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Nuclear industry - least radiation contributor to the environment

THE ABUNDANCE and provenance of radioactive elements amidst the earth’s surface is flagrant since its creation. The origin for these radioactive elements is believed to be cosmic and pre existing in the earth surface. Radiation is the energy that is emitted from the radioactive elements and is in the process of being transmitted. The source from where earth receives radiation is the outer space and the radioactive substances found in the ground, sea and the air.


There are mainly three kinds of ionizing radiations i.e. alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays. Alpha particles are fast moving helium atoms. They have high energy, typically in the MeV range, but due to their large mass, they are blocked by just a few inches of air, or a piece of paper. Beta particles are fast moving electrons. The energy range of beta particles is from few hundred keV to several MeV. Gamma rays are fundamentally photons, just like light, except of much higher energy, typically from several keV to several MeV. X-Rays and gamma rays are really the same thing; the difference is how they were produced. Depending on their energy, they can be stopped by a thin piece of aluminum foil, or they can penetrate several inches of lead.  Since electrons are might lighter than helium atoms, they are able to penetrate further, through several feet of air, or several millimeters of plastic or less of very light metals Radiation has diversified impacts ranging from extremely vigorous as they possess tendency to perturb the pattern of DNA and nuclei of the cells that can cause several diseases such as cancer etc. But on the other hand, radiations can be utilized for nonviolent purposes. Advancement in nuclear technology has lead to answer many enigmatic questions. Nuclear radiations can be used in medicine, agriculture, oil & gas and agriculture industry.


The burning question that lobs common people into complete disdain is the harmful effects of nuclear radiations discharged by nuclear reactors. The statistics conveniently disregard the disbelief of common people that is attributed towards the nuclear industry. The natural radiations hit the top of the list by contributing 85% of the total radiation. The surplus 15% is emitted from manmade sources. The nuclear industry is the least contributor in this regard that has a paltry share of 1%. Radon is the most common source of radiation and is believed for 42% of the emission of radiations.


It is worth mentioning, that the exposure of people to the radiations is a daily life routine. The amount of radiation that is absorbed by the human body is referred to as radiation dose and is measured in milliseiverts. Occupational risk can be taken into account; the higher risk occupations include underground miners, radiologists, medical technologists, nuclear plant operators, research scientists and pilots. The radiation dose shoulders upon certain factor such as our exposure to cosmic rays, the geology of the area we live in, the building materials used for our home (Bricks, cement etc. contain radon), the food we consume, the medical treatment we receive and our way of life, such as air travel or smoking.


Thus, the statistics expediently fizzle out the common perception, nuclear power reactors and the nuclear industry is the foremost contributor of harmful radiations and subsequently nuclear industry must be impeded from development is a complete oblivion and this concept need to be changed altogether amongst masses. The food we consume, the material of houses we live in, our occupational risk and our living style defines how much radiation dose we consume each day. All these vital factors accumulate major proportion of our daily dose and the nuclear industry must not be indicted for it.


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