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Nuclear Pollution | Meaning, Causes, Effects & Prevention

Radioactive compounds are either distributed across the food chain when released into the atmosphere or are accumulated in living organisms. Other than radioisotopes that normally occur, human activity produces large quantities like the construction of nuclear power plants, the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and atomic bomb testing. Any adverse impact caused by radioactive contaminants or radiation to the atmosphere is called nuclear contamination. Nuclear power plants are without a doubt are the main source of causing pollution. This kind of emissions can also be caused by radiation emission. It affects almost all related life forms. No one is spared from planktons to human beings. To be more precise, the radiation may cause cancer-causing mutations, and the radiation exposure or contamination level determines lethality, or how deadly it is.

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Causes of nuclear pollution

1. Nuclear attacks

During the Second World War, the use of nuclear weapons and atomic bombs, a form of nuclear energy, shows not just the cause but also the harmful effects of radioactive waste and contamination.

The consequences of those two attacks that caused the end of the war in 1945 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been seen to date with children born with disabilities such as mental retardation, as well as disorders such as autism and other illness. The number of cases of cancer in both cities is greater than in the rest of Japan.

Nuclear Pollution

2. Weapon testing

Aspects concerning pollution are particularly relevant when choosing between fossils Fuels and fission to the breeder. Fossil fuel combustion discharges sulphur dioxide and fine particles into the atmosphere, with detrimental effects on safety and convenience. Breeder reactor activity can result in three types of pollution problems.

 The least extreme is the daily release of gases from the power plant such as tritium and krypton and fuel reactor facilities. Such gases combust quickly and are similar in this way to the air emissions associated with fossil fuel power plants. The discovery of long-lived radioactive isotopes such as plutonium 239 is a more severe issue that has a life of 24,000 years and iodine that has a life of 17, 000000 years. Another big problem is the disposal of nuclear materials which cannot be reused. The great problem is, of course, the catastrophic that can happen after losing the control of a power plant. A real-life example of such an event is Chernobyl.

The atmospheric layer called the stratosphere is that of testing the weapons causing explosions. The radiation-emitting material exploded then fell down to earth. Our atmosphere absorbs most of the radiation. But some of it enters the earth falling on areas far removed from the site where the weapon was originally released. The name is Fallout. They join the food chain as certain particles fall on the soil and are eaten by animals. As debris occurs over the water, the aquatic environment is compromised and enters the food chain again.

3. Nuclear disasters

The most prominent of these was Russia’s 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Catastrophe. The effects of this incident have been felt over three nations-Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. The area around the reactor is already contaminated and is not suitable for housing or agriculture.

The more recent incident was the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daichii on 11 March 2011. A tsunami-followed earthquake caused significant damage to the primary facilities and supplementary generators. Inadequate planning to deal with an accident of this magnitude has also been a factor contributing to explosions of hydrogen and the leakage of radioactive material into groundwater.

4. Radioisotopes

Radioisotopes are used in the manufacturing of detectors and in other industries. Isotopes like uranium have heavy radiation concentrations in them. Conversely, natural isotopes such as carbon-containing radioactive particles are easily detected via sewage lines in rivers.

Since most of the toxic sludge is untreated before disposal, the isotope mixes with other compounds and elements found in water once released. It is the same water people are employing for home use. Fishes often use the same habitat for protection. Consumption of these fishes and from sources of polluted water requires possible radiation consumption.

Radiation has been shown to have a lot of fascinating properties, prompting a lot of scientists to perform experiments to know more. It is one of the essential elements of cancer cure and diagnosis. Chemotherapy, a cancer curative treatment program, uses radiation to stop the cancer cells from developing more and to keep the immune function healthy. Despite this, scientists were exposed to ionizing radiation which resulted in their deaths or other abnormalities. According to the United Nations general assembly report in 2000, nuclear research is the primary cause of human exposure to man-made radioactivity.

5. Nuclear Waste disposal

The three categories of nuclear waste-high level, low amount, and transuranic. These consist mainly of nuclear weapons waste, nuclear plant cleaning materials, military installations, plutonium production released, and other hospital and laboratory radioisotopes.

 The treatment and disposal of nuclear waste over a long period of time will yield low to medium radiation. Not only are their results difficult to predict but they cannot be clearly distinguished as the radioactivity can also pollute and spread through the air, water, and soil. In fact, it is not easy to classify locations of any radioactive waste. The key concern is that the waste from radiation cannot be chemically or biologically destroyed or processed. The only choices are either to contain or dilute the waste storage in fully shut containers that are coated with plutonium-protective materials (such as Pb).

It can also be found in remote areas with little to no life such as isolated caves to abandoned salt mines by storage. But whatever shields are used, natural or artificial, that get weakened over time. In fact, waste management activities may not have used appropriate steps to remove the radiation in the past. These areas, therefore, need to be carefully defined, and restrictions placed swiftly.

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Effects of nuclear pollution

With so many causes of nuclear pollution, there are adverse effects of them as well. These effects can be seen evidently in every organism. Either it is bacteria, plants, or human beings. No one is spared from the adversity of nuclear pollution.

Radiation sickness is quite common. One feels the fatigue and vomiting and loss of appetite. There is a different level of doses that have various effects. At around 600 rems loss of hair and immunity can be experienced. Radiation can change the structure of cells and genes and structure of multiplying cells of the body of different organisms like lymphoid, intestines, and embryo.

If someone is exposed to the radiations from distance, he or she may not show symptoms immediately. However, they have the tendency of developing cancer or cell mutation. These cell mutations can be easily transferred to the next generation which we had seen in Japan and Chernobyl.

On average, a person is exposed to the radiation of 180 millirem concentration. This is calculated in one year from various exposures like natural radiations, medical and dental x-rays, airport baggage x-rays, and color TVs.

The dissipation of radiation in the atmosphere does not happen spontaneously. It tends to remain in the environment for quite some time. Most of the water sources will be affected. Therefore, it can estimated take years to eliminate the radiation from the environment to make it completely habitable. Foetuses are affected with cancers and birth defects. Their life span is short as well.

Prevention

Take a protective gear while going through the procedure of x-rays or radiation therapy. It also includes the pregnant woman. As a common person, one should be aware of the dangers of nuclear pollution. Employees Working in the facility of nuclear exposures should check their radioactive levels continuously.

Make sure the authorities are prepared to manage all cases, such as controlling the waste, in case of a disaster, to arrange an evacuation. When employed at a radiation facility or in nuclear plant staff, the amount of radiation that they were exposed to is often controlled. Radioactive waste is still to a large degree recyclable as usable fuel is already being generated in the waste material which can be reprocessed afterward.

Governments allow work into finding effective methods of disposing of nuclear waste. The most viable option now seems to be deep underground garbage storage. Nuclear energy is a clean, affordable, and extensive source of energy too. A significant amount of energy can be produced with a small amount of fuel. While past mishaps and misuse of this energy have occurred, there is still tremendous potential for it. Every well-intentioned initiative must be accompanied by solid analysis, a well-designed strategy, and adequate measures to back up every failure. Health and people’s health will always come first.

Conclusion

The most cost-effective technique is to tackle the security, economic and most importantly environmental risks of new nuclear power plants is to internalize the costs of preventing or minimizing such risks in the energy and fuel market price.

This can be achieved so efficiently by first controlling both carbon dioxide emissions and the specific risks raised by the nuclear fuel cycle, and then enabling the market’s “invisible hand” to offer the lowest-cost energy infrastructure technologies that meet minimum universal requirements for environmental efficiency, public health, and energy.