By GEORGE JOHNSON
Published: March 26, 2011
Becquerels, sieverts, curies, roentgens, rads and rems. For all the esoteric nomenclature scientists have devised to parse the effects of nuclear emanations, the unit they so often fall back on is the old-fashioned chest X-ray.
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With radiation, the terror lies in the abstraction. It kills incrementally — slowly, diffusely, invisibly. “Afterheat,” Robert Socolow, a Princeton University professor, called it in an essay for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “the fire that you can’t put out.”
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In the meantime, Chernobyl has become a tourist destination. Visitors . . . might also see a resurgence of wildlife: moose, roe deer, Russian wild boar, foxes, river otter and rabbits. American ecologists who conducted a study of the area in the late 1990s concluded that for all the harm caused by fallout, the biggest impact from humans has been positive: their decision to pack up and leave. “Northern Ukraine is the cleanest part of the nation,” an official of Ukraine’s Academy of Sciences said at the time. “It has only radiation.”
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full article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/we...ewanted=1&_r=1