Quantum and Nuclear

Radioactive swimming

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

In the early days of the American nuclear industry, during the 1940s, the rules for the handling of radioactive materials were laxer. Galen Winsor was a safety officer at the Hanford Nuclear Site, the location of the first full-size plutonium-producing reactor. When Hanford’s reactors were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War, the site housed 177 storage tanks, containing 200,000 m 3 of high-level radioactive waste. Winsor swam in the pool where spent fuel rods were kept and the water was heated to 38°C. He further claimed to have drunk a glass of water from the pool every day without ill effects. By contrast, since the 1980s, former workers have been attempting to gain compensation for symptoms caused by alleged exposure to radiation due to lax safety measures at the plant.

References

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