The atomic bomb (atomic bomb) was dropped by the United States in 1945 on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the first and last time for military purposes. The balance sheet of a single bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in a time that could be measured in seconds was estimated at about 80,000 dead and 100,000 wounded.
What is an atomic bomb? What effect has this had on living in Japan?
According to Japanese records, a total of 220,000 people lost their lives during and after the eruption in the two cities. Despite exposure to radiation after the eruption, some 280,000 people continue to live in and around these cities.
This population, which has been followed for 35 years, is primarily derived from radiation-induced leukemia / lymphoma and pediatric thyroid gland cancer and late-developing lung, stomach, pancreas, large intestine, breast, bone, brain, urological and dermatological. The death toll from the atomic bombing has risen sharply.
With the first eruption, the pressure created by the high-temperature air, which was expanded by the massive energy emitted suddenly, pushes the air in front of it, creating a flammable flow / air moving at 750 velocities. Km per hour from the center to the environment. The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a police station, destroying all buildings and bridges within 3 kilometers of the site, killing all living creatures in the area.
The lasting effect after this accident was realized by the rain that started a few minutes after the explosion. The reason for this rain is the emptiness caused by the pressure and heat emitted at the center of the eruption and the emptiness created by the rising wind and the mushroom created at an altitude of 1000-1500 m. From the ground.
The water vapor in these clouds condenses into water droplets because the temperature drops rapidly as the clouds rise and the air mass (2-3 km) was below zero degrees. The gaseous and dusty radioactive particles emitted from the atomic bomb, which together with the dust and water vapor in the air, also fall to the ground in a wide range of rain drops formed.
We know that similar radioactive rain clouds that arose in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident were carried by the wind ten, one hundred or even one thousand kilometers away in some places. The detection of the radioactive cloud, which was directed north before Chenobil, was discovered 3 days later by Swedish radiation detectors, enabling the crash, which could have been uncovered.
The clouds, which spread to all European countries in the following days, reached Turkey a week after the accident and caused a radioactive fall in the Black Sea coast and Thrace region, albeit in small amounts with rain.
The radioactive uranium in the molten reactor at Chernobyl will continue to emit radiation for many years. It is currently controlled for about 50 km entry and exit, and the level of radiation on the ground is still high. Measures such as placing molten uranium in a concrete tent were needed to prevent radioactive substances from mixing with groundwater and air.
What will be the impact on Turkey after a possible explosion in our northern Ukraine?
A similar accident in a nuclear reactor or the detonation of an atomic bomb that could cause war in Ukraine could again cause a radioactive fall that could be carried to Turkey by air.
In such cases, the areas that will be affected should be determined by measuring with a detector (best in the air before rain falls to the ground, if it is not possible in places where it is raining). It is advised not to approach the public, not to take their animals for grazing / walking, to stay away from rain soaked objects and products and not to drink open water before the measurement level goes down. If it rains, you should take a bath immediately and bury or wash wet clothes and store in a room / storage where no one uses for 2-3 months.
Animals that feed on wet grass in the rain should not eat for a short time, they should not drink milk, milk should be converted into dairy products like cheese and should be eaten after 3-4 months, if possible, after measuring radiation with a detector. . Products such as tea, hazelnuts, etc. that carry radioactive material in the soil from their roots to their leaves and fruits should either be destroyed or stored in a warehouse until the measured activity has reached an acceptable level.
- Pregnant women, especially infants and young children in the mother’s womb are more susceptible to radiation, so in such cases they should be protected and their food and drink should be controlled. The radioactive iodine released after an accident or explosion enters the body through respiration and digestion, mixes with the blood and accumulates in the thyroid gland.
Since this radiation from the thyroid gland can cause thyroid gland cancer in 5-20 years, as a precaution, potassium iodide tablets are used in persons aged 18 years just before exposure, if not possible, immediately after. Revealed. In addition, you do not need to take any medicine, nutritional support or any food to protect yourself from oral radiation.
What are the health effects of the atomic bomb? Does it cause a genetic disorder?
Yes. Those exposed to radiation from atomic bombs, nuclear power plant / reactor accidents, and “dirty” bombs (albeit to a lesser extent than others) where corroded uranium-238 bullets are placed in the core so that it can perforate concrete. ; In addition to the early and late effects seen in follow-up of patients treated with “ionizing radiation” for diagnosis and treatment in medicine, there are also “genetic effects” that can be noticed in the long run.
Such late effects are effects that do not cause cell death, but result in the cell and the organs formed by these cells losing their function over time. The first effect seen in such cells, which survive because they do not come into contact with high levels, is to stop proliferation through division.
