We’re exposed to radiation everyday in some form or the other. Derek Muller, a physicist takes us on a journey around the world to explore the most notable nuclear sites.
Derek’s aim is to let people know that their surroundings are radioactive, the air soil and even certain foods. Bananas and Brazil nuts, by the way, contain potassium, an element that naturally carries a very small portion of unstable, radioactive isotopes.
He is specifically looking at levels of ionizing radiation, one that is so powerful it can strip electrons from atoms. The most interesting fact in his study is that most of the post-apocalyptic landscapes aren’t necessarily as radioactive as you might think.
Planes at high altitudes, astronauts on board the ISS and people who undergo CT scans are exposed to more radiation than people in these locations. He also goes to Madame Curie’s office, where, 80 years later, you can still read traces of radiation.
Chernobyl, Ukraine is home to one of the world’s worst and most infamous nuclear accidents. The accident released 100 times more radiation than the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombs and over 6 million people were affected. One of the worst hit places is Belarus as its citizens have been dealing with increased cancer incidence ever since.
Last but not least is Fukushima in Japan. The 2011 earthquake resulted in what was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The incident caused meltdown of three of the six nuclear reactors, leaking radiation into the surrounding sea.