Radioactive contamination

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The Hanford site represents two-thirds of the United States' high-level radioactive waste by volume. Nuclear reactors line the riverbank at the Hanford Site along the Columbia River in January 1960.
As of 2013, the Fukushima nuclear disaster site remains highly radioactive. About 160,000 people still live in temporary housing. Some land will be unfarmable for centuries. The difficult cleanup job will take 40 or more years, and cost tens of billions of dollars.[1][2]
The 18,000 km2 expanse of the Semipalatinsk Test Site (indicated in red), which covers an area the size of Wales. The Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk from 1949 until 1989 with little regard for their effect on the local people or environment. The full impact of radiation exposure was hidden for many years by Soviet authorities and has only come to light since the test site closed in 1991.[3]
2007 ISO radioactivity danger symbol. The red background is intended to convey urgent danger, and the sign is intended to be used in long-term radioactive waste repositories, which might survive into a distant future where other danger symbols may be forgotten or misinterpreted.

Radioactive contamination or radiological contamination is the contamination of the environment with radioactive materials, where these materials are not present. Many radioactive substances have very long half lives; this means that if they are present in the envioroment, they can be dangerous for a very long time. Many nuclear power plants produce such substances; usually they are processed to radioactive waste. There is little danger that comes from radioactive waste,if it is stored safely.

Causes[change | change source]

Accidents[change | change source]

Year Type Incident ARS deaths ARS survivors Location
1945 criticality Harry K. Daghlian 1 0 Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
1946 criticality Pajarito accident (Louis Slotin) 1 2 Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
1957 alleged crime Nikolay Khokhlov assassination attempt[4] 0 1 Frankfurt, West Germany
1958 criticality Cecil Kelley criticality accident 1 0 Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States
1961 reactor Soviet submarine K-19[5] 8 many North Atlantic, near Southern Greenland
1961 criticality SL-1 experimental reactor explosion 2 0 NRTS, near Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States
1962 orphan source radiation accident in Mexico City 4  ? Mexico City, Mexico
1968 reactor Soviet submarine K-27[6] 9 40 near Gremikha Bay, Russia
1985 reactor Soviet submarine K-431[7] 10 49 Chazhma Bay naval facility near Vladivostok, USSR
1985 radiotherapy Therac-25 radiation overdose accidents 3 3
1984 orphan source radiation accident in Morocco[8] 8 3 Mohammedia, Morocco
1986 reactor Chernobyl disaster 28 206 - 209 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukrainian SSR
1987 orphan source Goiânia accident[9] 4  ? Goiânia, Brazil
1990 radiotherapy radiotherapy accident in Zaragoza[10] 11  ? Zaragoza, Spain
1996 radiotherapy radiotherapy accident in Costa Rica[11] 7 to 20 46 San José, Costa Rica
1999 criticality Tokaimura nuclear accident 2  ? Tōkai, Ibaraki, Japan
2000 orphan source Samut Prakan radiation accident[12] 3 7 Samut Prakan Province, Thailand
2000 radiotherapy Instituto Oncologico Nacional accident[13][14] 3 to 7  ? Panama City, Panama
2006 crime Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko[4][15][16][17][18] 1 0 London, United Kingdom
2010 orphan source Mayapuri radiological accident[12] 1 7 Mayapuri, India

References[change | change source]

  1. Richard Schiffman (12 March 2013). "Two years on, America hasn't learned lessons of Fukushima nuclear disaster". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/12/fukushima-nuclear-accident-lessons-for-us.
  2. Martin Fackler (June 1, 2011). "Report Finds Japan Underestimated Tsunami Danger". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/02/world/asia/02japan.html?_r=1&ref=world.
  3. Togzhan Kassenova (28 September 2009). "The lasting toll of Semipalatinsk's nuclear testing". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. http://thebulletin.org/lasting-toll-semipalatinsks-nuclear-testing.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Goldfarb, Alex; Litvinenko, Marina (2007). Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB. Simon & Schuster UK. ISBN 978-1-4711-0301-8 . http://books.google.com/books?id=KezxHbHLPnQC.
  5. Johnston, Wm. Robert. "K-19 submarine reactor accident, 1961". Database of radiological incidents and related events. Johnston's Archive. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/radevents/1961USSR1.html. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  6. Johnston, Wm. Robert. "K-27 submarine reactor accident, 1968". Database of radiological incidents and related events. Johnston's Archive. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/radevents/1968USSR6.html. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  7. Johnston, Wm. Robert. "K-431 submarine reactor accident, 1985". Database of radiological incidents and related events. Johnston's Archive. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/radevents/1985USSR1.html. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  8. "Lost Iridium-192 Source". http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/1985/in85057.html.
  9. The Radiological Accident in Goiania p. 2.
  10. Strengthening the Safety of Radiation Sources p. 15.
  11. Gusev, Igor; Guskova, Angelina; Mettler, Fred A. (12 December 2010). Medical Management of Radiation Accidents, Second Edition. CRC Press. pp. 299–303. ISBN 978-1-4200-3719-7 . http://books.google.com/books?id=p6b4qDorN4wC&pg=PA299.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Bagla, Pallava (7 May 2010). "Radiation Accident a 'Wake-Up Call' For India's Scientific Community". Science 328 (5979): 679. doi:10.1126/science.328.5979.679-a .
  13. International Atomic Energy Agency. "Investigation of an accidental Exposure of radiotherapy patients in Panama". http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1114_scr.pdf.
  14. Johnston, Robert (September 23, 2007). "Deadliest radiation accidents and other events causing radiation casualties". Database of Radiological Incidents and Related Events. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/radevents/radevents1.html.
  15. Patterson AJ (2007). "Ushering in the era of nuclear terrorism". Critical Care Medicine 35 (3): 953–4. doi:10.1097/01.CCM.0000257229.97208.76 . PMID 17421087 .
  16. Acton JM, Rogers MB, Zimmerman PD; Brooke Rogers; Zimmerman (September 2007). "Beyond the Dirty Bomb: Re-thinking Radiological Terror". Survival 49 (3): 151–168. doi:10.1080/00396330701564760 .
  17. Sixsmith, Martin (2007). The Litvinenko File: The Life and Death of a Russian Spy. True Crime. p. 14. ISBN 0-312-37668-5 .
  18. Bremer Mærli, Morten. "Radiological Terrorism: "Soft Killers"". Bellona Foundation. http://www.bellona.org/articles/polonium.