Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Radioactivity from UK blown over large parts of Europe


In 1957 there was the fire at Windscale in Cumbria, in the North west of England.

The resulting radioactive cloud spread contamination over large parts of Europe. (Extent of Windscale contamination was covered up)

Researchers in the UK and Norway have now shown that radioactivity was blown east over Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and north over Scandinavia.

"The plume extended further east than accepted in previous assessments," says a study funded by the British nuclear industry (Atmospheric Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.12.049).

Monitoring measurements from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment show that fallout "extended farther north over Norway than originally considered" (Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 11 June 2007)

The Windscale fire released twice as much radioactive debris as was previously thought. Windscale radiation 'doubly dangerous'

'We have had to double our estimates of amounts that were released,' said former UK Atomic Energy Authority researcher John Garland.


Scientists say the fire - which sent caesium, iodine and polonium across Britain and northern Europe - may have caused several dozen more cases of cancer than had been estimated previously.


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