Harmless radioactive cloud spread over Europe from Russia or Kazakhstan

In news

French institute says pollution suggests release of nuclear pollutant, south of the Ural mountains in September has no consequence for human health, it indicates that an accident has happened in a nuclear facility in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September.

Highlights

  • French nuclear regulator ASN, said in a statement it could not pinpoint the location of the release of radioactive material but that based on weather patterns, the most plausible zone lay south of the Ural mountains.
  • According to French Nuclear safety institute IRSN estimates that the quantity of ruthenium 106 released was major, between 100 and 300 tera Becquerels.
  • If an accident of this magnitude had happened in France it would have required the evacuation or sheltering of people in a radius of a few kilometers around the accident site.
  • Measurement from European stations showed high levels of ruthenium 106 in the atmosphere of the majority of European countries, at the beginning of October, with a steady decrease from Oct. 6 onwards.

Nuclear Pollution

Any undesirable effect caused to the environment due to radioactive substances or radiations is called nuclear pollution. Major source is the Nuclear power plants.

If traces of the radioactive substances are present in the water that is released from the plant, it will cause nuclear pollution. Emission of radiations can also cause this kind of pollution.

Causes of Nuclear PollutionRelated image

Nuclear waste comes from a number of sources

  • Operations conducted by nuclear power stations produce radioactive waste. Nuclear waste may generate low to medium radiation over long period of times.The main issue is the fact that nuclear waste cannot be degraded or treated chemically or biologically.
  • Mining and refining of uranium and thorium. Mining of radioactive ores (such as uranium and phosphate ores) involve the crushing and processing of radioactive ores and generate radioactive by-products.
  • Nuclear fuel cycle (used in many industrial, medical and scientific processes).

The sources of radiation pollution 

  • Nuclear weapons – probably the highest amounts of human-induced radiation pollution have been generated in the mid twenty century through various experimental or combat nuclear detonations (that ended the Second World War). Nuclear fuel cycle (used in many industrial, medical and scientific processes).
  • Defense weapon production – may also release radioactivity from the handled radioactive materials (usually of high health risks). However, unless accident occurs, the current standards will not allow the release of any significant amount of radiation.
  • Nuclear accidents – an already classic example of such accident is the nuclear explosion.

Impact

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Source: blogspot

It affects almost all life forms in the surrounding environment. From planktons to Human beings nothing is spared.

To be more specific, the radiations can cause mutations that lead to cancer, and the dose of radiation or the level of pollution determines lethality or how deadly it is.

However, nuclear pollution is extremely hazardous in nature.

Ways to handle nuclear pollution

  • Vitrification is a proven technique in the disposal and long-term storage of nuclear waste or other hazardous wastes.
  • Waste is mixed with glass-forming chemicals in a melter to form molten glass that then solidifies in canisters, immobilizing the waste.
  • The final waste form resembles obsidian and is a non-leaching, durable material that effectively traps the waste inside.
  • The waste can be stored for relatively long periods in this form without concern for air or groundwater contamination.
  • Nuclear reprocessing technology was developed to chemically separate and recover fissionable plutonium from irradiated nuclear fuel. Reprocessing serves multiple purposes, whose relative importance has changed over time.

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