The Most Radioactive Places on Earth

December 17, 2014 by 45 Comments

Who on Earth is exposed to the most ionizing radiation?
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I’m filming a documentary for TV about how Uranium and radioactivity have shaped the modern world. It will be broadcast in mid-2015, details to come. The filming took me to the most radioactive places on Earth (and some places, which surprisingly aren’t as radioactive as you’d think). Chernobyl and Fukushima were incredible to see as they present post-apocalyptic landscapes. I also visited nuclear power plants, research reactors, Marie Curie’s institute, Einstein’s apartment, nuclear medicine areas of hospitals, uranium mines, nuclear bomb sites, and interviewed numerous experts.

Notes about measuring radiation:
Sieverts are a measure of ‘effective dose’ – that means they measure the biological impact of the energy transferred to tissues from radiation.

Obviously I owe a debt to the fantastic chart made by xkcd, which inspired my visual approach to this video.

The level of radiation varies widely around the world depending mainly on altitude and geology (excluding nuclear accidents).

Estimates of particular doses also vary. All numbers reported in this video should be taken as order of magnitude only.

The most contentious claim may be that smokers receive the highest dose of ionizing radiation. This is not a whole body dose, but a dose to the lungs as specified in the video. References are here:

Special thanks to:
Physics Girl:
Natalie Tran:
Nigel and Helen for feedback on earlier drafts of this video.

Music is “Stale Mate”


45 Replies to “The Most Radioactive Places on Earth”

  1. I literally live a few kilometers away from Jáchymov lmfao

  2. Jame Andy says:

    the clicking of a geiger counter has to be one of the creepiest sounds you can hear

  3. Geiger counter: 500 Microseverts! Leave the area immediately!

    The screen: b a n a n a

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  5. B 4 says:

    Top notch content

  6. Ava Mulligan says:

    one day I wanna be half as cool as this guy

  7. Flqw3r says:

    now that's a lotta bananas

  8. The best Science channel on YouTube

  9. OofMCOof says:

    No one:
    Not even an animal:
    Not even a single soul:
    My brain if i see a smoker:

  10. Think he is brave …. I am a smoker 😎

  11. Its just going bananas

  12. Frank Hughes says:

    Person: *falls into a pile of 20,000,000 bananas.
    Person: dies

  13. BEAR R says:

    DAMN how much places di you travel

  14. Souvlaki _YT says:

    And that my friends, is why you don't smoke.

  15. I think he likes bananas

  16. Luis Mendoza says:

    I wonder if the money he made from views was enough to pay for the plane tickets

  17. Tom Edward says:

    So don't be an astronaut who smokes.

  18. I clicked on this video right after I ate a banana 😐😐

  19. TheKing Dog says:

    Begining of the video:

    Going through a hospital in Chernobyl, Finding Chernobyl firefighters clothes, Contamination overload, Camera goes black, The new Google Pixel 5 is out.

  20. Sai Kumar K says:

    The most radioactive place on earth is inside a nuclear reactor try visiting that😂😂

  21. In the first scene, was that place where MAURICE (Movie) was shot or tapped?

  22. Moral of the vedio÷ don't ever eat banana in airplane

  23. I wonder how many months of permissions, bureaucracy & paperwork had to be contended with to make this video?

  24. Smokers disliked this alot

  25. Stormspark says:

    Background radiation in my apartment (according to my Radiascan 701a) is 0.09-0.1 microsieverts/hour. Lower than normal. This is new construction, and I'm not on the first floor, so there is probably pretty much no radon.

  26. Merio 69 says:

    No need 4 school anymore I got utube

  27. Ness Gaming says:

    That hospital is dead

  28. 1% b0tty says:

    I bet most people don't know this but something far worse happened to Chernobyl reactor No. 4 that happened years before Chernobyl and no it was not Fukushima

  29. Asgeir says:

    Tbh, 8:208:31 could be used in a horror film.

  30. America: with masks,with costumes
    Russia: without masks ,without costumes

  31. Америка:с масками,главное не заразиться
    Россия: вызов принят

  32. 6:21 "Not too high" literally means nothing. It's about cumulative exposure. You literally standing there or anywhere else you went could still cause you issues because of the cumulative exposure that happened while you produced this video. Hope it was worth it!

  33. "the mask is prolly over kill, it's just to stop radioactive dust from getting in my lungs"
    yeah ok dude, sure. over kill

  34. cooledge47 says:

    Definitely caught me with that curveball.. now I’m really glad I quit smoking

  35. Saimon Myboy says:

    and thats why, id never eaten a banana again..

  36. Zhen Shops says:

    Person: *falls into a pile of 20,000,000 bananas.
    Person: dies

  37. 3.6 microsiverts not great not terrible
    Just like 3.6 roentgen

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