Quantum and Nuclear

The radioactive reinforcing rods

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 16-19 IOP RESOURCES

In northern Taiwan, in 1982, a batch of steel used to make reinforcing rods was contaminated with cobalt-60, a beta and gamma emitting radioisotope. The rods were used in the construction of over 200 buildings, some including schools. A team of researchers followed up the effects of exposure to low levels of gamma radiation due to the rods over a period of 12 years and found an increased number of cases of leukaemia and breast cancer in those exposed to the radiation emitted by the contaminated steel.


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