupting each other, maybe?"

Heartland Institute science director Jay Lehr is not backing down from his claim that the media has "overblown" concerns of nuclear catastrophe in Japan. In fact, after his controversial Fox News phone-in appearance yesterday, he joined the network in-studio today and said he's "redoubling" his claim.

(Watch Lehr's original interview.)

That didn't make fellow guest Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental research, too happy. He argued that even low-level amounts of radiation are cause for concern. That stirred the pot.

For those who might want to write this off as a nerdy, science fair-like debate between two braniacs, it's not. And considering all the talk of meltdown, it's an important conversation that must be had:

The latest reports out of Japan are that radiation levels fell later Wednesday near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. However, t it was not immediately clear if workers who had earlier been ordered away from the facility had returned, or how far away they had withdrawn. The workers at the forefront of the fight - a core team of 70 - had been regularly rotated in and out of the danger zone to minimize their radiation exposure.

Meanwhile, officials in Ibaraki prefecture, just south of Fukushima, said radiation levels were about 300 times normal levels by late morning. While those levels are unhealthy for prolonged periods, they are far from fatal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

One last thing…
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