Background Radiation: Effects of Nuclear Weapons Testing

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In summary: Director of the Center for Radiological Research at the University of MichiganIn summary, according to the Health Physics Society, a person receives 5% of their yearly radiation dose from fallout from nuclear tests and reactors. Additionally, a person receives that dose at a faster rate in an airliner than they would from flying in a regular airplane.
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theCandyman
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I ran across an interesting video in the video section of Google, this is the link: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3626298989248030643&q=genre%3Aeducational+nuclear
It caught my eye because it was from Hippie News Network.

It seemed that the interviewee was hyping the how much we are affected by weapons testing (and to some degree power plants) so I looked up how much weapons added to background radiation exposure, and according to the following paper, the maximum average was 5%. (http://ej.iop.org/links/r8NRKgE1R/ikwqBZFo2xGDvod0av5vpA/jr3102.pdf )
But, that is an average, it seems to me that a maximum for someone near the testing sites would be higher. Is that information recorded?

Interesting lady, as well. I sort of get the feeling she does not have too strong of a background in the nuclear sciences though. A lot of the results from a quick Google were about her talking about DU and Wikipedia said she never published anything in a peer reviewed journal. Near the end of the video she is talking about Pu and U from nuclear weapons, I expected if one is discussing fallout, the fission products would be more important.
 
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theCandyman said:
It seemed that the interviewee was hyping the how much we are affected by weapons testing (and to some degree power plants) so I looked up how much weapons added to background radiation exposure,..
Candyman,

Here is a better indication of how much or little one is affected by fallout from past
nuclear tests and the operation of nuclear reactors.

Courtesy of the Health Physics Society chapter at the University of Michigan:

http://www.umich.edu/~radinfo/introduction/radrus.htm

http://www.umich.edu/~radinfo/introduction/popdose.htm

You can see for yourself the percentages that the "Nuclear Fuel Cycle" [ Reactors ] and
"Fallout" [ Nuclear Tests ] have added to the background radiation.

You get much more radiation from flying in an airliner. From the table, in an entire
year you get <1 mrem of radiation from either nuclear power or fallout from nuclear
tests.

If you travel one way from "coast to coast" [e.g. Los Angeles to Washinton DC ], you
get about 10 mrem of radiation. Additionally you will receive that 10 mrem in the
course of 5 hours. The 1 mrem from fallout is distributed over an entire YEAR.

The damage that radiation does is correlated not only with how much you get; but at
the RATE that you get that radiation dose. So in the airliner, not only do you get
10X the radiation dose, but you get that dose at a higher rate.

Are these nuclear scare mongers telling you not to fly in airliners?

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist
 
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  • #3
Thanks for sharing this video. I found it to be quite thought-provoking. I agree that the interviewee seemed to be emphasizing the effects of weapons testing and power plants, but it's important to consider the context in which these activities take place. While weapons testing may contribute to a small percentage of background radiation exposure, it's still important to monitor and limit this exposure as much as possible.

As for the interviewee's background, I also noticed that she doesn't have a strong background in nuclear sciences. It's always important to consider the source of information and do further research to verify claims and statements.

Regarding your question about recording information on maximum radiation exposure near testing sites, I'm not sure. It would be interesting to see if there are any studies or data on this. Perhaps someone with more knowledge in this area can provide more insight.

Overall, I think this video brings up important discussions about the effects of nuclear weapons and power plants on our environment and health. Thanks again for sharing.
 

Related to Background Radiation: Effects of Nuclear Weapons Testing

1. What is background radiation?

Background radiation refers to the low levels of radiation that are constantly present in our environment, including in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the objects around us. This radiation comes from natural sources such as the sun, rocks, and soil, as well as from man-made sources such as nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons testing.

2. How does nuclear weapons testing contribute to background radiation?

Nuclear weapons testing involves the detonation of nuclear bombs, which release large amounts of radioactive materials into the environment. These radioactive materials can then travel through the air and contaminate the soil, water, and food sources, increasing the levels of background radiation in the affected areas.

3. What are the potential health effects of exposure to background radiation from nuclear weapons testing?

Exposure to high levels of background radiation, such as those resulting from nuclear weapons testing, can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including leukemia, thyroid cancer, and lung cancer. It can also damage cells and tissues, leading to genetic mutations and birth defects in future generations.

4. How do scientists measure background radiation levels?

Scientists use a unit called a sievert (Sv) to measure the amount of radiation that a person is exposed to. This unit takes into account the type of radiation, the energy of the radiation, and the sensitivity of different parts of the body to radiation. Geiger counters and other specialized instruments can also be used to measure radiation levels in a particular area.

5. What steps are being taken to minimize the effects of background radiation from nuclear weapons testing?

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1996, aims to ban all nuclear weapons testing and reduce the levels of background radiation in the environment. In addition, governments and international organizations have implemented measures to monitor and regulate nuclear weapons testing and to clean up contaminated areas to reduce the risk of exposure to background radiation.

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