This one should go viral (any help out there?) to those newsmedia types out there who seem to need a little help explaining what is going on in Japan with those nuclear reactors.

The key phrase here is “radioisotope emissions,” or “emission of radioisotopes.” Here’s a succinct definition of radioisotopes:

materials that produce radiation.

That’s what’s coming out of these reactors. Radioactive chemicals.

Saying that radiation is coming out of these reactors is more or less correct, and that is what I keep hearing on the news. But it is very easy to help people understand why radiation is being detected in milk, for example, by connecting the dots with this succinct terminology. Referring to “emission of radioisotopes” says a mouthful about what’s going on here.


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