Nuclear Impact

Diagram showing how a nuclear power plant works Although many people assert that nuclear power is an environmentally conscious energy source because no greenhouse gases are emitted, it is in no way shape or form a sustainable or renewable energy source. Mining uranium can have similar problems that arise with coal mining with the added problem that uranium mill tailings, waste formed by extracting the uranium, are radioactive. Only 0.1% to 0.2% of uranium ore is made up of uranium, and of that only 0.7% of this uranium is in the correct form to be used in the reactor. Uranium mining because sulfuric is used to extract the uranium causes contamination to ground water from radioactive metals and other metals. In situ leaching is particularly harmful as diagrammed, because the rock is not removed from the ground instead sulfuric is merely pushed into a deep aquifer.

A diagram of how in situ leaching mining works. A nuclear power plant meltdown such as the one that occurred in Chernobyl caused a significant amount of radioactive material to journey through Ukraine and all of Europe. This huge radiation exposure largely occurred because there was no containment building. In Three Mile Island a meltdown also occurred, but most of the radiation was secured inside the containment building. Very strict restrictions have made nuclear power plants safer. Nuclear power plants only emit 0.009 millirems/year, which is a negligible amount compared to natural background radiation. Therefore, nuclear power plants themselves are fairly safe.

Two levels of waste are created at nuclear power plants: low-level waste (LLW) and high-level waste (HLW). and debates over a national repository have been occurring for quite some time.000 years has been difficult. Developing strategies to keep this waste carefully contained for 10. LLW consists of cleaning items and other materials that are exposed to radiation.000 years before the activity begins to level off.The radioactivity of various different radioactive metals in HLW over time However. Typically. The only possible in public health from Nuclear energy is making us all sick: . LLW is compacted and burned in special facilities and buried in the ground. HLW is defined as used nuclear reactor fuel. The waste takes 10. the waste produced at the end of the process has a huge potential to cause public health problems.

it can induce bone cancer and blood malignancies. Another radioactive element. for whom milk was a major part of the diet. (1) Greenpeace projects that there could be an additional 60. the number of childhood cancers caused by Chernobyl in Belarus. a much higher estimate than is suggested by any information found in the extensive WHO report. If it gets absorbed in the bones. Thyroid Cancer One of the first major health consequences of the Chernobyl accident was the appearance of ³aggressive thyroid carcinomas´ in children. Radiation in the environment due to any contamination was taken up by grazing cows and heavily concentrated in their mammary epithelium. Many people in the contaminated region owned their own cows and thus drank large amounts of contaminated milk. they counted cases in areas that were not considered by the IAEA and the WHO. The IAEA has also theorized that children¶s thyroid glands were more affected by radiation than adults even though they drank similar quantities of milk because their glands are much smaller. it can destroy almost complete world in one go. This was especially true for children. People can¶t live without their thyroid glands and thyroid replacement hormones are required daily. Iodine. it can be concluded that the nuclear weapons containing radioactive elements and nuclear fuels used in the power plants cause severe health hazards and does not improve public health in any way. Later. spent a considerable portion of text analyzing the presence of thyroid cancers in Chernobyl effected children. Even its one-millionth gram can cause cancer. Strontium (90) gets absorbed in the cow and goat milk and get accumulated in the human breast during lactation. Radiations containing energy damage cells in the human tissues. inducing thyroid cancer. So considering all the facts and statistics available.Radiation is the energy emitted by the unstable (radio-active) elements . and United Kingdom and even to Japan.000 thyroid cancers diagnosed in the future. it migrates to the thyroid gland in the neck and become malignant. and Ukraine is much greater that indicated by the IAEA and/or the WHO. Greenpeace¶s report. it gives rise to health abnormalities and severe diseases.When it enters the human body. It came to the conclusion that ³in reality. Europe. Thus. The primary element in the nuclear elements used earlier was Plutonium. This is true from USA. like those presented by the WHO and IAEA. . It is stored in the liver and cause liver cancer.´ They attribute their higher numbers in part to the fact that radiation doses exceeded permissible dosage amounts for thyroids in ³clean´ regions of Ukraine. Presently it is used as nuclear fuel and around 200 Kg is produced per year in the nuclear reactor. Russia. So this clearly indicates that if this much amount is used in any future war.When any atom possess high energy. Similarly. Even these tiny levels of radiation are more harmful than sunlight Also inhalation of radioactive elements like Radon enhances the risk of lung cancer. it can induce breast cancer. it releases the extra energy in the form of radiations to become stable and this emission is called radio activity. When the radiation dose of certain element rises in the human body. All over the world including in all modern plants the level of radio activity is higher than acceptable levels and nuclear waste management is making the surrounding environment dangerous to human settlements. It is the most dangerous element known to humans. concentrates in leafy vegetables and milk being absorbed from soil . bone cancer and leukaemia.

