Among the various other types of pollution, radioactive pollution is one of the most serious. In this article, we shall explore how radioactive pollution impacts human life as well as its repercussions on the environment.
What is Radioactive Pollution / Radioactive Contamination?
Radioactive contamination is defined as the deposition or introduction of radioactive substances into the environment, where their presence is unintended or the levels of radioactivity are undesirable. Such type of pollution is harmful to life due to the emission of ionizing radiation. This type of radiation is potent enough to cause damage to tissues and DNA in genes.
How Is Radioactive Pollution Caused?
Radioactivity can occur in one of two ways:
- Naturally occurring radioactivity
- Man-made radioactivity
Natural radioactivity, as the name suggests, occurs naturally in our environment. Some radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium are present in rocks and soil, albeit in trace quantities. Interestingly, humans and all other living organisms contain nuclides such as carbon-14, which are created by cosmic rays.
Man-made radioactivity is the result of nuclear weapon discharge or a nuclear reactor containment breach. In such scenarios, all living organisms in the vicinity of the nuclear event will become contaminated by fission products and remnants of nuclear fuel. This can be in the form of radioactive dust, or even particles that are found on various surfaces.
Examples of Radioactive Pollution
One of the most infamous cases that resulted in radioactive pollution was the Chernobyl disaster. Other examples include:
- Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster
- Nuclear fallout (after atmospheric nuclear explosions)
- Criticality accidents
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Frequently Asked Questions on Radioactive Pollution
What is radioactive pollution?
Radioactive contamination is defined as the deposition or introduction of radioactive substances into the environment, where their presence is unintended or the levels of radioactivity are undesirable.
Why is radioactive pollution dangerous?
Such type of pollution results in the emission of ionizing radiation. This type of radiation can cause damage to tissues and DNA in genes.
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