The Most Radioactive Places on Earth


The Most Radioactive Places on Earth

Radiation is frightening. At least, certain
types of it are. I mean my Geiger counter doesn’t go off near my mobile phone, or the
Wi-Fi router or my microwave. That’s because a Geiger counter only measures ionizing radiation
— that is, radiation with enough energy to rip electrons off atoms. And it’s measured
in units called sieverts. If you’re exposed to more than two sieverts all at once you’ll
probably die shortly after that. But we’re exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation
all the time. Bananas for example are rich in potassium and some of that potassium is
naturally radioactive. So when you eat a banana you’re actually exposed to about 0.1 microsieverts
of radiation. That’s one ten millionth of a sievert. Let’s use a banana for scale
of radiation doses. You know, since people eat bananas we become radioactive too. So
you’re actually exposed to more radiation if you sleep next to someone than if you sleep
alone. But I wouldn’t worry about that because that dose is insignificant compared to the
natural background radiation of earth. I mean there’s ionizing radiation coming out of
the soil in the rocks, in the air, and even from space. The level of radiation here in
Sydney is about .15 microsieverts per hour, and that’s about average globally. The level’s
usually between .1 and .2 microsieverts per hour. But there are places with significantly
higher levels. So who on earth do you think receives the maximum dose of ionizing radiation?
Let’s answer that question by going to the most radioactive places on earth. Some places
you’d expect to have high levels of radiation might surprise you. I’m in Hiroshima and
that is the Peace Dome. It was about 600 meters above that dome where the worlds first nuclear
bomb was detonated over a city. It was detonated there to have maximum destructive impact.
Well the level of radiation today almost 70 years later is only 0.3 microsieverts per
hour. I’m about to get into an elevator. We’re going down in a mineshaft. This is an old
uranium mine. This is the mine where uranium was discovered. It’s also the place where
Marie Curie obtained her raw material. 1.7 microsieverts per hour. That’s about 10 times
the natural background that you would have. Nowadays most of the uranium has been removed.
But in this wall there’s still a small piece and you can see under UV light it floresces.
Look at that. Fluorescent uranium ore. This is the lab of Marie Curie. She won two Nobel
prizes, one in physics and one in chemistry. And she conducted a lot of her work here.
And this is her office. She would have sat right there. Apparently there are only a few
parts of this area which are still radioactive. One is this doorknob. Well it climbs not not
much but — But that’s like 10 times the background. Yeah. More than 10. And another
is the back of her chair. You can still detect alpha particles coming off this spot right
here. Apparently after she was working in the lab she would come, oopen the door leaving
traces of radium here and then go and pull out her chair. Welcome to New Mexico. This
is the Trinity bomb test site where the world’s first nuclear bomb was set off. Right here.
Right in the spot. This whole area was vaporized. In fact, there was so much heat liberated
by that bomb that it fused all of the desert sand into this green glass. And you can still
find it here. They’ve actually named this mineral after the test. It’s called Trinitite.
Yeah. This is the only place on earth that this has ever been made. The level of radiation
here is about 0.8 microsieverts an hour. The Trinitite itself is a little bit more radioactive.
I got readings of two or three microsieverts an hour off them. Now which place has higher
levels of radiation then anywhere we’ve seen so far? The answer is an airplane. You know,
as you gain altitude there’s less atmosphere above you to shield you from cosmic rays.
So the level of radiation inside the plane can go up to 0.5 microsieverts per hour at
18,000 feet, up to one microsievert per hour at 23,000 feet, over two microsieverts per
hour at 30,000 feet, and over three microsieverts per hour at even higher altitudes and towards
the poles. That is Chernobyl nuclear reactor number four. It melted down on April 26, 1986.
So, what happened was so much heat was generated inside that reactor that it basically blew