According to the WHO. water. thus causing the dramatically increased rates of leukemia.virginia.Leukemia and other Solid Cancers After the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. but also to extreme behaviors such as excessive health concerns and reckless behavior. Another study claims that between 1986 and 1990. These issues. The subclinical mental health consequnce of Chernobyl is one area in which the WHO and Greenpeace reports have a high degree of correlation. however it is not made clear in the report how many of these can be attributed to offspring of Chernobyl affected populations. the WHO claims ³most [of these] studies had methodological limitations and lacked statistical power. one study is cited which claimed that 54. there were three times the normal rate of deformities and developmental abnormalities in Ukrainian newborns. it is important to realize that the law ± Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). In the United States.3% of women in the control group. especially issues that appear at the sub-clinical level. Strontium presence from Chernobyl has also been indicated for causing a rise in infant mortality in Ukraine and Belarus after 1989. ground. Although some studies have shown an increased incidence of leukemia.´ Children of liquidators were shown in one study to have an increased number of genetic mutations compared with siblings conceived before the accident. Part 20 ± governs any radioactive releases from nuclear power . Other confounding factors. Reproductive and Hereditary Effects They also cite increased numbers of genital and sexual development abnormalities in the effected Belarusian population. are also and the biosphere (people. For the full read please visit http://faculty.´ In support of its stance. Claims are also made that exposed children in Belarus have been shown to demonstrate lower IQ levels and display a ³tendency towards development of mild mental retardation. elevated risk of leukemia for exposed populations was demonstrated 2-5 years later. such as the break up of the Soviet Union and resulting political turmoil and social unrest. and animals) ± and let¶s also look at what can and is being done to minimize those effects. With regards to information from the Ukraine. According to the WHO populations living in contaminated areas after Chernobyl have demonstrated no such elevated risk of leukemia. the WHO cites a 1995 study which found higher rates of leukemia in less contaminated areas. as one of the major health consequences of Chernobyl.html Environmental Effects of Nuclear Power In considering environmental effects. plants. when taking into account the upheaval and distress that Chernobyl caused. Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs were on average exposed to doses of radiation that were much higher in a shorter of period of time. The exposed population demonstrated anxiety levels twice as high as the control population in one study and were three to four times more likely to report multiple unexplained physical symptoms and subjective poor health than controls in another study.1% of women effected by Chernobyl experienced complications in their pregnancies compared with 10. Mental Health The WHO cites mental health concerns. let¶s look at the effects on air. The common usage of terminology such as ³victims´ and sufferers´ to denote populations affected by Chernobyl rather than ³survivors´ is cited as a major cause of some of these sub-clinical problems. can be linked not only to anxiety and depression.

steam. This section addresses commercial nuclear reactors regulated by the NRC (or similar agencies in other countries) and does not address the myriad of effects due to government activities. Warm water vapor is all that is released (unless chemicals are injected for biological treatment).g. nuclear or fossil fuel.plants. to cool oil. Often. where the Hanford Tanks Initiative is correcting problems stemming from activities in the 1940¶s to 1970¶s timeframe. Air. Three Mile Island. Water-Liquid Releases Nuclear plant liquid releases fall into the following categories: y y Non-radioactive Slightly radioactive Water that has been used to cool the condenser. a coal plant may operate at higher temperatures and steam . or that has passed through the cooling towers is non-radioactive. The cooling towers are often required by state and/or federal regulatory agencies to reduce the thermal impact if a river of a lake is the primary cooling source.Gaseous Releases Nuclear plant gaseous releases fall into the following categories: y y y y y y Water vapor from cooling towers Ventilation exhaust from those buildings that do not have any processes with radioactivity Diesel generator exhaust Gases and steam from the air ejectors. lake. Only in those cases where there may be leakage through a steam generator tube could that exhaust have any radioactivity. The air ejector exhaust at PWRs is usually non-radioactive.g. Some or all of this water may be discharged to a river. water) used in the turbine-generator support processes. The major effect of these cooling towers is heating of the air around the plant. sea. In some cases. Perry). various heat exchangers (e. that are in the main steam system Ventilation exhaust from those buildings that do have processes with radioactivity Gases removed from systems having radioactive fluids and gases. If you want to find any federal regulation by title and part. The first two release paths are non-radioactive. use the Title 10 CFR Index or National Archives & Records Administration (for all sections of the Code of Federal Regulations). the air ejector exhaust is radioactive. The second source ± ventilation exhaust from those buildings that do not have any processes with radioactivity ± are just like releases from ventilation systems from any office building. news photos of nuclear plants tend to focus on the tall (400 foot high) dry cooling towers (e. inlet condenser water temperature) should be the same. steam pressure. at Hanford. The thermal discharge of any type of power plant.g. At BWRs. e.g. using a steam cycle operating under the same conditions (e.

