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BS 43 693 Crisis and Disaster Management

Published : 13-Sep,2021  |  Views : 10

Question:

The safety of nuclear reactors and power plants has been a long-standing debate and the issue is further complicated by the public misunderstanding or poor knowledge about nuclear science. Construct a brief  paper describing the safety and dangers of nuclear facilities, the health implications of a radiation release, and the priorities for preparedness. 

Answer:

Nuclear power is one of the most powerful sources of energy that exists in the world today. Every country in the world has been trying to produce nuclear power to become over powerful than the other countries in the world. However, the safety at the nuclear power reactors and the power plants is a major issue. This assignment highlights the dangers that are faced in a nuclear reactor, along with the health implications of the radiations that are emitted from the nuclear reactors. Moreover, the safety measures that are needed to be taken are also highlighted in this assignment.    

The dangers of the nuclear reactions could be categorized as the following:

Impacts on the environment:

One of the major issues that are faced by the wide use of the nuclear reactors is the adverse environmental impact. The process of mining as well as refining uranium is not a safe process and hence the nuclear fuels cause the environmental hazards (Murray & Holbert, 2014). Moreover, once the fuel has been successfully used, it cannot be effectively used for landfills, as it is radioactive as well as dangerous (Siegrist & Visschers, 2013).     

Disposal of the radioactive wastes

Another danger that is caused is the disposal of the radioactive wastes. A nuclear power plant creates almost 20 metric tons of nuclear fuel per year (Nagatani et al., 2013). Thus, with so many nuclear plants coming up all around the world, a huge amount of nuclear fuel is being produced every year (Ohno et al., 2016). The waste that is produced is also of huge amount. Thus, the disposal of this waste is a major issue since the radioactive wastes are hazardous to the living beings around. The radioactive wastes that are low level radioactive are also dangerous to all living beings including human beings (Siegrist & Visschers, 2013). 

Nuclear accidents

One of the most infamous nuclear accidents in the world history is the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant accident. The harmful gases that were emitted from the reactor resulted in adverse effects on the human beings as well as on the plants and animals. 

Target for the militants

Since the nuclear energy has an immense power, hence militants and the terrorists often use it to make nuclear weapons and threat the existence of the human beings.

However, in US there is a limited facility for nuclear enrichment. The nuclear power plants are not regularly upgraded or modernized. Thu, the danger of leakage from those power plants is very high. The people in the vicinity are in the danger zone, if there is leakage of fumes from the nuclear reactors. Another danger that is faced by US is the nuclear threat from various other countries such as North Korea and Pakistan. These countries are actively engages in the nuclear activities thus posing a potential threat to US. The common people are mostly ignorant about the use of nuclear science and nuclear reactors. Due to this ignorance, they fail to understand the positivity and advantages that nuclear science might bring to humanity.    

The health effects on the health of the human beings are devastating and the world has witnessed the adverse health effects after the nuclear bomb blast in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The various adverse health effects include fatal diseases such as cancer. Moreover, the adverse health effects in the children include childhood leukaemia (Reason, 2016). A research has highlighted that the employees of a nuclear reactor plant has a higher risk of being affected with cancer, that others. In a nuclear reactor, there are mainly three types of radiations that cause adverse effect to the human health. These are the alpha, beta and gamma radiations. The alpha radiation is so strong and intense, that that the double stranded DNA in human beings break. This damage in the human beings might cause diseases such as cancer. Diseases such as mental retardation and birth defects are also caused by the nuclear radiations. The adverse health effects are so strong that chromosomal disabilities as well as inheritable diseases are also caused.

However, if the levels of radiations are less, then the health effects are minor and are limited to the skin rashes, diarrhoea and vomiting. Exposure to very strong radiations results in bone marrow alteration (Zinkle & Was, 2013). Thus, the adverse effects of the human beings are so strong that the children born to the mothers who were exposed to radiations were born with various physical and mental disorders.  

In order to ensure that human lives are not at stake in the nuclear reactors, a three level nuclear reactor safety plan is to be done. The three levels are:

First level: This addresses the prevention of the accidents that is caused due to the virtue of the construction and the design (Steinhauser, Brandl & Johnson, 2014).  

Second level: The second level of the safety systems is to protect the operators if the accident cannot be prevented in the first level (Twidell & Weir, 2015).

Third level: This supplements the first two levels by adding a safety margin to the unforseen events. Moreover, the time of exposure to the radiation needs to be reduced such that the adverse health effects are reduced (Reason, 2016). Moreover, the distance from which the radiation is felt is to be increased in order to reduce the adverse health effects (Steinhauser, Brandl & Johnson, 2014). The workers of the nuclear reactor have to wear a protective shield such that the radiation cannot pass through directly (Zinkle & Was, 2013). Thus, with the protective shield, the intensity of the radiation is reduced largely.

Most of the countries that are engaged in the nuclear activities lack preparedness of the infrastructure, funds and the efficient scientists who can take up these challenges and use nuclear power for the well-being of humanity.  Thus, before any country ventures into the nuclear activity and set up nuclear power plants, they need to have the required infrastructure and feasibility. One of the most essential parts of the preparation for nuclear activity is the precautions and preparation for the nuclear emergency and accidents. Adequate funding as well as efficient scientists are also essential parts of preparation. Moreover, the site selected for the setting up of the power plants have to be located away from the locality such that in case of any nuclear emergency, the people in the vicinity are not affected.       

Nuclear power and nuclear energy are both powerful and expensive. Hence, it should be used effectively. Moreover, along with the immense power it has, there are various adverse health issues as well. This assignment highlights the various dangers of the nuclear energy and its use. The dangers include the impact on the environment along with the hazard in the disposal of the radioactive wastes. History highlights that there are various nuclear accidents that have been caused due to the nuclear power. The misuses of this power by the militants are also caused as a potential danger of the use of nuclear power. Moreover, the health impacts on the health of the human beings are adverse. The slight exposure on the human beings causes rashes and skin cancer, with nausea. However, strong exposures to the nuclear radiations include alteration of the DNA, cancer as well as genetic disorder. Thus, the safety and the security at the nuclear power plants and among the people who are exposed to the radiation. Hence, in order to ensure that the nuclear power is used safely, the required safety measures need to be taken. Thus, the nuclear energy should be used for the enhancement of the lives of human beings and not for destruction. 

References

Murray, R., & Holbert, K. E. (2014). Nuclear energy: an introduction to the concepts, systems, and applications of nuclear processes. Elsevier.

Nagatani, K., Kiribayashi, S., Okada, Y., Otake, K., Yoshida, K., Tadokoro, S., ... & Kawatsuma, S. (2013). Emergency response to the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants using mobile rescue robots. Journal of Field Robotics, 30(1), 44-63.

Ohno, K., Nakamoto, Y., Okuyama, C., Higashi, T., & Endo, K. (2016). Promotion of measures to counter radiation health concerns by a small booklet. Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 57(supplement 2), 1777-1777.

Reason, J. (2016). Managing the risks of organizational accidents. Routledge.

Siegrist, M., & Visschers, V. H. (2013). Acceptance of nuclear power: The Fukushima effect. Energy Policy, 59, 112-119.

Steinhauser, G., Brandl, A., & Johnson, T. E. (2014). Comparison of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents: a review of the environmental impacts. Science of the Total Environment, 470, 800-817.

Twidell, J., & Weir, T. (2015). Renewable energy resources. Routledge.

Zinkle, S. J., & Was, G. S. (2013). Materials challenges in nuclear energy. Acta Materialia, 61(3), 735-758.

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