the top off spreading radioactive isotopes throughout this whole surrounding area and
over into Europe. And that is why we can still detect the contamination here today. Now,
right now it’s reading around five microsieverts an hour. If I stayed here for one hour my
body would receive a similar dose to what you’d receive when you get a dental x-ray.
So this is not a huge amount of radiation. And one of the reasons why the radiation level
is not too high is because they actually removed a couple meters worth of topsoil from this
whole area, then they dumped it somewhere. That’s why we can stand here. We’re driving
into the Fukushima exclusion zone now. I’m just watching as the levels on my Geiger counter
go up as we approach the zone. See those black bags at the side of the road? The Japanese
are doing now exactly what the people in Chernobyl did, collecting up meters and meters of topsoil.
The mask is probably overkill. It’s just to stop radioactive dust from getting into my
lungs. This is definitely one of the most radioactive places where I’ve been. Even though
the release of radioactive material was less than Chernobyl, only about 10%, because it’s
much fresher—only three years since the accident— much less of it has decayed. So
I’ve been getting readings up around 5 to 10 microsieverts an hour. And I think we won’t
be staying here for too long because of that. I’m about to go into the hospital at Pripyat.
And this is where the firemen were taken after they fought the fires at the Chernobyl reactor.
And in the basement of this building they have left all the firemen’s clothing. Once
they realize it was so contaminated they chucked it down there. (Inaudible) But you can see
there’s a huge pile of their gear there. Right outside the door I’m getting 500 microsieverts
an hour just outside the door. One thousand five hundred microsieverts an hour. You know
if we stayed here for a couple hours we’d receive our annual dose of background radiation.
That basement was the most radioactive place I visited and it’s one of the most radioactive
places on earth. If I’d stayed down there for one hour I would’ve received 2000 microsieverts.
That’s a years worth of natural background radiation. Every yellow pixel here represents
a banana. Now that might seem like a lot, but consider that in a CT scan the patient
receives about 7000 microsieverts. That’s three years worth of natural backround radiation.
It’s been estimated that the people living around Fukushima will receive an additional
10,000 microsieverts over their lifetime due to the nuclear power disaster. For comparison
US radiation workers are limited to a maximum of 50,000 microsieverts per year. But that’s
less than another occupation. Astronaut. An astronaut on the space station for six months
will receive about 80,000 microsieverts worth of radiation. But not even they are exposed
to the highest levels of ionizing radiation. So can you guess who is? The answer is a smoker’s
lungs. A smoker’s lungs on average receive 160,000 microsieverts worth of radiation every
year. That’s due to the radioactive polonium and radioactive lead in the tobacco that they’re
smoking. So not only are they exposed to carcinogens and toxins they also receive very high levels
of radiation. So it’s not the people of Fukushima or Chernobyl or radiation workers or even
astronauts that receive the highest dosage of ionizing radiation. That honor goes to
your ordinary average smoker. Hey. As you can see over the last few months I’ve been
traveling around the world actually filming a documentary for television. It should be
on in the middle of next year. But being in places like Chernobyl and Fukushima reminded
me of this book The Day of the Triffids and it’s about a post-apocalyptic world in which
plants take over. I know it sounds like a crazy idea but it’s actually a brilliant book
so you should really check it out if you’re looking for something to do over the holidays.
Now you can download this book for free by going to or you can
pick any other book of your choosing for a one month free trial. Audible is a great audiobook
website with over 150,000 titles in all areas of literature including fiction, nonfiction,
and periodicals. So I really want to thank audible for supporting me and I want to thank
you for watching.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

