[ RadSafe ] Chernobyl's radioactive trees and the forest fire risk - Tower Shielding Facility at ORNL
Lahr, Jeffrey S.
Jeffrey.Lahr at gtri.gatech.edu
Tue Jul 10 08:02:03 CDT 2012
See also Dawson Forest in Georgia. Site of the Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory (GNAL)
"The potential threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union prompted more experimentation at the Dawson Forest site. The U. S. government was in learning how our country would or could rebound after a nuclear attack. It was equally important to understand the effects on our renewable natural resources, such as lumber, and if the natural environment would recover from such an attack.
In June of 1959, and again in August of 1960, the forest area surrounding the reactor was subjected to lethal doses of radiation for weeks at a time. The reactor was only shut down on weekends and during employee shift changes. The effects of this irradiation became quite obvious to the surrounding environment. During the two years after the tests and at a distance of one mile from the reactor, tree growth was impeded and loss of foliage, leaf and bud production occurred. Wildlife was all but eliminated from the area."
Great video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn6N2iV2_os
Environmental Radiation Center
GTRI-EOSL Baker Building Room 348
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of K. L. McMahan
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2012 9:11 PM
To: 'The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List'
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Chernobyl's radioactive trees and the forest fire risk - Tower Shielding Facility at ORNL
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
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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