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Q & A: stopping radiation

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Most recent answer: 05/05/2015
Q:
can someone please explain to me why, given that radiation is a wave, people built walls around contaminated areas like chernobyl. isnt it useless ?!!
- Tozo (age 35)
connecticut
A:

Walls can stop waves, so long as you have the right type of wall for the right type of wave. For example, an ordinary radio wave can be stopped by a copper screen. 

The main reason for putting containment walls around Chernobyl, however, is to keep little pieces of radioactive material from blowing away to places where they can do more harm when they emit more radioactive waves or particles or whatever you choose to call them. Inside your lungs, for example, is a bad place for those particles to go. One way the walls help, besides directly trapping the little pieces, is by keeping rain out, since water can cause explosions that spread the radioactive material.

Mike W.


(published on 05/05/2015)

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