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Nevada, United States
In the 1950s, the residents of the region around the test site were encouraged to watch the regular nuclear explosions. Many of those affected report having set their alarm clocks especially so as not to miss the morning detonations. They received dosimeters from the US Atomic Energy Commission so that they could then measure the radiation dose received. The population of Utah was hardest hit by the fallout due to the prevailing wind direction. Radioactive substances such as iodine-131 can be inhaled or enter the body with contaminated food and cause cancer there. The children of the small town of St. George, Utah, were believed to have received thyroid doses of up to 1.2–4.4 sieverts. Accordingly, epidemiological studies also showed a significant increase in leukemia and thyroid cancer among the “downwinders”, the population that lived in the direction of the wind from the test site.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the US population received a total radiation dose of four million Sievert iodine-131 from the nuclear tests in Nevada - about 500 times the total radiation dose from Chernobyl (7,300 Sievert). A study published in 1999 estimated that between 10,000 and 75,000 people would develop thyroid cancer as a result of the atomic explosions in Nevada. Another study from 2006 calculated that approximately 1,800 deaths from leukemia are to be expected as a result of the nuclear weapons tests in Nevada. Despite these worrying findings, no regular thyroid screenings have been performed on people in the affected areas.
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