[ RadSafe ] Chernobyl's radioactive trees and the forest fire risk - Tower Shielding Facility at ORNL

K. L. McMahan kb60127 at comcast.net
Mon Jul 9 20:10:37 CDT 2012

The reactor you describe was almost surely the Tower Shielding Facility at
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A good summary description complete with
photos and drawings of this impressive bit of history can be found at this

Others will have to speak of the effect of the hoisted, operating reactor on
pine trees (or perhaps oak trees, since this is, after all, Oak Ridge). I
can only say trees grow pretty well around there now.

Kim McMahan, CHP
Oak Ridge, TN

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Lawrence Jacobi
Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2012 4:38 PM
To: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Chernobyl's radioactive trees and the forest fire risk

According to the story below, Professore Sergiy Zibtsev, from the Forestry
Institute at the Kiev University of Life Sciences, is evaluating the
potential for a fire in the pine forest around Chernobyl to spread major
amounts of radioactivity to offsite areas, including the Ukraine and Western
Europe.  While my intuition tells me that will not be the case, I was
wondering if anyone who is more experienced than me in terrestrial radiation
ecology has more insight or a different opinion.

I remember reading about the "red forest" around Chernobyl caused by the
death of the existing pine trees, which I attributed to the massive doses
received by the forest 25 years ago; but, not necessarily attributable to
ongoing irradiation from contamination.  I also remember reading about an
experimental reactor in the USA that was purposelly allowed to go critical
while suspended in air, leading to the death of nearby pine trees.  Does
anyone remember the name of that facility? 

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