Radioactive Cloud Over Europe
Nuclear officials across Europe are clueless as to the source of radiation floating in the atmosphere “across Europe” over the past several days.
The Czech Republic's State Office for Nuclear Safety and the International Atomic Energy Agency have detected iodine-131. Iodine-131 is the type of radiation created during the operation of nuclear reactors or in the detonation of a nuclear bomb. The radiation was first detected two weeks ago and has been confirmed “in other locations across Europe.”
The officials for the IEAE said the current levels of radiation do not warrant a public health risk and they would not state where else the radiation has been detected besides the Czech Republic. They do not believe it's coming from the Japanese Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima.
Iodine-131 has a radioactive decay half-life of 8 days. The Japanese Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima released mostly Iodine-131 as part of it's radioactive discharge. Due to it's mode of beta decay, Iodine-131 is known for causing mutations and death in cells it penetrates.
Accordingly, high does of the isotope are sometimes less dangerous than low doses. High doses tend to kill thyroid tissues that would otherwise become cancerous as a result of the radiation. Low doses, on the other hand are thought to be the major cause of increased thyroid cancers after accidental nuclear contamination, such as the radiation that was released during the nuclear tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site.
Such dangers from low level radiation exposure are not detected for decades later.