What is Radioactive Pollution?
Radioactive Substances and nuclear radiations (i.e., alpha, beta & gamma-particles) produced during nuclear reactions, affect our environment adversely and thus radioactive pollution is created.
Sources of Radioactive Pollution
Low level radioactive liquid wastes, radioactive gaseous wastes & dusts are released during nuclear explosions.
Effects of Radioactive Pollution
- I. The radioactive gaseous wastes are injected into the upper layer of atmosphere where, due to cooling they condense to fine-dust particles and thus Radioactive Cloud is formed. This cloud moves in the direction of the wind, settles down slowly to the surface of the earth & thus pollutes air,water & soil.
- The radioactive substances produce energy which is so strong that the living cells are damaged or destroyed.
- People working with radioactive elements develop tumours.
- Radioactive elements like strontium-90 affects our soil & through this human beings and animals are also affected adversely.
- Nuclear explosions which are operated in sea, make sea water polluted. This affects the aquatic life.
- Among the radioactive radiations gamma-rays are the most dangerous, since they have high energy and high penetrating power. These radiations can, therefore, pass freely in the human body, where they lose energy, which destroys the living cells by converting them into charged particles i.e. ions. These ions are chemically very reactive & hence disrupt cell membranes, reduce the effectiveness of enzymes and even damage genes and chromosomes. All these results in diseases like Leakaemania & Cancer.
- The radiations leaked from reactors damage the health of human beings and animals.
Control Measures For Minimizing Radioactive Pollution:
The waste materials produced in the mining, enrichment and fission of U-235 inside the reactor are collective called Nuclear Wastes. At present most of the nuclear wastes are being stored in strong leak proof containers. These will be disposed off whenever a safe method of their disposal is found out in future.