Causes of Nuclear Pollution

Nuclear Pollution is solely caused by the nuclear power plants. There are other industries as well which are responsible for causing nuclear pollution even though they might not be related at all with nuclear power generation (read more about hazards of Nuclear Pollution here). Coal also possesses small amounts of radioactive material in the likes of uranium and thorium. These particles are hard to burn and as they stay intact in their original form they become a part of the fly ash. The production of oil and gas also gives off radium and other such radioactive particles which are released directly into the air. This contamination caused from radioactivity or nuclear pollution is the most dangerous kind for the environment. The wastes of this possess the radioactive properties for many years to come. There is no way in which these wastes can be assimilated in the soil, water or the air in their original or initial state.

Causes of Nuclear Pollution

There are many reasons causing nuclear pollution. Operations that are undertaken by the nuclear power stations ultimately lead to the formation of radioactive wastes. Nuclear wastes that are generated can give off low to medium radiations for a very long period of time. It is observed that these wastes and the radioactivity that is generated have the capability to contaminate. They move and spread by propagating through air, water and soil too. The most critical issue regarding nuclear pollution and waste is that nuclear waste doesn’t get degraded and can’t be treated chemically or biologically. In northern Europe the nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant is the largest source of man made nuclear waste for the surrounding environment and ocean. Due to this there are traces of radioactive wastes in nature which have been detected as far as Greenland.

A huge amount of waste is also produced when refining or mining of radioactive minerals like uranium and thorium takes place. While mining of radioactive ores takes place there is some amount of crushing and processing which is required to be done. The radioactive ores like that of uranium and phosphate when crushed generate radioactive by-products and wastes simultaneously. There is also the presence of the nuclear fuel cycle which is used in many industrial, medical and scientific researches and processes giving rise to nuclear wastes and consequently causing pollution.

There has been a considerable rise in the amount of radioactive pollution that is occurring as there has been an increase in the use of radioactivity itself. This pollution mainly happens due to the waste and left over substances which remain behind after the total completion of the use of the radioactive substances. The radioactive wastes are generally created as a product of nuclear processes like that of nuclear fission and fusion that are used extensively in nuclear reactors, nuclear fuel cycles and in the manufacturing of nuclear weaponry.

There is a fair bit of negligence in the way and methods the nuclear and radioactive wastes are disposed off. There are hardly any precautionary measures which are undertaken. It is important to isolate the emissions so that it doesn’t contaminate the soil, water or the air in anyway. There is a huge quantity of radioactive wastes which are generated in the nuclear reactors that are a part of the nuclear power plants or any other processes. This is a phenomenon which occurs during the extraction and refining that is needed of the radioactive materials and particles. The worst conditions that arise due to human factors of radioactive pollution are that of the nuclear accidents and nuclear explosions done deliberately to harm the humankind.

The numerous sources of radiation pollution involve any process that lets out and gives away radiation into the environment. There are few which are more common than others including the nuclear accidents, nuclear weaponry and defence weaponry production.

Nuclear accidents are the classic and most obvious example for the spread of nuclear pollution and its adverse effects as well. In 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear explosion happened at the former Soviet Nuclear Power plant. In the year 1979 there was also an explosion at the Three Mile Island nuclear power generating plant which is near Harrisburg. It is quite drastic that the effects are still visible even till today. There has reported incidents of accidents which had occurred from handling medical nuclear materials or wastes. This had affected the health of the workers handling those materials.

Nuclear Weapons are the highest quantity of anthropogenic factors which induced radiation pollution. It had started from the years of mid twentieth century when there were several experimental or combat nuclear detonations causing the Second World War.

Defence weapon production also has the potential to release radioactivity from the radioactive materials that are handled which has a high health risk index. If the current standards are maintained then release of radioactive material is not possible until an accident occurs.

Read more:
Drawbacks of Nuclear Energy
Benefits of Nuclear Energy
Ways of controlling Air pollution

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