Nuclear or radioactive pollution
Table of Contents
Nuclear or radioactive pollution –
Meaning and Definition –
In the present era, in the race to become a developed and developing nation,
when humans came to know about the immense power contained within the atom,
the hope was raised that it would be used in peaceful purposes,
but during the Second World War (1945), two cities of Japan (Hiroshima) This hope was also dashed by the dropping of atomic bombs on Nagasaki.
It was this disaster that perhaps most developed the concept of nuclear or radioactive pollution.
Therefore, as a result of various naturally or artificially created radioactive substances and their radiations
(alpha, beta, gamma etc.)
unwanted changes occur in various components of the environment (inorganic and organic),
this is called nuclear or radioactive pollution.
“The generation of unwanted harmful effects in the biosphere as a result of the radiations (α, β, γ etc.)
emitted by various radioactive substances is called nuclear or radioactive pollution.”
CAUSES OF NUCLEAR OR RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION AND ITS SOURCES
Nuclear pollution is caused by both natural and human causes.
(a) Natural Causes:-
This includes the following:-
1. Natural radiations: –
Radiation received from the Sun and cosmic radiations also emit highly energetic particles.
These cosmic radiations mainly contain particles of elements like hydrogen-3 (tritium), radioactive carbon-13, beryllium-7 etc.
2. Naturally inhibited radioactive elements and their isotopes :–
Many radioactive substances like uranium-235, radon-222, and their isotopes uranium-238, potassium-40, vanadium-50. etc.
are found in nature.
As a result of the process of spontaneous disintegration, alpha, beta and gamma radiations are emitted.
Due to which nuclear pollution is generated.
(B) Human Causes
The following reasons/sources are included in this:-
1. Nuclear explosions and testing:-
Many tests are conducted before using nuclear energy for various uses,
as a result of which many natural radioactive substances get mixed into the environment,
which affect the components of the entire biosphere through their radiation effects.
Apart from this, nuclear explosions are also carried out during various tests, either under the seabed
or in deserts, far away from inhabited places, such as India did in Pokhran.
Due to these nuclear explosions, small particles of radioactive material get collected in large quantities in the lower levels of the atmosphere over long distances.
2. Atomic furnaces and fuels:-
Nuclear furnaces used in various processes and the fuel used in them are various radioactive elements.
By showering slow neutrons on them,
a chain reaction of fission is started due to which a large amount of energy is emitted in the form of heat.
During the chain reaction and in its waste, various new artificial radioactive isotopic elements are produced
which are discharged into the atmosphere where they have harmful effects on living beings until their complete disintegration.
3. Nuclear Weapons:-
Nowadays, there is a race among all the nations to make nuclear weapons.
These weapons include nuclear bomb, hydrogen bomb etc.
In the process of manufacturing these nuclear weapons, Uranium-235, Uranium-238 etc.
are used, due to which as a result of using these weapons,
they enter the atmosphere in the form of small particles and come back to the ground with rain
and enter into biological systems and have adverse effects on them.
As a result of mining of various minerals, radioactive substances present in nature also enter the biosphere along with the dust of other minerals and emit radiation.
5. Medical technology:-
Presently radioactive substances and the radiations generated from them are used in various medical techniques.
Among these techniques,
X-rays, sonography, CT scan etc. are mainly prominent.
Along with radiation treatment,
these also affect many tissues and cells and sometimes they even
become the cause of serious diseases like cancer.
Effects of nuclear or radioactive pollution
Nuclear or radioactive pollutants affect every aspect of the biosphere (biological and non-biological) through the radiations they emit. As-
(a) Effect on human health:-
Radioactive pollution has many direct and far-reaching effects on human health.
Due to this, deficiency of blood corpuscles in the human body, hair fall on the head, anemia in the body (leukemia, bone cancer),
changes in the structure of genetic elements (genes and chromosomes), infertility in women, loss of appetite, vomiting,
There is a fear of losing body weight and getting fatal diseases like ulcers.
(B) Effects on Other Animal Species-
Along with humans, nuclear pollution adversely affects the health of other animal species and their various practical activities.
As a result of nuclear fallout, radioactive isotopes of various mineral elements (potassium-40, iodine-131,
calcium 45 etc.) are absorbed from the soil by plants during mineral absorption and these substances enter the bodies of different levels of organisms through a chain.
They reach there and have a negative impact.
(c) Effects on Vegetations –
Nuclear or radioactive pollution affects the abundance, physiology and quality of vegetation.
Nuclear explosions result in the release of so much energy that it destroys 16 square kilometers of land. m.
The entire vegetation of the area gets burnt.
Radioactive isotopes of different elements take the place of those elements in the functional systems of plants due to which various activities of plants take place;
Like sap absorption, photosynthesis, respiration, flowering and reproduction are disrupted.
MEASURES TO CONTROL NUCLEAR OR RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
Nuclear or radioactive pollution cannot be completely destroyed,
yet it can be controlled by following the following measures:
1. The manufacturing and use of atomic bombs should be banned and nuclear stockpiles in the world should be eliminated.
2. Testing of nuclear bombs underground,
in the atmosphere and in the hydrosphere should be banned.
3. Complete arrangements should be made to bury the waste generated in nuclear power plants,
so that radioactive radiation does not occur.
4. It has been suggested to make glass mesh for disposal of high level nuclear wastes.
5. Complete caution should be taken in the maintenance of reactors.
The tanks and pipe lines of reactors and nuclear plants should be checked from time to time.
6. There should be a ban on the manufacturing of war material containing radioactive elements
and efforts should be made to end nuclear wars.
7. Nuclear power plants and reactors should be established away from cities and population.