NewsGlobal hotspots: The lesser-known radioactive areas beyond Chernobyl and Fukushima

Global hotspots: The lesser-known radioactive areas beyond Chernobyl and Fukushima

Chernobyl and Fukushima are the most well-known radioactive places on the world map.
Chernobyl and Fukushima are the most well-known radioactive places on the world map.
Images source: © Getty Images | Andrew Lichtenstein
10:55 AM EDT, March 19, 2024
The Ukrainian Chernobyl and the Japanese Fukushima are the most notorious radioactive spots on the global map. However, there are additional areas around the world where high radiation levels are a concern, including in countries such as the United Kingdom, Russia, and the United States.
The United Kingdom witnessed the biggest nuclear disaster in the Western world, according to the Focus portal. In 1957, the core of a nuclear reactor caught fire at the Sellafield nuclear waste processing plant. This incident resulted in the death of at least 100 people due to exposure to radioactive waste, as reported by the British government in 1988. Further research in 2007 revealed that the incident had more victims, with 240 people developing cancer and at least 100 succumbing to the disease.
Operation Trinity
In the United States, another lesser-known site marks its place on the radioactive map. In 1945, New Mexico was the testing ground for the world's first atomic bomb detonation, an operation codenamed "Trinity." By the 60s, the 49,421-acre site of this monumental explosion was declared a National Historic Landmark. Today, it serves as a tourist attraction, despite still having high radiation levels. Focus reports say that spending an hour at this location can expose a person to a radiation dose equal to the average daily exposure from natural or medical sources.
The Contaminated Lake in Russia
Karachay, once a small lake in the southern Urals, tells another story of radioactive contamination. In the 40s and 50s, radioactive waste from the Mayak plutonium production plants was dumped into the lake. A drought in 1968 caused the lake to dry up, spreading radioactive dust across the city of Ozyorsk and exposing about 400,000 people to radiation. Scientists examined the site in 1990, and since then, efforts to mitigate the contamination have included pouring concrete around the lake's remains.
Source: Focus, Wikipedia
Related content