How fast does nuclear radiation clear?

Just roughly?

The reason I ask is because my friend told me he is going on a tour of Pripyat in Ukraine which is where the chernobyl nuclear plant exploded and I heard people have said that as it was only 1986 that it happened that would mean there is still high amounts of radiation there?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • There's no clear answer to that question. It depends on a lot of things. The half-lives of the isotopes in question, the environment they're released into and the form the fission products take.

    For example all the iodine-131 released in the blast is effectively gone. It has a half-life of about 8 days and has all decayed away. Others like cesium-137 and strontium-90 stick around much longer. Much of it has been washed off the buildings and the streets and with the rainfall it sinks into the soil at rate of about 1 cm per year.

    According to https://chernobyl-tour.com/english/ ambient radiation in Pripyat right now is about 0.6 uSv/hr which is about 6 times normal background radiation or so. To put that in perspective, a dental X-ray will give you about 10 uSv.

    There are hot-spots in the zone, particularly near Unit 4 and in places where radioactive cleanup equipment was dumped or radioactive dust was tracked in by liquidators. Tourists aren't be allowed near such places. They only bring people to places known to be fairly clean. Bringing tourists into unsafe areas is bad business.

    You should check out bionerd23's YouTube channel. It's really interesting. She's a German researcher who apparently has permission to wander around the zone freely (including the places where the tours won't take you) and she makes some really fascinating videos. www.youtube.com/channel/UC966ccV08PVAmZRhcC0SU8Q

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvBldWBjIjc

    Personally, I've always wanted to go to Pripyat. It's an amazing place.

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What Guys Said 9

  • its going to be inhabitable for around 20,000 years but you can still visit it, you just go with a team in suits and everyone has a Rad counter... just be prepared because you will get radiation but not dangerous amounts unless you stay to long, thats what the special trained team is for.

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  • It takes a very very long time for radiation to completely clear, it will still be there long after you and I are dead. Of course it is stronger in some places then in others one thing for sure is that you do not want to be in the actual complex were it happened without a protective suit because you will get lethal doses.

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  • Depends on the type. The term is "half life" and the half life of some radio active material has a half life of only a few days, and others of several hundred years. see www.nde-ed.org/.../decay.htm

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  • It depends on the radiation, some is gone in milliseconds, some takes thousands of years to dissipate it's energy to safe levels.

    Pripyat is still in dangerous levels and will be for some time. But if the time spent there is limited then it won't exceed human tolerance.

    Just think about an X-Ray, it exposes you to radiation, but given time your body will flush it out.

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  • 4 days, 7 hours and 27 minutes.

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  • In Pripyat there are still pockets of heavy radiation, but there are areas with low enough radiation to not be dangerous. He should use a geiger counter at all times. The radiation won't comepletly wear off for hundreds if not thousands of years

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  • I've been to Pripyat. I'm still alive.

    'Don't touch the moss'.

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  • As long as he doesn't stay in dangerously radioactive zone for too long, he'll be fine.

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  • It's safe to go there as long as you arnt there that long

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