Watch One Man Travel to the World’s Most Radioactive Places

Radiation is everywhere, but not always where you expect it. As Derek Muller, host of YouTube's Veritasium science channel, explains, it's all a matter of scale. To prove this point Muller sets off with a Geiger counter to measure the world's most notable nuclear sites, including Hiroshima, Marie Curie's lab, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.

Mj 390_294_the 10 most dangerous hikes in the u s

RELATED: The 10 Most Dangerous Hikes in the U.S.

Read article

"It's not an all or nothing thing, we are constantly exposed," says Muller. "I wanted to let people know that their surroundings are radioactive, the soil, the air, food like bananas and Brazil nuts. We are radioactive."

Bananas and Brazil nuts, by the way, are packed with potassium, an element that naturally carries a very small portion of unstable, radioactive isotopes.

Mj 390_294_10 forbidden adventures

RELATED: 10 Forbidden Adventures

Read article

Many of the world's most infamous sites proved to be far more benign than you'd guess. Standing under the detonation point of the Hiroshima atomic bomb proves particularly unimpressive. An hour in town is the radioactive equivalent of eating three bananas. In the interest of scale, you'd need to eat 20 million bananas in an hour to receive a potentially fatal dose of radiation.

Even near Chernobyl, no big alarms went off, especially in most buildings. "I think you could live there happily without any significant health consequences as long as you were careful about where you visited," says Muller of his Chernobyl stop. 

Despite this understanding, Muller was still anxious about approaching the world's most radioactive spots. "I had to keep reminding myself that in a plane you're exposed to roughly 15 times the natural background radiation for good chunks of time and most people aren't even aware of it. 

The most radioactive spot of Muller's travel was inside the Pripyat hospital near Chernobyl. The now-abandoned complex of buildings treated firefighters who responded to the 1986 nuclear meltdown. In particular, a basement at Pripyat was littered with the abandoned, highly-contaminated gear and clothing from the firefighters. There, the radiation levels maxed out Muller's Geiger counter. 

The YouTube video, filmed on Muller's handheld DSLR, was shot while he was working on a bigger documentary on radioactive sites. It's slated for release mid-2015 and, he adds, is shot on much nicer cameras.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!