RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION WHAT IS IT??? • Radioactive pollution can be defined as the release of radioactive substances or highenergy particles into the air, water, or earth as a result of human activity, either by accident or by design. The sources of such waste include: (1) nuclear weapon testing or detonation; (2) the nuclear fuel cycle, including the mining, separation, and production of nuclear materials for use in nuclear power plants or nuclear bombs; (3) accidental release of radioactive material from nuclear power plants It is denoted by a tri-foil symbol which is used as a warning to protect people from being exposed to radioactivity . Sometimes natural sources of radioactivity, such as radon gas emitted from beneath the ground, are considered pollutants when they become a threat to human health. Since even a small amount of radiation exposure can have serious and cumulative biological consequences, and since many radioactive wastes remain toxic for centuries ,radioactive pollution is a serious environmental concern even though natural sources of radioactivity far exceed artificial ones at present. SOURCES OF RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION: The natural sources of radiation may be: • 1. Radioactive Minerals: The minerals containing Uranium- 235 , Uranium-238 , Thorium-232 , Plutonium- 239 etc. are capable of emitting energetic radiations causing pollution. • 2. Cosmic Rays: The cosmic rays containing highly energetic particles reach the surface of the earth causing pollution. The intensity of cosmic rays depends on latitudes and altitude of the place. The intensity is maximum at the poles and minimum at the equator. 3 .Radio nuclides: The unstable radio-nuclides in the atmosphere can be splitted up into smaller parts emitting energetic radiation. The smaller radio-nuclides enter into the body of organism along with air during respiration. The various sources of manmade radiation pollutions may be: 1. Nuclear Power Plants: Nuclear power plants emit radiation to a very smaller extent except accidental leaks (Chernobyl accident of undivided USSR). 2. Radio-active Wastes: The nuclear power plants produce a lot of nuclear radio-active wastes. The disposal of these wastes has become a global problem. Some countries producing large quantity of nuclear wastes dump them in ocean near other countries. 3. Nuclear Explosion: During nuclear explosion, a large number of radionuclides are generated in the atmosphere. The radio nuclides settle down with rain contaminating the soil and water bodies. Finally, these enter into food chain causing serious problem to the living organisms. 4. Radio-isotopes: Radio-isotopes are also prepared artificially either by nuclear fusion or by nuclear fission. If these radioisotopes are not properly handled, these emit radiations causing pollution. 5. Television Set: Television sets produce radiations which can also cause cancer. EFFECTS OF RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION: Radioactive pollution primarily impacts health, contributing to the rise of illnesses such as lung cancer, skin cancer and thyroid cancer, along with birth defects and cognitive disabilities. The type and severity of effects from radioactive pollution vary, depending on the quantity of pollution and amount of exposure. Long-term exposure might cause an increase in the number of genetic birth defects and mutations in a population, while acute exposure poses health risks, such as higher incidences of cancer within a population. When radiation passes through different living organisms the following dis-orderness takes place: 1. Radiation splits the molecules of the tissues into ions and free radicals and causes mutation by breaking DMA (Deoxy ribonucleic acid) molecules in the nucleus. 2. Radiation in bone marrow may cause leukemia. 3. Radiation may cause skin burns which may lead to skin cancer. 4. Radiation at pelvic regions of pregnant ladies, cause damage to the foetus. CONTROL/PREVENTIONS: • On one hand, the peaceful uses of radioactive materials are so wide and effective that modern civilization cannot go without them, and on the other hand, there is no cure for radiation damage. However, the only option against nuclear hazards is to check and prevent radioactive pollution by taking the following measures and precautions. • Safety measures should be enforced strictly; • Leakages from nuclear reactors, careless handling, transport and use of radioactive fuels, fission products and radioactive isotopes have to be totally stopped; • There should be regular monitoring and quantitative analysis through frequent sampling in the risk areas; • Waste disposal must be careful, efficient and effective; • Appropriate steps should be taken against occupational exposure; • Nuclear tests should be banned. • safety measures should be strengthened against nuclear accidents; and • Preventive measures should be followed so that background radiation levels do not exceed the permissible limits. Thus, we can say that radioactivity causes long range effects, affecting the future of humans and hence, the future of our civilization. QUIZ TIME!!! 1) Give any two examples of radioactive minerals. 2) The intensity of cosmic rays depends on and of the place. 3) Natural sources of radioactivity such as gas emitted from beneath the ground are considered pollutants. 4) Expand DNA. 5) Radiation in bone marrow may cause . 6)are also prepared artificially either by nuclear fusion or by nuclear fission. 7)The intensity of cosmic rays is at the poles and at the equator. 8)Name a natural and an artificial source of radioactive pollution. 9)Radioactive pollution can be defined as the release of . 10)What is the term used to describe this symbol? (It starts with a “t”.) 11)What does the symbol denote? 12) What does this picture depict?