Within the nuclear plant. process. thus it may have a slightly higher efficiency. For introductory information on low level waste.g. These drums must be thoroughly de-watered. see Low Level Waste and More on Low Level Waste.g. Usually water released from the steam generators (called blowdown) is also non-radioactive. Effluent requirements are specified in Appendix B Table 2 of 10CFR20. As noted above. it must be stored and radioactivity levels reduced through ion exchange processes below levels allowed by the 10CFR20 regulation. Solid Releases-Ground Effects Solid radioactive materials only leave the plant by three paths: y y y Routine non radioactive office. radiation detectors monitor release paths and isolate (close valves) if radiation levels exceed a preset setpoint. there are a number of systems that may contain radioactive fluids. in any case where radioactive water may be released to the environment. and verified to be below acceptable levels before release may be done ± AND ± mistakes are not tolerated by the NRC. those liquids must be stored. However. wood) is compacted and placed in drums. cleaned. rags. less than 400 gallons per day) may be allowed from the reactor cooling system to the secondary cooling system of the steam generator. clothes. with slightly lower release of thermal discharge to the environment. As in the gaseous release case.pressures than a nuclear plant. . In case of Sri Lanka. where are we going to put these and ship them to. Special landfills must be used. and building material waste via traditional means Radioactive waste (e. Spent resin may be very radioactive and is shipped in specially designed containers.. sampled.. Very low levels of leakage (e. The drums are often checked at the receiving location by regulatory agencies.

the used fuel assemblies are stored underwater in large cooling pools at the plant. Radioactive airborne emissions and local land contamination is resulted. There is currently some controversy regarding the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a final repository. where storage has become limited. The intent was to store those rods in specially designed vaults where the rods could be recovered for the first 50-100 years and then made unretrievable for up to 10000 years. Some of the studies were conducted at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore. A down to earth discussion of radiation is presented in the University of Wisconsin Graduate School¶s Whyfiles ± Radiation Reassessed. dry cask storage on-site may be used. BEIR VII Phase 2. France. see High Level Waste and More on High Level Waste. Then God Bless Sri Lanka. basalt formations ± and finally ± Congress designated Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Uranium milling plants process naturally radioactive materials. Ultimate Disposal of Spent Fuel Originally. the Atomic Energy Commission funded research to investigate effects of radiation on people. Various underground locations had been considered ± salt domes. the intent had been that the spent fuel would be reprocessed. Colorado. and Japan are using this process and well known for their radioactive leakages to the surroundings.Currently. The desire was for a geologically stable location with minimal chance for groundwater intrusion. Currently. and animals. This storage is covered by the regulation 10CFR72 for Independent Spent Fuel Storage Facilities. California and at various government and university laboratories. In some cases. The limited amount of highly radioactive waste (also called high level waste) was to be placed in glass rods surrounded by metal with low long term corrosion or degradation properties. granite formations. then reuse it in either breeder or thermal reactors as mixed oxide fuel (also called MOX). ³Health Effects of Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation´. . The intent had been to recover the plutonium and unused uranium fuel. In Japan the sea boarding the plant is untouchable. The fill had to be placed under cover. Impact on the Biosphere In the 1960¶s. For introductory information on high level waste. In the 1970¶s. In Grand Junction. this fill was removed when it was recognized that this mined material produced general background radiation levels higher than maximum acceptable levels. (see summary) was published by the National Academy Press in 2005. Milling and Enrichment Issues Are we planning to do a open mines to keep the supply. The most recent. Nuclear-related mining effects are similar to those of other industries ± generation of tailings and water pollution. A number of studies entitled the BEAR (Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation) and BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) studies reported on these effects.. plants. Great Britain. Mining.

. could be produced by nuclear plants. That energy. Also. are used in Europe.The US has older enrichment plants. while currently produced by coal and oil. Because they were built in the 1940¶s and in rural areas. Newer enriching technologies. e. These were originally designed to enrich U-235 for bombs.g. gas centrifuges. but subsequently were diverted to enrich uranium for NPP fuel. they happen to use coal and oil. the enrichment process requires large amounts of electrical energy to produce enriched material.

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