nuclear accidents and radiation hazards

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Post on 06-May-2015




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It sums up hazards of Nuclear Radiation to public.


  • 1.Nuclear Accidents andNuclear Accidents and Radiation HazardsRadiation Hazards H.S. VIRKH.S. VIRK Professor EmeritusProfessor Emeritus Eternal University, Baru Sahib,Eternal University, Baru Sahib, Himachal Pradesh, IndiaHimachal Pradesh, India

2. Historical BackgroundHistorical Background Nuclear fission was discovered by Otto Hahn, Strassman and Lise Mietner in 1938 in Germany, when they bombarded uranium with neutrons. Enrico Fermi demonstrated the chain reaction in a nuclear pile (reactor) on 2nd December 1942 in Chicago (USA) which led to the making of first Nuclear Bomb (Atomic Bomb) under the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos in the desert of New Mexico (USA). Two thousand million dollars was the budget estimate for Manhattan Project. The test explosion of Atomic Bomb on 16th July 1945 was a complete success. 3. Nuclear Bomb ExplosionNuclear Bomb Explosion 4. Demonstration of Nuclear DisasterDemonstration of Nuclear Disaster The test explosion of Atomic Bomb on 16th July 1945 was a complete success. The First Atomic Bomb was thrown / dropped on Hiroshima on 6th August 1945 and the second on Nagasaki on 9th August 1945. The bomb had the power of 20,000 tons of TNT. Hiroshima nuclear explosion killed 92,133 Japanese and more than 100,000 were permanently injured and disfigured. The disaster was worst in the recorded history of mankind. 5. Japanese Radiation VictimJapanese Radiation Victim 6. Public Reaction in the PressPublic Reaction in the Press The following lines appeared in an American newspaper after the demonstration of Nuclear Hazard: The Atom Bomb is here to stay, Most scientists agree. Oh, the bomb is here to stay, The question is, are we? 7. Manhattan ProjectManhattan Project Beginning with the Manhattan Project, during the World War II, USA created a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons based on plutonium. The inputs came from a number of nuclear complexes spread across the country and they included a number of nuclear reactors to produce plutonium, reprocessing plants to extract plutonium and weapon-research laboratories and production plants. As an example, at Hanford (Washington State), a typical nuclear weapons complex, there were 9 nuclear reactors producing plutonium, 5 reprocessing plants and 200 tanks storing nearly 200,000 m3 of high level radioactive waste. 8. Nuclear Arsenal in USANuclear Arsenal in USA Nearly a thousand weapons were detonated by USA for testing and the arsenal comprised of tens of thousands of weapons. The leftovers from this cold war legacy are believed to contain several large highly-contaminated reprocessing plants, thousands of tons of irradiated fuel in basins that act as radioactive dustbins, hundreds of underground tanks each containing hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of high-level radioactive waste in hazardous state, dozens of tons of unsecured plutonium and so on. 9. Nuclear Scenario in RussiaNuclear Scenario in Russia Reports from the European press state that the erstwhile Soviet Union secretly dumped nuclear reactors and radioactive waste into the bordering seas, indicating more damaging nuclear legacy of the Cold War than previously known. It is said that nuclear reactors from at least 18 nuclear submarines and icebreakers were dumped in the Barents Sea. The Russians are reported to have dumped unprocessed nuclear waste into The Sea of Japan. The latest in this scenario is that on 12 August 2000, the giant Russian nuclear submarine Kursk, carrying a crew of 118, sank in the icy waters of the Barents Sea after what Russian officials described as a catastrophe that developed at lightning speed. 10. Problem of Radioactive WasteProblem of Radioactive Waste It may not be wrong to guess that any other weapon-producing complex in any other country also operates in a similar manner. Only the scale of operation may be large or small depending on the resources that are pumped in. The secrecy, callousness in handling the radioactive waste and the problems that each nation faces would be qualitatively no different; quantitatively they increase as weaponization takes deeper roots. 11. Nuclear Reactor AccidentsNuclear Reactor Accidents Minor Reactor accidents were reported in Calder Hall, UK and Three Mile Long Island, USA. The most dreadful nuclear reactor accidents have occurred at Chernobyl on 26 April, 1986, and more recently at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, after it was hit by Tsunami on March 11, 2011. 