World Exclusion Zones


  • 16/03/2013
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There are numerous exclusion zones that exist in the world today. These are areas that have suffered radiation exposure to abnormally high levels and are best avoided. These are the following.

There are numerous exclusion zones that exist in the world today. These are areas that have suffered radiation exposure to abnormally high levels and are best avoided. These are the following.

The Three Mile Island, US

On 28th March 1979, radioactivity was released into the atmosphere and contaminated coolant escaped into the nearby river in Harrisburg. This resulted in cancer rates rising dramatically within the local population. The site and reactor were mostly contaminated. It has taken 14 years and cost $1 billion to clean up the area. Up to date, the ruins are still radioactive.

White Sands, New Mexico, US

The first ever nuclear bomb was detonated at the White Sands missile testing ground. The 18-kiloton bomb was detonated in 1945, causing a 12 km high mushroom and heard 320 km away. The sand at the site turned into a green radioactive gas called Trinitit. Over 60 years later, the radiation at the site is still 10 times over the normal.

Chernobyl, Ukraine

On 26th April 1986, near the town of Pripyat, the testing of a voltage regulator lead to an explosion in reactor no. 4 at theChernobyl Nuclear Plant. The radiation spread into Europe and as far as Africa. An exclusion zone covering a radius of 30 km was set up. To date, radiation levels are up to 700 times higher than normal, though Chernobyl tours take place in the area's safe zones.

Asse storage facility, Germany

Nuclear waste has been stored in the Asse storage facility for over 50 years, a salt mine meant to protect the radioactive waste for 100,000 years in Germany. 12,000 litres of water drip into the site daily, causing the drums to rust and resulting in release of radioactivity. It is impossible to get close enough to begin a cleanup program.

Nevada Proving Grounds

One hundred and nineteen atomic devices in the area North-west of Las Vegas and more than 1,000 nuclear tests were conducted underground. The area was finally decommissioned in 1992.

Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan

This was the main nuclear testing site of the former Soviet Union; 506 tests were carried out here. Some parts of the area are so contaminated that they have to be covered with huge, two-meter thick steel plates to contain the radiation.

Hiroshima, Japan

An atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6th August 1945. 90% of the people in a half-kilometre radius died. Up to 166,000 people died from after-effects. Many more have died and it is still under study.

There are many more exclusion zones in the world, including the most recent one involving the Fukushima Nuclear plant in Japan that was caused by a tsunami earthquake.