As a result, after a certain period of time, mature cells that complete their normal lifespan cannot be replaced by new ones and the functionality of the tissue gradually returns. Since patients who come in contact with low doses do not show any signs / complaints / symptoms that do not cause this effect, genetic damage may be hidden, but it still exists.
The “DNA” chain break (damage / mutation of chromosomes) caused by “ionizing radiation” at very low levels in the cell nucleus is called a genetic disorder and is responsible for the cancer that can divide and multiply in the cell.
How much does it affect the fetus?
Female and male ovaries are very sensitive to radiation. Infertility occurs because the germ cells / stem cells of the ovaries and testicles that produce eggs and sperm stop propagating through low-grade division and stop the production of sex hormones needed by females to become sperm cells in women. Eggs that may mature after exposure to radiation, on the other hand, may form embryos and embryos in the womb after fertilization by sperm, although there is a very low probability.
However, because of the mutations it carries in DNA, it causes miscarriages and miscarriages, and transfers to every cell it makes through division due to radiation obtained before fertilization. If a live birth occurs, it is possible to detect these mutations in the DNA of all baby cells.
Among the children of survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (i.e., children who were not in the womb or subsequently exposed to radiation), 17 years later, the level of radiation levels was found to be the same as that of the parent’s ovum. ). A much higher rate of “young mortality” was detected than the general population (in proportion to mutations).
Microscopic examination of irradiated cells in cell cultures in the laboratory, cells from organisms taken from irradiated experimental animals, and blood cells taken from accidentally exposed people to radiation, clearly show such chromosomal abnormalities in DNA. Infants exposed to radioactive material in the womb are known to have birth defects (short arms, small skulls, etc.). Also, it has been determined that such congenital gene mutations in children increase the frequency of diseases such as retinoblastoma, polydactyly, Huntington’s chorea, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, Down syndrome, mental retardation, depending on their location in DNA.
Many of the children who later survived the Hiroshima eruption were born with anomalies and genetic defects (because the parent’s reproductive cells and, if pregnant, the fetus are affected by radiation). Also, in the long-term follow-up of survivors of the outbreak, the frequency of cancer was found to be higher than in the normal population.
Will a nuclear explosion in Ukraine increase the risk of an epidemic?
Covid-19 infection will increase mortality among those affected in the first 3 months whose immunity will be reduced.
Considering the number of deaths at the time of the explosion and the number of deaths due to radiation-related syndrome without infection and infection without Covid-19, the increase in deaths due to Covid-19 would be negligible.
For this reason, statements such as “previously unseen” epidemics, incessant epidemics or existing epidemics, “more epidemics will die in bombings / accidents” are misleading and “infectious disease deaths will increase” would be more accurate. It is known that in those who survive exposure to “ionizing radiation”, bone marrow suppression disappears by the end of the 3rd month (hence, immunity returns to normal) and death from the “radiation syndrome” seen in the first 3. / Decreases rapidly after a few months of eruption.
After that, however, the social and economic devastation increases the indirect damage due to hunger, increase in infectious diseases and inability to provide services like hospital / health / electricity / healthy water / food.
Of course, the loss of infrastructure increases the likelihood of developing epidemic diseases. However, no new epidemic diseases (e.g., possibly epidemic cholera) have been reported in populations that have survived radiation exposure since the atomic bomb or nuclear reactor accident that occurred to date.
However, suppression of immunity in the first 3 months, as well as disruption of health services (such as the Covid-19 vaccine), will significantly increase deaths from infectious diseases (and of course the current epidemic). In such cases, the continuity of the immunization program for children is crucial in protecting against future epidemics of pediatric diseases.
Finally, I must say that I have been using radiotherapy (radiation therapy) for the treatment of cancer in both children and adults for 35 years. Less than 5% of cancers are caused by radiation. The most important factors are smoking, eating habits, being overweight and sedentary lifestyle.
“Ionizing radiation” has been used in the treatment of cancer cells for over a century. Today, surgical, medical oncology and radiation oncology procedures are applied together in many cancers. Low doses of radiation for diagnostic purposes (such as CT, mammography, angiography) play an important role in early diagnosis and save lives. The benefits gained from diagnosis and treatment outweigh the risks.
- Important Note: Wherever the term “radiation” is used in this article, it refers to “ionizing radiation” which is the property of ionizing atoms (e.g. X and gamma rays, particle radiation). Other than that, low-energy electromagnetic radiation (light, infrared and ultraviolet rays, microwaves and radio waves) has no ionizing effect.