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Global risk of radioactive fallout after major nuclear reactor accidents

Source(s):  Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (Otto-Hahn-Institut)

This study assesses the cumulative, global risk of exposure to radioactivity due to atmospheric dispersion of gases and particles following severe nuclear accidents. The obtained results indicate that previously the occurrence of major accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima and the risks of radioactive contamination have been underestimated. The researchers also determined that, in the event of such a major accident, half of the radioactive caesium-137 would be spread over an area of more than 1,000 kilometers away from the nuclear reactor. Their results show that Western Europe is likely to be contaminated about once in 50 years by more than 40 kilobecquerel of caesium-137 per square meter. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency an area is defined as being contaminated with radiation from this amount onwards. In view of their findings, the researchers call for an in-depth analysis and reassessment of the risks associated with nuclear power plants



 
 
  • Global risk of radioactive fallout after major nuclear reactor accidents
  • Publication date 2012
  • Author(s) Lelieveld, J.; Kunkel, D.; Lawrence, M.G.
  • Number of pages 14p.

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