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Hiroshima Bombing: Study Finds Victims Received Double Deadly Dose of Radiation via Sputnik

The nuclear attack on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 led to an estimated 146,000 deaths, half of them in its aftermath, including as a result of deadly radiation.

New research by Brazilian physicists studying a bone fragment belonging to a casualty of the Hiroshima bombing discovered that the victim had been exposed to a staggering 9.46 grays (gy) or joules of radiation energy per kilogram, or nearly double the estimated 5 gray considered fatal in the event of full-body exposure.

The bone fragment, a jawbone belonging to a victim who was one kilometer from the epicenter on the day of the attack, was analyzed using paramagnetism, the phenomenon which makes human bones weakly magnetic following their exposure to x-ray or gamma-ray irradiation. This marker allowed researchers to estimate the amount of radiation absorbed.

The estimate was made more precise using a technique known as electron spin resonance spectoscopy. In addition, the Brazilian physicists took advantage of improved instrumentation and digital data processing techniques.

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Oswaldo Baffa, study coauthor and professor at the University of Sao Paulo, said. “Techniques like this can help identify who has been exposed to radioactive fallout and needs treatment,” he explained.

Read more at Hiroshima Bombing: Study Finds Victims Received Double Deadly Dose of Radiation

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