How many areas of this planet are now no-go zones?

As if from a science-fiction movie, which are the areas of Planet Earth that are so contaminated that humans cannot and will not set foot there? Chernobyl springs to mind. How big is this area? Fukushima as well. Bomb test areas? Many mined areas after wars have disappeared… Cambodia, Afghanistan… Unexploded munitions? I sometimes feel that we as a race are painting ourselves into a corner.

What about radioactive zones and abandoned mine towns?

You mention them in the same sentence as if they’re remotely the same thing.

Most abandoned mine towns are just, well, abandoned: They were founded when a mine was economically viable, and they collapsed when the mine ceased to be economically viable. The classic ghost town is the remnants of a single-input economy founded on some extractive industry which is now no longer capable of supporting a viable population center. It isn’t contaminated, it just got too poor to be a town any longer, and nobody’s paid to tear down the buildings yet.

(Of course, some few ghost towns become tourist attractions, which is trading one single-input economy for another but, hey, they’re still making new tourists.)

In fact, one of the most polluted former mining towns I can think of is Butte, America… er, Butte, Montana, once home to the Richest Hill on Earth, which killed Irishmen, now home to the Berkeley Pit, which kills geese. Butte is not a ghost town. It isn’t the most economically healthy place on Earth, but it has a population of over 33,000. The other most polluted mining town I can think of offhand is Libby, Montana, mother of a thousand Mesothelioma commercials, which is also not a ghost town.

Anyway, my point: Most abandoned mine towns are not no-go zones. They’re just no-job zones.

According to Donald Trump, there are areas of London that are no-go. :smack:

WRT mining towns, there is Centralia, PA, which isn’t no-go as in too dangerous to even enter, but is too dangerous to live in.

“The UN has estimated that 100 million landmines are planted in the world right now,…”

There has recently been a sustained attempt to speak of the remarkable regeneration of Chernobyl and it’s happy Disneylike wildlife, and absence of three-headed fauna; and the remarkable safety — leading to the inescapable conclusion that it was no big deal and that nuclear accidents are petty affairs blown wildly out of proportion by professional alarmists with a sinister agenda ( to destroy science/the free market/prosperity/humankind/whatever ).
Despite this there is yet no planning to move the headquarters of The World Nuclear Association to sunny Chernobyl.
Therefore the next best thing will be for ordinary nuclear advocates everywhere to make a statement showing they are as mad as Hell by moving en masse to Hanford Site in Washington State: to occupy it, clean it up with their bare hands, build towns and farms to till the good earth, after which they will dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.

Ohhhhhhh — kay then.

Fully designated - you may die if your enter - zones?

The biggest contributors are probably firing ranges that tend to be peppered with unexploded ordnance. Every country seems to have a few.

But by land area total one would expect that landmines win.

OTOH, here in South Australia we have probably the worlds largest prohibited area. (127,000 kilometres[sup]2[/sup] = 49,000 miles[sup]2[/sup]) Woomera and within it Maralinga. Woomera is a large missile test range, and considered dangerous to enter - but is restricted for all sorts of reasons. Maralinga was the site of most of the UK’s atomic bomb tests. Not only did they explode 7 atomic bombs, they also blew them up. Which isn’t the same thing. They blew up atomic weapons with conventional explosives to test what would happen. And tested deliberate dispersal of uranium with explosives. There were hundreds of tests. The desert was covered in fine uranium and plutonium dust. Whilst the UK did come and clean it up a few decades later, it probably still isn’t really safe.

The area is being opened up for minerals exploration, and is attracting quite a bit of interest. It is near Olympic Dam, which is one of the worlds largest copper and uranium mines.

Isn’t there an island off Scotland that was used as a test for anthrax bombs? It was purposely contaminated with anthrax spores in 1943…you still cannot go there. And, just a short ways away, in Waltham, MA. , there is a fenced off lot where radium paint (used for luminescent dials in WWII aircraft) was disposed of…it is still contaminated.:eek:

And if a mined-out mining town is really lucky, they’ll strike it rich on neutrinos.

Then there are some exceptions to your general rule:
Pincher Oklahoma


Tiny, but deadly. That old loon Churchill wanted to snowflake Germany with the stuff.

Apart from being disgusting, I doubt it would have thrilled France, Denmark, Italy and any other adjacent country we temporarily designated ‘Friend’.
“Pals, partner; pals until Hell freezes over with Anthrax Spores…”

Give or take 3000 miles. :smiley:

Moderator Note

Let’s keep the political jabs out of GQ, please.

Moderator Note

Let’s keep this type of political stuff out of GQ as well, please.

Besides, if everyone moved to Hanford, then there’d be all sorts of new noise sources for LIGO (for a gravitational wave detector, everything is a noise source).

I think the OP is somewhat ill informed. Very few areas of Cambodia are still no go areas and Chernobyl you can safely stay for 24 hours everywhere except maybe within 100 meters of the elephants foot / reactor core.

The total amount of the planet we have made no go areas is 0.0001 percent or so. We are in no way close to painting our selves into a corner.

Physicist A: There is again damnit!

Physicist B: What?

A. That damn signal

B. What signal?

A. You know the one that Physicist C worked on.

B. The one best modeled by a 100 kg source oscillating with a period of 1.5 seconds with a 6 inch peak to valley amplitude and a duration of 10 minutes?

A. Yes!!! It’s driving me crazy. With all this new noise were are never going to detect anything interesting.

B. I agree, it is a problem…I just wonder what the fuck it is…

A. I have no idea either.

B. I hear that new PHD Sally Boson might like to go out with you.

A. Why would I do that? She hasn’t even published yet…

I can’t think of a single place on Earth, aside from maybe inside an active volcano or wading into a lava flow, that is completely inaccessible for even brief periods. There are lots of places that would be unsafe to stay in unprotected for long periods, but you can go to them and come out alive.

According to the wiki entry that Claverhouse posted, the island was decontaminated in the late 1980s, repurchased by the original owner in 1990, and has been declare open ever since.

So I guess we can reduce that 0.0001% no-go land area figure a bit more…