Brussels, 04 Aug 2003
Some 58 years after the first atomic bombs were used in attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, a study has concluded that current safety limits on radiation exposure are correct.
The bombs were responsible for the deaths of 250,000 people, and also provided new information on how radiation causes cancer. Neutrons sent out by the bombs are believed to be responsible for one in five cancers.
A new test developed by a team of US researchers is able to ascertain how many neutrons the bombs emitted by testing metal lightning rods and gutters removed from buildings in Hiroshima after the blast. Previous research had to rely on estimates of how many neutrons were released, but these more accurate results suggest that the estimates were in fact correct.
'These findings provide, for the first time, clear measurement validation of the neutron doses to survivors in Hiroshima,' Dr Mark Little of the UK's Imperial College is reported as saying. 'The risks are pretty much what we thought they were.'