A New Look at Prolonged Radiation Exposure from MIT
A New Look at Radiation Exposure from MIT:
A new study from MIT scientists suggests that the guidelines governments use to determine when to evacuate people following a nuclear accident may be too conservative.
“There are no data that say that’s a dangerous level,” says Yanch, a senior lecturer in MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. “This paper shows that you could go 400 times higher than average background levels and you’re still not detecting genetic damage. It could potentially have a big impact on tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in the vicinity of a nuclear powerplant accident or a nuclear bomb detonation, if we figure out just when we should evacuate and when it’s OK to stay where we are.”
Until now, very few studies have measured the effects of low doses of radiation delivered over a long period of time. This study is the first to measure the genetic damage seen at a level as low as 400 times background (0.0002 centigray per minute, or 105 cGy in a year).
“Almost all radiation studies are done with one quick hit of radiation. That would cause a totally different biological outcome compared to long-term conditions,” says Engelward, an associate professor of biological engineering at MIT.