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    Health risks of exposure to nuclear radiation

    New Delhi: A daughter separated from her family. After being exposed to radiation. Such heartbreaking images could become common very soon.

    This is not an atomic explosion. Just hydrogen, steam and flying concrete. But this plume did have radioactive particles in it.

    SP Lochab, Nuclear Scientist, Inter University Accelerator Centre said, "Cesium 137 and Iodine 131, are the byproducts of a fission reaction. Iodine 131 gets concentrated in the Thyroid gland and causes thyroid cancer."

    Cesium 137 not only causes cancer in adults but genetic defects, even mental retardation in babies.

    The first symptoms in people exposed to radiation are nausea, vomitting and diarrhoea. They start within minutes of exposure and can last for days together. Severe radiation makes people lose appetite. There's fatigue, fever, possibly even seizures and coma.

    Back in India, scary SMS messages circulating in many cities warn of wind and rain that could carry radiation from Japan to India. But the met department says there's no need to fear.

    Ajit Tyagi, Director General, Indian Meteorological Department said, "The westerly winds blow from Japan towards the Pacific Ocean and further to the US. There's very little chance that they can travel to India."