Environmental Issues

Radioactive waste management

  • Wastes produced from nuclear testing labs, nuclear power plants, atomic reactors, research labs by spillage (or) accidents or from uranium mines
  • Natural ores, that release radioactivity from nuclide of their elements.
  • Three types of radio active wastes are (i) low level (ii) Intermediate level and (iii) High level radiation.
  • Low level radiation [between 0 to 1 microurie / litre] are produced by testing laboratories, irradiation centres for induction of mutations, study of metabolic pathways, radiotherapy.
  • Intermediate level [1 to 100 microurie / L] are produced from ores which are separated during refinement.
  • High level radiations [>100 microurie / L] are highly destructive, which are developed due to (i) accidental leakage (or) meltdown of atomic reactors and (ii) spent fuel of atomic reactors.
  • High level wastes produce a lot of heat which require protective shields during handling and transport so they need coding.
  • So the wastes are first concentrated to reduce their bulk, kept in thick leak-proof containers and dumped for 50-100 years in small pond in the premises of nuclear plants.
  • Radioactive pollution may natural (or) man made.
  • Cosmic rays which reach the earth, radiation from radioactive material present in rocks, soil etc. are natural. Eg. Kerala beaches have thorium 232 and cause background radiation.
  • Atomic explosion, atomic reactors / nuclear fuel, mining and refining of plutonium and thorium are man made radiation which causes cancer, mutations and even death.
  • Radioactive pollution is not curable but to be checked.
  • Radioactive substances that are carried to distant places by wind and fall on the ground along with rain water is called nuclear fall out.
  • Radiations are of 2 types (i) Non ionising [UV rays 100-300 nm] that causes sun burn, snow blindness, inactivation of biomolecules, xeroderma pigmentosum and (ii) Ionising radiations [x-rays, cosmic / atomic radiations] that damage living cells by ionisation.
  • Strontium 90 → replaces calcium in the bone [most dangerous radioactive element]
  • Iodine 131 → damages WBC's, bone marrow, spleen, lymph, sterility, defective eye sight, thyroid cancer.
  • cesium 137 → accumulates in muscle and replaces Na and K genetic changes.
  • Uranium → skin cancers and tumours is miness.

Disclaimer: Compete.etutor.co may from time to time provide links to third party Internet sites under their respective fair use policy and it may from time to time provide materials from such third parties on this website. These third party sites and any third party materials are provided for viewers convenience and for non-commercial educational purpose only. Compete does not operate or control in any respect any information, products or services available on these third party sites. Compete.etutor.co makes no representations whatsoever concerning the content of these sites and the fact that compete.etutor.co has provided a link to such sites is NOT an endorsement, authorization, sponsorship, or affiliation by compete.etutor.co with respect to such sites, its services, the products displayed, its owners, or its providers.