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April 22, 2007

Chernobyl Radiation Exposure

So it looks like the Soviets did indeed seed the clouds to stop radiation getting to Moscow and so on.

This is a little odd though:

Alan Flowers, a British scientist who was one of the first Western scientists allowed into the area to examine the extent of radioactive fallout around Chernobyl, said that the population in Belarus was exposed to radiation doses 20 to 30 times higher than normal as a result of the rainfall, causing intense radiation poisoning in children.

Background is about 3mSv, so he's saying that children received 60 to 90 mSv. No, I'm not an expert on radiation exposure so I've no idea whether that would indeed trigger intense radiation poisoning. But given that a CT scan is 10 mSv, that implies that 6 to 9 of them will trigger intense radiation poisoning.

Which seems a little unlikely, doesn't it?

April 22, 2007 in Nuclear | Permalink


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A dose of 1000mSv in a few hours is needed to cause "intense radiation poisoning". We're talking about 90mSv over the course of a year. To be sure this is higher than the global average, but within the range of some of the more extreme examples of natural background radiation.

Saying 90mSv will cause "intense radiation poisoning in children" is an untruth caused, I suspect, by confusing the effects of the current background radiation level in the fallout zone (nothing measureable) with the effects of the initial I-131 fallout, which has caused 4,000 cases of adolescent thyroid cancer (the vast majority of which were treated successfully).

Read more.

Posted by: Josh | Apr 22, 2007 2:45:41 PM