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When a nuclear reactor explodes, the
general consensus is “safe zone” is fifty miles or more away.  This is because when it explodes it releases
radioactive iodine (131I) into the air. 
Our bodies require iodine to function but different isotopes have
different effects.  131I, when given in
small doses can treat thyroid cancer, in large doses, like a fallout, it can
cause cancer.  There are varying cancer
statistics when it comes to exposure but they all conclude that exposure will
cause cancer.  (2015, M. F.)

 

The most effected organ is the thyroid
gland.  This is because the thyroid gland
processes the iodine.  “It is a trace element, which means that
the body cannot produce it itself, but needs to take it in with food. In
the intestine, iodine is taken from the food and enters the blood stream.” (How does the thyroid work?
(2015, January 07).)

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Mild
exposure (1-2 Gy)

Moderate
exposure (2-6 Gy)

Severe
exposure (6-9 Gy)

Very
severe exposure (10 Gy or higher)

Nausea
and vomiting

Within
6 hours

Within
2 hours

Within
1 hour

Within
10 minutes

Diarrhea

 

Within
8 hours

Within
3 hours

Within
1 hour

Headache

 

Within
24 hours

Within
4 hours

Within
2 hours

Fever

 

Within
3 hours

Within
1 week

Within
1 hour

Dizziness
and disorientation

 

 

Within
1 week

Immediate

Weakness
and fatigue

Within
4 weeks

Within
1-4 weeks

Within
1 week

Immediate

Hair
loss, bloody vomit and stools, infections, poor wound healing, low blood pressure

 

Within
1-4 weeks

Within
1 week

Immediate

(Radiation
sickness. (2015, September 29)

 

First course of treatment is Potassium Iodine
tablets which is a preventative against thyroid poisoning.

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