12. Reactor accidents and nuclear explosions have created a media-hype and a nuclear neurosis among the general public to veto setting up of any nuclear facility, even in remote areas. Public awareness of environmental and nuclear radiation hazards is an area which is most neglected in India. A typical case study is the uranium poisoning of ground water in Punjab, where contradictory reports have been published about cancer deaths during last 3 years (2009-11). 13. Indo-Pak Nuclear ScenarioIndo-Pak Nuclear Scenario Zia Mian et al.(Currernt Science,2001) have reported the estimated risk and health hazard effects of nuclear warheads deployment in South Asia, with particular reference to India and Pakistan. Considering the political situation in the sub-continent, the authors assume that the dangerous situation may change for the worst in the not-too-distant future on the deployment of nuclear weapons. 14. Both India and Pakistan have developed a variety of ballistic missiles for carrying nuclear weapons. These missiles are propelled by highly volatile hypergolic liquid propellants and hence the risk of deployment is always there even when there is no nuclear warfare. Using the famous wedge model for estimating the effects of a nuclear weapon accident, the authors calculate the number of deaths due to cancer caused by dispersal of plutonium from the nuclear weapons. Any serious accident caused by detonation of propellant/fuel can convert the fissile material of nuclear warhead into aerosol particles which will disperse into the environment. 15. Probability of Cancer DeathsProbability of Cancer Deaths There is also a possibility that detonation of a highly explosive propellant/fuel in the pit may trigger in turn the detonation of the nuclear weapon. Such an explosion might be mistaken for a nuclear attack and lead to a nuclear response. Thus there is always a danger that an accidental nuclear explosion may even trigger a nuclear warfare. The dispersal of plutonium aerosols, even without nuclear warfare, may cause 5000 cancer deaths in a metropolitan like Delhi. One can imagine the situation in Punjab! 16. What is the Solution?What is the Solution? Considering all the facts and figures in this study, the scientists and political leaders of both India and Pakistan must enter into a dialogue for safe deployment of nuclear weapons. The best solution will be to store them far away from missiles carrying potentially explosive fuel. To reduce the risk of a nuclear weapon being launched through error, panic or miscalculation, it is advisable to keep the nuclear weapons disassembled. 17. Sources of EnvironmentalSources of Environmental RadiationRadiation The sources of environmental radiation are both natural and artificial; the bulk of average annual effective dose (2.4 mSv) being contributed by the natural sources of radiation including radon (52.5%) and cosmic rays (16.2%). Artificial sources include Radioisotopes, Accelerators, Nuclear Reactors and Atomic Bomb Explosions. 18. Nuclear Radiation as a BoonNuclear Radiation as a Boon Recent studies have established that environmental radiation has been a boon for mankind. The creation of universe with a Big- Bang was responsible for environmental cosmic radiation about 20 billion years ago. Evolution of life leading to human species had been possible due to radiation exposure. Beneficial health effects of low-level radiation are well-established by some workers (S. Kondo in Japan, 1993 Wei et al. in China, 1990). 19. Radiation as a TonicRadiation as a Tonic Health-stimulating effects of natural radon were known to Europeans and the radon spas were used for treatment of patients in Romania, Austria, Hungary, Germany and Russia, more than a century ago. Radium-rich water was used as a tonic. Most of the thermal springs are rich source of radon and have been pilgrimage centres in India, for example, the Manikaran spring is also believed to have miraculous healing powers. 20. The radon spas were used for treatment of patients in Austria, Romania, Hungary, Russia and Japan. Treatments at the radon sauna and spas have been reported to be effective for rheumatoid arthritis, spondylosis, neuritis and complications of endocrine and sex harmone systems. Radon spas of Badgastein in Austria, Misasa in Japan, Boulder in USA, Matradrescke in Hungary and Manikaran in India have been used in curing rheumatoid arthritis and other related diseases. Radon spa near Moscow was used for the health recovery of Russian army generals and Politburo members. Radium-rich water was used as a tonic in Europe. 21. Thank You !!!


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