100 thoughts on “The Most Radioactive Places on Earth”

  1. Andy Draws ;P says:

    Before video: I better see Chernobyl here or else I'm unsubscribing.
    After: Good! You've kept a sub and earned my trust!

  2. evhvariac2 says:

    3:12 uranium or what?

  3. Erhembayar Lkhagvasuren says:

    Then if you eat 20 million bananas, will you die?

  4. Mighty Monty says:

    Welp these cool little geiger tamagotchis start at 2000 Dollars so i guess ill just die then

  5. extrasupermorgen says:

    The Most Radioactive Places on Earth – Islamic Basement in Berlin!

  6. Sassafras Official says:

    He gonna get a cancer now

  7. YourFriendlyNeighborhoodDeadpool says:

    Elephant's foot…

  8. HS says:

    Japanese government must stop hiding the truth about the radioactive contamination. IOC must change the hosting country of 2020 Games.

  9. floppypretzal Flopps says:

    Imagine if Neil Armstrong loved bananas and smoking

  10. Lerato Ledwaba says:


  11. Maverick X says:

    What about an astronaut who smokes?

  12. magiqauck official says:


  13. M K says:

    Ha you sir a 9gagger

  14. Karl Tubbert says:

    Chernobyl was very sad

  15. Daniel Youngblood says:

    I'm sitting here, smoking nukes. Da fuq!

  16. JEREMY.H AHN says:

    Hey man, Check the Fukusima, japan…

  17. Miran says:

    Well, I need to stop smoking… 😕

  18. hylas philos says:

    really? my grandma smoked 2 packs/day every day since she was 18, but she lived healthy and passed away when she was 109(no cancel but due to other). what can i say about it.

  19. Grant Kidd says:

    You went to prip'yat' hospital? Why?

  20. 아베말이야 says:

    In 2020 in Tokyo,
    according to the Japanese government, the host will serve all atheletes Fukushima radioactive contaminated foods, which are at least over 500bac!
    How Hell!

  21. Lucy moon says:

    The population of Japan is 12.77 million, down 430,000 from the previous year.
    Population Reduction
    expected to accelerate even more due to Fukushima ..

  22. Squidward Tortellini says:

    "one of the reasons why the radiation level is not too high…"
    Starts beeping intensely

  23. 김우성 says:

    Full of lies. Take down the videos, hypocrites. The most radioactive place on earth is not in ukraine but in japan.

  24. xxx100372 says:

    Hi, can you give me an answer? I saw videos made by Sergey Koshelev, two years after the disaster, inside the plant, precisely inside the reactor number 4 and near the famous elephant's foot. It is said that this place is the most radioactive place in the world, how is it possible that some people could have gone there? they should be dead almost instantly.

    thanks for reply

  25. Aoshi Kearun says:

    As far as I know, the presence of polonium-210/lead-210 in tobacco leaves is connected to some fertilizers, not the plant nor atmosphere itself. So it is safe to say you can drastically reduce damage and contamination if you roll your own cigarettes from a trusty tobacco provider with NO fertilizers. Also you might be eating the same polonium since high-phosphate fertilizers are used (and being turned legal) in most of the countries with crop-based economies.

  26. TrX x says:

    So bananas are basically making this earth more radioactive. DESTROY THEM

  27. Aritally says:

    This is a safe area

    Counter beeps

  28. Andrea Sculthorp says:

    can I eat 20,000,000 bananas in one day? would it be possible? someone please do the math

  29. DatFunniestChannel says:

    I planted a banana in the earth

  30. Eda P says:

    Small amount of a rad repairs your cellls … Kills the bad ones…

  31. Sheshank Narayan says:

    It's not 3 roentgen, it's 15000!!!

  32. Imperium Europa says:

    Radiation is a hoax. Nukes don't exist. I have actually ate plutonium. The earth is also flat. Wake the hell up you sheeple.

  33. DubGod GT says:

    "im here in hirashma"

    that pissed me off

  34. Forest9924 says:

    Literally blew my mind

  35. Mab The Leopard Gecko says:


  36. Odychatz2003 says:

    The real question is : how many microsieverts has a fukushima resident received if he has worked at a new clear power plant, is a smoker and is having a chest x-ray in a space station right now?
    Edit: He also loves eating bananas.

  37. Kevin N Weinhold says:

    Put the facts together. So you said the radiation near Fukushima is higher than near Chernobyl, even though the Fukushima release was 10%. So, we have the facts about the radiation levels near these sights, and then we have the official report about how much was released…so which one are you going to trust? The physical test or the claimed release amount?

  38. Yavor Kotsev says:

    This with the smokers is good to know

  39. Matthew Ryan Noyes says:

    What do you mean Derek just drove out on White Sands Missle Range in a red convertible to the Trinity Site?? Who's car is that, and who let me drive it right up to the monument?? xD

  40. shadoe LARSSON says:

    I was living in chernobyl

  41. Azriel Jale says:

    Thats alotta bananas

  42. Azriel Jale says:

    I smoke 5 trillion bananas a year lol

  43. Lance Kinny says:

    And we still can’t make Chernobyl area habitable again? Can anyone explain why?

