Archive for August 7th, 2010


Fires, Russia, Chernobyl……..and fallout

August 7, 2010

Well dear readers, here is an interesting little article….

Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said heat from fires in the Bryansk region near the frontier with Belarus and Ukraine, which was contaminated following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, could release harmful radioactive particles into the atmosphere.

“In the event of a fire there, radionuclides could rise [into the air] together with combustion particles, resulting in a new pollution zone,” he explained on national television.

Ukraine is now fighting 64 (and rising) fires of its own I would add……as of 5th August.

Going back to the learned Emergiencies Minister’s statement however, and putting my RWENukem qualified hat on, “radionuclides” sounds scarey…….but there are more “radionuclides” than there are menu options from a Chinese Takeaway……and many “radionuclides” are naturally forming/decaying with absolutely no assistance from mankind.

Anyway, to spare you the science lecture, of the radioactive isotopes that were released by the Chernobyl accident…….of which there were about 100 different ones……..the accepted life spans of only 2 elements remain active today and they are Strontium-90 (29 year life) and Caesium-137 (30 year life).  Pretty much any other element released by Chernobyl has long since stopped being a major concern.

Unfortunately Strontium-90 has the rather nasty habit of causing leukemia and Caesium-137 can play with the entire body, but most commonly with the liver and the spleen……at least that is what I seem to remember being told.

However…..not only is there tours of Chernobyl, but you are able to go right inside the exclusion zone as there is a difference between high exposure of a short period of time and lower exposures of a longer period of time when it comes to effects on the body……or of course, Chernobyl tours would not be occuring.

So, the question is, how real is the danger expressed by the Emgergencies Minister, how high into the atmosphere will radionuclides go and what winds will carry fire debre, how far and in which direction?

Personally I have my doubts there will be a new legacy from Chernobyl as a result of the fires in Russia……..and it is much more likely to be a case of whether to say something or not from the Minister……falling on the side of saying something to cover political backsides in the extremely unlikely chance someone gets sick.

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