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The Curious Case of Radioactive Apartments

The Curious Case of Radioactive Apartments

By Gilles Messier

On July 31st of that year, a worker from Taipower was showing his son how a Geiger counter worked when the device began detecting abnormally high radiation levels coming from the walls of his apartment. Whatever the case, at first the Atomic Energy Commission, Taiwan’s nuclear regulatory agency, was slow to act, reassuring residents that the radiation levels were actually safe. The investigation, which lasted four years and cost $15 million dollars, ended up searching some 30,000 apartments throughout Taiwan, a full 2% of which were found to be dangerously radioactive. In 2007, a team from the Taiwan Nuclear Science and Technology Association lead by W.L. Chien published a study analyzing the health outcomes of 10,000 residents of radioactive apartments, all of whom had been exposed for between 9 and 20 years.