Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Danger: Nuclear power by Chuck Baclagon
May 20, 2009, 12:55 pm
Filed under: End the nuclear age | Tags: , , , ,

Not many people are aware of it, but here’s the new international symbol for radiation:

new radiation symbol

According to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) which promotes nuclear energy, the symbol means “you are in danger, stop, run away. So the message is actually “death immenent—RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!”  If you watch the video that the IAEA released to explain the video, you’ll see that they decided to use this symbol to supplement the more common yellow ‘trefoil’ to protect people who encounter large sources of radiation without understanding that it can cause death.  Apparently, many cases of death via ionizing radiation is attributed to this (illiterate people scavenging metal parts like lead from radioactive materials).  Right now the world is accumulating hundreds of thousands of tons of nuclear waste all of which will use this symbol.  So much for the argument that nuclear safety measures are airtight, huh?

Click here to watch a video from the IAEA about the new symbol

Click here to watch a video from the IAEA about the new symbol

Here’s their press release:

The IAEA launched this symbol on 15 February 2007

New Symbol Launched to Warn Public About Radiation Dangers
Supplementary Symbol Aims to Help Reduce Needless Deaths and Injuries
Staff Report
15 February 2007
New Radiation Symbol

The new supplementary radiation warning symbol.

With radiating waves, a skull and crossbones and a running person, a new ionizing radiation warning symbol is being introduced to supplement the traditional international symbol for radiation, the three cornered trefoil.

The new symbol is being launched today by the IAEA and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to help reduce needless deaths and serious injuries from accidental exposure to large radioactive sources. It will serve as a supplementary warning to the trefoil, which has no intuitive meaning and little recognition beyond those educated in its significance.

“I believe the international recognition of the specific expertise of both organizations will ensure that the new standard will be accepted and applied by governments and industry to improve the safety of nuclear applications, protection of people and the environment,” said Ms. Eliana Amaral, Director, Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety, IAEA.

The new symbol is aimed at alerting anyone, anywhere to the potential dangers of being close to a large source of ionizing radiation, the result of a five-year project conducted in 11 countries around the world. The symbol was tested with different population groups – mixed ages, varying educational backgrounds, male and female – to ensure that its message of “danger – stay away” was crystal clear and understood by all.

“We can´t teach the world about radiation,” said Carolyn Mac Kenzie, an IAEA radiation specialist who helped develop the symbol, “but we can warn people about dangerous sources for the price of sticker.”

The new symbol, developed by human factor experts, graphic artists, and radiation protection experts, was tested by the Gallup Institute on a total of 1 650 individuals in Brazil, Mexico, Morocco, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, China, India, Thailand, Poland, Ukraine and the United States.

The symbol is intended for IAEA Category 1, 2 and 3 sources defined as dangerous sources capable of death or serious injury, including food irradiators, teletherapy machines for cancer treatment and industrial radiography units. The symbol is to be placed on the device housing the source, as a warning not to dismantle the device or to get any closer. It will not be visible under normal use, only if someone attempts to disassemble the device. The symbol will not be located on building access doors, transportation packages or containers.

“The new ionizing radiation warning symbol (ISO 21482) is the latest successful result of long-standing cooperation between the IAEA and ISO. We encourage the symbol´s rapid adoption by the international community,” said ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden.

Many source manufacturers plan to use the symbol on new large sources. Strategies to apply the symbol on existing large sources are being developed by the IAEA.

For more information, contact Danielle Dahlstrom, IAEA Press Office.

Lea Guerrero

1 Comment so far
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You are mixing sources of radiation. Most of the problems with people scavenging parts comes from medical uses – xray machines which are discarded improperly in some countries.

This has nothing to do with the way that fuel that has passed once through a nuclear power reactor is treated or contained. Totally different levels of safety and protection.

Comment by David

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