Azara Blog: The Windscale fallout was allegedly worse than estimated 50 years ago

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Date published: 2007/10/07

The BBC says:

The radioactive fallout from a nuclear accident that rocked Britain 50 years ago was underestimated, scientists say.

In 1957, a fire at the Windscale nuclear reactor in Cumbria led to a release of radioactive material that spread across the UK and Europe.

But new research claims the incident generated twice as much radioactive material and caused dozens more cancers than was previously thought.
...
At the time of the accident the levels and spread of the radioactive materials was estimated, and measures were put in place to limit radioactive contamination.

But a new study carried out by John Garland, formerly of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and Richard Wakeford, a visiting professor at the University of Manchester, suggests the contamination of the environment may have been much higher.

The team carried out a re-analysis of data taken from environmental monitoring of air, grass and vegetation and combined this with computer models that revealed how the radioactive cloud would have spread from the reactor with the meteorological conditions at that time.
...
Previously, it was thought that the radiation would have eventually led to about 200 cases of cancer, but the new contamination figures suggest it could have caused about 240.

Interesting in some ways, but it's hard to belive that the uncertainty in the estimate of cancer cases (never mind deaths) is less than 240-200=40, and both the numbers are anyway incredibly small, so the impact of this study does not seem very significant.

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