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Nuclear Radiation- How Much dangerous It Is ? 

Nuclear Radiation- How Much dangerous It Is ?

Radiation effect ionizations in the molecules of living cells. These ionizations cause the elimination of electrons from the atoms, forming ions or charged atoms. The ions formed thus react with other atoms in the cell, which brings about damage. A classic example would be that of when a gamma ray passes through a cell, the water molecules near the DNA might be ionized and the ions might react with the DNA causing it to break.
Radiation happens naturally in our environment. Basically a person is always struck by 15,000 particles of radiation every second from natural sources, and an average medical X-ray involves being struck by 100 billion. It may seem to be very dangerous, though it is actually not. The probability for a particle of radiation entering a human body to cause a cancer or a genetic disease is only 1/ 30 million billion (30 quintillion). The damage caused by the low dose radiation what we receive everyday is rapidly repaired by the cells. But that is not the case in higher doses. The cells might not be able to repair the damage, and the cells may either be changed permanently or die. Though the body replaces the cells that die, cells changed permanently may go on to produce abnormal cells when they divide. In the right circumstance, these cells may become cancerous. Therefore the exposure to radiation is the origin of our increased risk in cancer.
When our whole body is exposed to higher doses of radiation, say greater than 100 rem , the cells cannot be replaced fast enough and tissues do not function. This results in a condition called radiation sickness . For instance, the intestinal lining is damaged to the point that it cannot perform its functions of intake of water and nutrients, and protecting the body against infection efficiently . The symptoms include nausea, diarrhea and general weakness. With even higher whole body doses (>300 rem), the body’s immune system is damaged and cannot fight off infection and disease. If medical attention is deprived at whole body doses say 400 rem, people will not survive for more than 60 days of the exposure, due to infections.
In the case of a person whose whole body receives a dose more than 1,000 rem, he/she will suffer vascular damage of vital blood providing systems for nervous tissue, such as the brain. At such high doses , the person stands no chance of surviving and will eventually die from a combination of all the reasons associated with lower doses and the vascular damage. There is a huge difference when radiation affects the whole body and only a part of the body. In most of the cases, consideration will be for radiation doses affecting the whole body.

It is difficult to calculate the risks associated with radiation. This is because most of the radiation exposures that humans receive are very close to environment. In most cases, the effects from radiation are not distinguishable from normal levels of those same effects. During the early days at the beginning of radiation use , the researchers and users of radiation were not as careful as we are today . The information from medical uses and from the survivors of the atomic bombs (ABS) in Japan, have given us most of what we know about radiation and its effects on humans. Risk estimates have their limitations though .
Very high radiation doses can destroy body functions and lead to death within 60 days, but such conspicuous deaths are in only 2% of accidents. Till date, the air pollution accident in 1952 in London recorded the largest number of such deaths. Of course the nuclear accidents are hypothetical and there are many much worse hypothetical accidents in other electricity generation technologies; e.g., there are hydroelectric dams in California whose sudden failure could cause 200,000 deaths.
Nuclear radiation has its share of benefits too. It is used in areas as diverse as medicine and engineering such as diagnosing and treating disease, finding cracks in concrete structures, monitoring the flow of rivers, measuring the thickness of paper and kitchen foil, sterilizing delicate medical equipment, finding the age of ancient remains and preserving food.
On the flip side, nuclear radiation can damage our cells causing burns, sickness, diarrhea and vomiting, infertility and sometimes death. Moderate exposure to the radiation will cause symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. It also raises the risk of cancer in the long-term. High levels of radiation potentially causes fatal damage to internal organs. It causes Skin cancer and eye cataract. The thyroid gland is susceptible to radioactive iodine which can destroy it. It also causes lung and breast cancer. The damage to intestinal tract lining will cause nausea, bloody vomiting and diarrhea. Reproductive organs are also affected. It damages the ovaries and eggs in women, prostate and testes in men. Severe loss of white blood cells leaves the victim more susceptible to infection. The Bone marrow is also damaged leading to leukemia or aplitic anemia.
Nuclear radiation can neither be increased, decreased nor turned off. We can’t decide as to how much nuclear radiation a radio active source gives off. The only thing we can do is to wait. We can cool it down, heat it up, blow it to bits or dissolve it in acid but we are unable to destroy the atoms themselves so we can never change the amount of radioactivity. Nuclear radiation is difficult to detect, impossible to change. Nuclear radiation can’t be seen, heard or felt and we can’t do anything to change it. So it is imperative to make sure radioactive substances are carefully controlled.It is virtually impossible to know that nuclear radiation is present unless we use special instruments .It will take years for us to know its presence till the ill effects of radiation becomes evident. As the amount of radiation given off cannot be changed it is desirable to keep the radioactive substance in a safe place.

Nuclear Radiation- How Much dangerous It Is ?


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