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Effects of Nuclear Waste – Mostly Negative for Life

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Nuclear Waste is generally a variety of solids,liquids and gases which are produced during the generation of nuclear energy during fission,mining of uranium,nuclear research and weapons production. They are normally classified as low-level, medium-level or high-level wastes, according to the amount and types of radioactivity in them.Nuclear Waste is radioactive and that is the primary cause of the negative effects on human health and bodies.Note Radiation in small amounts do not cause any lasting damage as humans are exposed to natural radiation from radioactive deposits occurring naturally beneath the earth.However large doses or prolonged exposure to moderate radiation can lead to permanent problems and even lead to death.Note Nuclear Storage Policies are a complete mess around the world with no permanent geological sites being approved.One of the primary reasons for the radioactive emission from the damaged  Japanese Nuclear Plant was the storage of spent fuel rods in pools near the Nuclear Reactors.The dangers of Radiation from Nuclear Waste are not negligible with thousands of tons being transported over land and sea and thousands being stored in temporary structures.

Stochastic Health Effects

Stochastic effects are associated with long-term, low-level (chronic) exposure to radiation. (“Stochastic” refers to the likelihood that something will happen.) Increased levels of exposure make these health effects more likely to occur, but do not influence the type or severity of the effect.Cancer is considered by most people the primary health effect from radiation exposure.Other stochastic effects also occur. Radiation can cause changes in DNA, the “blueprints” that ensure cell repair and replacement produces a perfect copy of the original cell. Changes in DNA are called mutations.

Non-Stochastic Health Effects

Non-stochastic effects appear in cases of exposure to high levels of radiation, and become more severe as the exposure increases. Short-term, high-level exposure is referred to as ‘acute’ exposure.Medical patients receiving radiation treatments often experience acute effects, because they are receiving relatively high “bursts” of radiation during treatment.

Unsafe Amounts of Radiation

Exposure
(rem)
Health EffectTime to Onset
(without treatment)
5-10changes in blood chemistry
50nauseahours
55fatigue
70vomiting
75hair loss2-3 weeks
90diarrhea
100hemorrhage
400possible deathwithin 2 months
1,000destruction of intestinal lining
internal bleeding
and death1-2 weeks
2,000damage to central nervous system
loss of consciousness;minutes
and deathhours to days

Source – EPA

Summary

Nuclear Waste Effect is highly negative to life particularly human beings if it is not transported and stored carefully.Radiation  has both short term and long term effects on human health as is visible during cancer treatments like chemotherapy.The inadequate policy handling of Nuclear Waste in almost all countries has made Nuclear Waste a buring issue.The high costs and difficulty in find Nuclear Storage Sites has made the decision makers go into a state of coma with regards to Nuclear Waste Policy.Obama has canceled funding to Yucca mountain after more than 30 years since it was conceived.The 60,000 tons of Nuclear Waste on USA soil are a potential source of disaster.

PG

Abhishek Shah

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