Rads in the walls
Last time, we discussed how radioactivity gets concentrated on the ground after falling in rain or snow. These readings illustrate the process at work:
From 9.6 to 14.3 in one month is a huge increase. Work out the percentage.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Now remember that there are 52 weeks in a year … and years add up. So does fallout.
It’s comforting to think we can build stout homes to block radiation.
But it’s also wrong.
Where do you think construction materials — brick, stone, wood, concrete — come from?
They all come from the earth in one way or another. As the earth gets more radioactive, so do they.
Already, radioactivity is turning up in building materials:
Then is using wood a solution? No. Trees are soaking up radioisotopes too:
How much radioactivity are trees storing? Here’s a scary hint.
Note this reading of almost 44,000 Bq/kg from fireplace ash:
From earlier posts, you may recall that a reading of 50 is considered dangerous.
Makes you think hard about home living, doesn’t it?
Imagine you move into a newly built home … only to find yourself soaked in radiation from the walls, floor, and ceiling.
Could you bring yourself to sing, “Be it radioisotoped, there’s no place like home”?
Yet there is a bright spot in this picture.
The value of older homes may go up, as they were built before Fukushima. So, they are not popping with radioactivity.
Does that mean an old, less radioactive house soon could rise higher in value than one freshly built?
Somehow, I doubt real estate experts have an answer yet. But it’s time to start thinking.
Meanwhile, for the first time ever, fireplace ash remains hot for centuries after the fire goes out.
(c) 2012 David Ritchie
David Ritchie writes from Seoul, Korea. He welcomes correspondence and asks only that it be civil in tone. Contact: kwriter (at) asia.com.