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Gustave Bémont and the “doom” of radium-workers

MARCO FONTANI
Università degli Studi di Firenze, department of Chemistry “Hugo Schiff”, Via della Lastruccia, 13, Sesto F.no Firenze, 50019, Italy

Abstract

While in Germany the government was planningto completely phase out nuclear power by 2021, Italy– after banning it for two decades – on February 24th2009 became the latest EU country to embark on anew wave of nuclear energy development. PrimeMinister Silvio Berlusconi (b. 1936) and French PresidentNicolas Sarkozy (b. 1955) signed an agreement to buildat least four new nuclear plants in Italy, the intentionbeing to have the first one in operation by 2021.For some people “nuclear energy” would represent adream but for others a nightmare. In these challengingtimes where all industrialised countries are looking for newenergy sources, nuclear power – which has over a halfcentury of history – is coming back into the limelight. Inthis context it is worth refreshing our memory by recallingsome figures in the field of the radiochemistry; personageswho, with their discoveries, have opened the way for theexploitation of the atom and for unfathomable reasonshave fallen totally into oblivion. One of them bears thename of Gustave Bémont.


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