The most recent study presented to the General Assembly of the European Geoscience Union shows that radioactive debris stored in glaciers could in fact turn into a time bomb.
The area of the Earth’s glaciers is shrinking rapidly. Recent research shows that the rate of glacier melt is 18% higher than expected and five times higher in the 1960s.
This phenomenon has many consequences: destruction of polar bear habitat; raise the sea level; climate change is bad; and old diseases reappeared.
And now there is another issue with melting glaciers that concerns us. It is a large amount of nuclear dust buried in the giant ice of the Earth. “Radioactive Iceberg” looks like a cunning plot hidden behind the Earth disaster in the movie Geostorm. And yet, the most recent study presented to this year’s European Union General Assembly shows that radioactive debris stored in glaciers could in fact turn into a time bomb.
Senior researcher Caroline Clason, University of Plymouth, said: “Previous studies of nuclear accidents have focused only on their effects on human health and the area is not frozen. But evidence suggests that cryoconite in glaciers can accumulate radioactivity to potentially dangerous levels. “
This is the first time that an international team of researchers has started to analyze the nuclear content of glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic; at the same time in the Alps, the Caucasus Mountains, British Columbia and Iceland. The levels of man-made radioactive materials were recorded at 17 sites. As a result, the concentration of radioactive material in glaciers is on average 10 times (or more) higher than that in non-glacial sites.
The explanation for this result is the dispersion of radioactive particles after nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl or Fukushima. These particles are light and can fly very far.
Usually they return to the soil as acid rain, where they can be absorbed by the soil or consumed by plants. As a result, the concentration of radioactivity is higher in places like Chernobyl and Fukushima. At the same time, the cancer rate, the infertility rate increased, and the existence of radioactive pigs appeared. However, some of these particles fly to the poles, where they fall as snow, fall on ice, create heavy deposits, and accumulate to denser concentrations.
The team analyzed the nuclear composition of glaciers. And not only did they find nuclear dust from the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, but they also found material from decades of other nuclear weapon testing.
“We are talking about weapon testing from the 1950s and 1960s, the era of bombs and the development of heavy weapons,” Ms. Clason said.
While research shows that radioactive substances in the food chain are definitely not good for us, the team still doesn’t know what the presence of this nuclear radioactive dust means. The team hopes to find out its impact.
“Very high concentrations of radionuclides have been found in some recent field studies, but we do not yet know their exact effects. We are working on cooperation, ”Ms. Clason said. Because this is obviously a very serious problem for the immediate environment and downstream communities, we need to find any invisible threats they might face. Future.”