  44. Tushar Kashyap says:

    Thanq just lit a cigarette due to tension

  45. Kate Sunday says:

    That's rather scary. Polonium 210 is in tobacco products from fertilisers sprayed on the leaves of the crop. What else do they spray this stuff on?????

  46. JohnJaggerJack says:

    Wait, you mean to tell me banana industry's workers are exposed to high levels of radiation every hour? Does the UN knows about that?!

  47. P W says:

    Whoever survives after, will have a stronger immunity to radiation.

  48. William Neale says:

    chernobyl reactor 4 categorically did not suffer a meltdown, reactor number 4 exploded in a fashion seen never before and never since on earth due to the extremely unique circumstances created

  49. Pixel Head123 Channel says:

    Just saying but chernobyl didn't melt down it blew up. It triggers me for some reason when someone says it melt down. Plz don't hate me. 😅

  50. Thought Criminal says:

    But you didn't measure the Elephant's foot.

  51. ButterH2 says:

    nuka cola dark rum

  52. daza104 says:

    So ironic, because when I binge watched Chernobyl, it made me want to take a smoke break every 5 minutes. Worse than Mad Men!

  53. howoobi says:

    Why Japan choose this radiosctive polluted Fukushima regions as Olympic games sites and foods for 2020 Olympic players.
    Many Olympic players are more important than Japanese abe's political propaganda.
    Japan should choose other safety region for Olympic game sites and foods or Japan will be confronted boycotts of 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.

  54. Leah Segura says:

    Whoa!!!!! The smoker’s lungs

  55. Waail Elchami says:

    I went to that university on an excursion not joking

  56. Mark wahlberg says:

    Tokyo olympic is very dangerous to players and visitors
    According to Japanese governments said they have plan to serve foods for the players which came from Fukushima!! in 2020 Tokyo olympic games
    Japanese governments hiding everything about Fukushima
    They put radioactive waste at elementary school, middile school, high school grounds
    I was really shocked by the news when i heard about this today!!!
    They killed their own Japanese peoples even kids as well
    Even they put radioactive waste at fukushima houses yards
    I.O.C must change host nation or stop here right now!!!

  57. S K G says:

    Bananas are deadly

  58. joowahn says:

    I bit a radioactive banana. I am the one and only…. bananaman.

  59. joowahn says:

    so then, can you get cancer from standing in 10,000,000 bananas?

  60. Follow Me To says:

    Marie Curie din't get the first nobel for "her" work. It was for her HUSBAND's work, the real genius behind the discoveries. Actually, Marie Curie was one of the technicians paid by MISTER CURIE to mount the experiments that HE would project.

  61. George Armstrong Custer says:

    The boot in the beginning was worn by a firefighter who went into the open core to put out the fire.

  62. Sergej Nadaždin says:

    FIY: banana storage units are as radioactive as Chernobyl.

  63. - Runner'shigh says:

    The olympic games are not the events to prove Japan is recovered. Why sholud we play in the radioactive place & eat the unsafe food from Fukushima?  We know well you don't like to have the food for yourself. Be honest, Japanese.

  64. dragosanie says:

    I am so happy to have watched this. I have finally quit smoking thanks to your video. Thank you Derek.

  65. FrogMaster 19 says:

    2:08 He really said Hi-ro-sh-ma

  66. Angelsloveu2 says:

    Cigarettes is such a bad addiction. All this info on it, at least people should know not to start. Thanks for the video, it was very interesting.

  67. Ammper says:

    8:32 bionerd voise

  68. Ryan Tahlilkar says:

    I don’t understand sieverts, I only understand roentgens

  69. Topman 33 says:

    And they smoked 60 a day after the Ukrainian explosion , even the miners did and only 100 of them lived until aged 40 , the other 200 lived beyond 40 lol

  70. Shazia Mahmood says:

    Banana are radioactive

  71. pokerF Gaming says:

    You didn't tried kailash parvat in india, even this place is a radioactive place

  72. 이상운 says:

    I wathed that Chernobyl is better than Fukushima
    Japan must stop to use olimpic to hide dangers.
    Athletes are not maruta who were killed by Japanese soldiers and be used for live medical stuffs.
    We must remember pearl harbor.

