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Consequences of the accident in the Czech Republic
The radioactive air particles from the east spread out over Czechoslovakia
and then rebounded back over Czechoslovak territory after hitting the Alps,
which pushed the radiation back in the direction of Poland. The first signs
of an approaching radioactive cloud were registered by employees of the
Dukovany nuclear power plant in the night of April 29. The next day the
Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology as well as regional hygiene stations
started monitoring radioactivity levels around the country.
From the medical point of view, the key elements causing radioactive
contamination were caesium and iodine. The half-life of iodine is 8 days,
therefore it was potentially dangerous only in the first few days after the
accident, whereas the half-life of caesium is 30 years and it enters the
food chain. In view of this, the Czechoslovak authorities took some
measures to reduce the contamination of food. The highest level of
contamination was in milk and leafy vegetables.
The level of radioactive contamination on the territory of the Czech
Republic is still an object of research. Expert studies estimate that the
radiation local inhabitants were exposed to in the immediate wake of the
accident was 0,26 mSv, that is approximately a tenth of the radiation that
people in this part of the world are exposed to under normal circumstances
in the course of a year. With every passing year the levels of radiation
decreased. It is possible to say that the average dose of radiation to
which people in this country were exposed did not exceed the set limits.
However in individual cases this might have happened.
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