What is radioactive pollution?
Radioactive pollution is defined as the physical pollution of living organisms and their environment, which results from the release of radioactive materials into the environment during nuclear explosions and nuclear weapons testing, nuclear weapons production, mining, handling and disposal of radioactive ores. it happens.
Causes of Radioactive Pollution
- Nuclear accidents from nuclear power generation plants
In the modern world, various forms of energy are being discovered. Among them is nuclear power, which is the most powerful source of energy due to its high latent power. Its use is prohibited, but research is underway to determine its environmental safety and implement the most appropriate precautionary measures for its use.
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In some cases and countries, however, nuclear power plant accidents such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the Chernobyl disaster, and the Three Mile Island accident have caused many deaths and even many more from the radiation released.
- Use of radioisotopes
Radio isotopes are used in detector making and other industrial activities. On the other hand, common isotopes such as carbon-containing radioactive materials are readily found in water through sewage lines.
Since most feces are untreated before release, once released, the isotope mixes with other compounds and elements in water. This is the water that people bring for domestic use. Also, fish use the same water to survive. By consuming these fish, we are consuming harmful radiation.
- Use of nuclear weapons
The use of nuclear missiles and nuclear bombs, a form of nuclear power in World War II, not only explains the reason, but also the radioactive pollution or harmful nature of the pollution.
The effects of those two attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 prompted the end of the war, but its effects have been seen to date with children born with conditions such as mental retardation as well as autism and other disorders. The number of cancer cases present in these two cities is higher than the rest of Japan.
Mining mostly involves the excavation of mineral ores which are then broken into small manageable pieces. For example, radium and uranium are naturally found in the environment and are equally radioactive.
Therefore, mining enhances natural geological processes by transporting these materials from under the earth to the surface. Other minerals with signs of radiation are thorium, plutonium, radon, potassium, carbon, and phosphorus.
- Radioactive chemicals leakage
Most of these chemicals, including petroleum products, have a significant level of radiation that can be harmful to the environment.
- From cosmic rays
These come from our planet with intense radiation from outer space as their nature, therefore, causes radioactive pollution. For example, gamma rays are said to have the highest levels of radiation and yet, depending on their intensity, some are not visible to the human eye. The amount with which the rays collide with the Earth depends on the height and geographical location of the Earth.
Effects of Radioactive Pollution
- Various diseases
Cancer is the most prominent radiation-related disease. It has evolved over the years and poses considerable risks to global health. Also included are leukemia, anemia, hemorrhage, premature aging due to decreased life span and premature death as well as cardiovascular complications. Leukemia, for example, is caused by radiation in the bone marrow.
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- Genetic Mutation
Talking about genetics, radiation has an adverse effect. This damages the DNA strands leading to genetic breakdown over time. The degree of genetic mutation leading to changes in the structure of DNA varies due to the level of radiation that one type of exposure is exposed to.
In the event that a human or an animal is exposed to too much radiation from the atmosphere, food is consumed and even water is used, there is a possibility that their body has already absorbed the radiation is. Once in the body, it remains active because energy cannot be lost. The resulting mutation makes one susceptible to cancer. For pregnant women, birth defects result in adverse defects such as low birth weight due to genetic mutation. Impacts such as debilitated births and blindness in children are also reported. Infertility has also been mentioned as an effect of radiation.
- soil infertility
Exposure to radiation in the atmosphere means that it is also present in soil. Radioactive substances in the soil react together with various nutrients leading to the destruction of those nutrients, thus making the soil infertile and highly toxic. Such soil leads to crop of crops which are prone to radiation and thus, are unfit for consumption by both humans and animals.
Plants growing from such soil are also genetically modified. Since these are at the base of the food chain, vegetarians consume them and maintain radiation levels. Carnivores such as lions, vultures consume them and increase their levels of radiation – explained through the concept of biosynthesis.
- Cell destruction
Radioactive pollution has various effects such as transformation of cells. The bodies of living organisms are unique in the sense that there are millions of cells in a single body, where each has to serve its purpose. Radiation distorts the cells present for permanent damage to various organs and organ systems. Permanent diseases and even death due to too much radiation are unavoidable.
Solutions of Radioactive Pollution
- Proper method of disposal of radioactive waste
Radioactive waste still has some level of radiation. Therefore, it cannot be disposed of like ordinary waste. It cannot be buried. Since it is likely to leak, this waste should be stored in heavy and thick solid containers. Another option is to dilute radiation as storage is not possible. Since there are no easy methods of disposal of radioactive material, professional assistance should always be sought.
- Ban on nuclear tests
It has already been proved that nuclear energy has a lot of latent power which is very destructive. Nevertheless, tests conducted to perfect the energy contribute greatly to the overall presence of radioactive materials. In addition, these tests however end up escaping from one ecosystem carried out in the desert affecting one person’s life.
- Proper labeling
Labeling of radioactive material is necessary for any material and necessary care must be taken on the content of the label. The reason for this is because radiation can enter the body with the mere touch of radioactive material. Containers with such elements must be well labeled for one so that protective gear can be used when handling them.
- Alternative Energy Source
The development and use of nuclear power was not initially a bad thing. However, given the damage and hazards on the environment, it is high time to discontinue its use and focus on potentially alternative and environmentally friendly energy sources for the world – renewable sources of energy such as solar, hydro- Electric and Wind Energy. The use of radioactivity to generate energy in nuclear power plants, for example, given the waste released from various processes and combustion leads to the production of more radiation to the atmosphere.
- Proper Storage
It is mandatory to properly store containers carrying radioactive material. For starters, such substances should be stored in radiation-proof containers so that there is no dripping or leakage during handling. Proper storage means no damage and can reduce accidental leakage cases.
Since waste is not easy to store or dispose of, it can be reused and used as fuel for other reactors, such as those that protect the environment.