  73. lkj526 says:

    Tokyo Radioactive Biological experiment 2020 Olympic

  74. 2DX Y.H says:


  75. Asma Alsuwaidi says:

    Plot twist

  76. Lauren S says:

    If u eat 2 bananas u die

  77. Low Class Edumekation says:

    7:07 – OMG!! I thought that was a nuka-cola machine…..


    Uhh banana i love you.

  79. Thomas Kerpe says:

    If you eat 20.000.000 Bananas you probably die of radiation…

  80. Santiago Rocha says:

    And Goiânia/Goiás Brazil?

  81. Chris Busenkell says:

    i love your show, need a side kick? i won't eat any bananas and you can carry all the radioactive stuff and i'll carry the radiation detector. i don't answer phones.

  82. Leong Yin Yee says:

    My mom forbid me to eat banana after watching your video :((((((

  83. Gar Wood says:

    This guy is totally full of sh_t. Probably an AI. They don't just let you into that place easy with cameras I've been there. 0.05 mR/hr is about 168 counts per minute. In Japan the decades of spent fuel blew out of the buildings by the millions of pounds and the cores melted into the water table. I have been doing gamma spectrometer testing. Rain has tested as high as over 10,000 counts per minute per liter of cesium-137. In Michigan. Now I want to hear from the dummy dopes that want to argue with me.

  84. TV죠 says:

    The Most Radioactive Places on Earth
    : Fukushima

  85. rblibit says:

    They didn't let you go to the most radioactive places on Earth or you would be dead. Ask if you can stand ANYWHERE on the street that runs in front of the 4 reactor buildings inside the Fukushima Daiichi complex. Let me how how it goes.

  86. Hanan Peled says:

    I have a question.
    According to
    "The alpha-radioactive polonium 210 (Po-210) is one of the most powerful carcinogenic agents of tobacco smoke and is responsible for the histotype shift of lung cancer from squamous cell type to adenocarcinoma. According to several studies, the principal source of Po-210 is the fertilizers used in tobacco plants, which are rich in polyphosphates containing radio (Ra-226) and its decay products, lead 210 (Pb-210) and Po-210."

    Does that mean smoking tobacco without artificial fertilizers (e.g. organic) neutralizes the exposure?

  87. Darkened Shadow says:

    If the taco bell bathroom isn't here, then you have to redo this entire video

  88. Suta Pinatih says:

    Best anti-smoking campaign ever!

  89. Vivek Mahalingam says:

    I'm gonna gave up cigarettes after watching this.

  90. Jeremy Tan says:

    Are you telling me that if Mario just gave Donkey Kong 20 million bananas… :/

  91. tilemacro says:

    I hope he does a video about the most Toxic place on earth.

    Cant wait till he finds out about League of legends.

  92. Hoàng Huy says:

    At 7:05, does this costume really works? At school, they taught me that radioaction goes through clothes.

  93. BiG_gAy_OoF bering says:

    takes mask off
    "the mask is a little bit over kill"
    "but its to prevent radioactive dust from getting into my lungs"
    S N I F F

  94. steve dentt says:

    we contaminate the planet so bad it shows up in our crops… tobacco….But hey….its the smokers fault for smoking….lol…not a smoker…but i dont wanna see them suffer either….Never find out whats in COFFEE BEANS….powderpuffs…lol

  95. sonu says:

    Its all about banana🍌😁😂

  96. misb lamp says:

    when I'm full, I dont even care for a banana,
    But I'm hungry now and the banana is tempting me. It has suddenly become delicious.

  97. Olga Maria Borowska says:

    The most radioactive place on Earth? The elefant foot inside the Chernobyl reactor. 🐘☢

  98. Gabriel Lopes says:

    DAMN that twist at the end.

  99. 김용훈 says:

    ??? Why find far like it ?? You can enjoy 2020 Tokyo Olympics and this experience is free ~.~

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *