fallout

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fallout, minute particles of radioactive material produced by nuclear explosions (see atomic bomb; hydrogen bomb; Chernobyl) or by discharge from nuclear-power or atomic installations and scattered throughout the earth's atmosphere by winds and convection currents. Heavier fallout particles tend to settle to earth around the explosion site and downwind from it soon after the explosion. Lighter particles may stay in the atmosphere for years. Radioactive decay products in fallout include strontium-90, potassium-40, carbon-14, and iodine-131. They may contaminate food supplies if taken up by plants and animals or contaminate water supplies by falling into streams. If they accumulate in the human body, they can form concentrated internal sources of dangerous radiation. Fallout may thus be a cause of leukemia, bone cancer, and other diseases. It can also cause genetic damage.

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Fallout ★★½ 2001

It is horribly ironic that filmmaker Palumbo chose to film the introduction to his independent feature on top of one of the World Trade Center towers. His film concerns the interplay among four high-rise office workers who flee a disaster of uncertain origin and find themselves trapped in a basement fallout shelter. His story really has nothing to do with the 9/11/01 atrocities. It's a well-made character study that attempts to work with some serious ideas within the limitations of a modest budget. It's mostly successful, too, and certainly doesn't need any extra baggage. Parallels to reality are difficult to ignore, however. 88m/C DVD . Claire Beckman, Mark Deakins, Keith Randolph Smith, David Wasson; D: Robert Palumbo; W: Robert Palumbo, Mark Gallini; C: Wolfgang Held; M: Frank Ferrucci.

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fall·out / ˈfôlˌout/ • n. radioactive particles that are carried into the atmosphere after a nuclear explosion or accident and gradually fall back as dust or in precipitation. ∎ fig. the adverse side effects or results of a situation: the growing political fallout. ∎  airborne substances resulting from an industrial process or accident: acid fallout from power stations.