After the atomic bomb in Nagasaki: Radiation today
I am no expert on the topic but an exploding atomic bomb does release a huge amount of radiation which effects humans, long after the actual explosion. Does radiation released in one place stay, or does it dissolve over time? During our recent sightseeing in Nagasaki, we were wondering about the current radioactive levels of the city, 50 years after the bombing.
The results are somewhat intriguing. It seems that radiation has gone back to normal.
In 2012, exactly one year after the Fukushima accident, we also visited Hiroshima (second city to suffer atomic bombing) – and we passed Fukushima Station and measured as well – see Radiation in Japan 2012.
In Nagasaki, all measurements were taken on the 6th of October 2013 in various places:
Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park, in Urakami, the northern district of Nagasaki. At the black stone column – the point above which the atomic bomb exploded 500 m above ground level. Average radioactive values.
The same place a minute after the first measurement. Radiation is not increased.
A bit lower values than the previous measurements, but still very average. At the small stream next to the Urakami Cathedral wall remnant which in turn stands only about 10 meters from the black column.
At the Nagasaki Peace Statue. Normal radiation.
In front of the main entrance to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Average radiation.
At the Dutch slopes. About 5km from the hypocentre in Urakami. Similar values.
Long term effects of radiation
Despite the back-to-normal radiation values, the people exposed to radioactive overdose who survived have continued to suffer from a higher incidence of contracting leukemia, cancer and other serious radiation-induced diseases. The damage inflicted on humans is irreversible. Many still live in fear and carry deep psychological scars.
The effects of atomic bombing on humans.
Various kinds of illnesses associated with radioactive overdose remain latent for a long period of time. Like leukaemia and cancer which broke out amongst Nagasaki survivors about 20 years later.
Other illnesses, like cataracts and microcephaly showed itself only 10 years after the bombing. All three illustrations are from the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
Radiation and atomic bombs
Atomic bombs generate lethal energy when fissile material such as plutonium undergoes fission. Radioactive rays, like gamma and neutron rays are released. The energy of the atomic bomb dropped over Nagasaki is presumed to have consisted of
35% heat rays and
Needles to say that atomic bombing leaves no chance of survival in its hypocentre, causing death and immense destruction within seconds. The bomb caused roughly 75,000 injuries and 74,000 deaths in Nagasaki – as of the end of 1945. The heat rays, blast winds and radiation were immense and the fire that followed covered the city in flames. Japan was the only country to encounter nuclear bombing.
We now have museums, charts and all kinds of detailed analysis of the impacts and contamination of cities through atomic bombs.
If scientists and politics have learned anything from the horrible consequences inflicted on humans, we shall never again see such a tragedy.