Could Youngbyon be another Chernobyl?

At 10:02EST this morning, there have been reports of leaking gas from a nuclear facility in Youngbyon, North Korena (DPRK). The leaking gases are reported as radon and xenon, both chemically poisonous to the human body when inhaled. According to the U.S. EPA website, “Alpha radiation, which occurs in radon gas, directly causes damage to sensitive lung tissue. There is no safe level of radon–any exposure poses some risk of cancer.”

This reminds of us of other nuclear reactor disasters that have occurred in the past. Some might remember the events ay Chernobyl, Ukraine and Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In Chernobyl, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), “it is estimated that all of the xenon gas, about half of the iodine and caesium, and at least 5% of the remaining radioactive material in the Chernobyl 4 reactor core (which had 192 tons of fuel) was released in the accident. Most of the released material was deposited close by as dust and debris, but the lighter material was carried by wind over the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and to some extent over Scandinavia and Europe.”

Initially the Chernobyl disaster caused 28 deaths according to the WNA. The accident had long-term effects as well, leaving countless numbers of people with health complications and later leading to death. “A further 220,000 people were resettled into less contaminated areas, and the initial 30 km radius exclusion zone (2800 km2) was modified and extended to cover 4300 square kilometers,” according to the WNA.

No international power has yet taken the lead for distributing information pertaining to the nuclear cloud. We are unsure of the magnitude of the events at Yongbyon at this time and INN is awaiting further information and will update as soon as new information is received.

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