[ RadSafe ] German radiophobia

Rainer.Facius at dlr.de Rainer.Facius at dlr.de
Thu Oct 13 02:14:27 CDT 2005

Some time ago John Jacobus asked me in the context of Chernobyl's Reduced Impact:

"Do you know of anyone who has a fear of chronic low level ionizing radiation exposure?"

Here is the n+1. example of (German) lunatic radiophobia - or is it radiophobic lunacy? - again in the context of Chernobyl:

"Flüchtlinge in Weißrussland: Asyl im verstrahlten Niemandsland"
("Refugees in Belorussia: Asylum in the 'verstrahlten' No-man's-land")

As I stated previously, I know of no way to convey the meaning of this word "verstrahlt" as a German layman will absorb it. "Overexposed to radiation" would be a phrase which approaches its technical content to some extent. The German layman will more likely assimilate this title as: Asylum in Radiation-Death-Valley.

The story:
The Belorussian dictator Lukashenko plans to get rid of unwanted refugees from Afghanistan by deporting them to the Gomel district, a region which counts among the areas most heavily contaminated by the Chernobyl accident. Of cause, these poor people are doomed.

The facts:
While it is true that the Gomel district belongs to the three most heavily contaminated areas, the remainder of the truth is that by the year 2000 the total (external+internal) annual radiation exposure of people living in the Gomel-Bryansk area was well below 1 to 2 mSv, a fraction of the natural exposure of people living in the Massif Central or in Cornwall.

Hille R, Hill P, Heineman K, Ramzaev V, Barkovski A, Konoplia V, Neth R, Current development of the human and environmental contamination in the Bryansk-Gomel spot after the Chernobyl accident. Radiation and Environmental Biophysics 39(2000)99-109

Yet, who cares about facts. Phobia (Angst) sells!


Dr. Rainer Facius
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Linder Hoehe
51147 Koeln
Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
FAX:   +49 2203 61970

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