Radioactive Atoms was discovered by Antoine Henri Becquerel, in 1896. Since World War II, many industries such as electrical power generation- nuclear power plants, mining, biological and chemical research, military nuclear weapons, consumer product development, medical diagnosis and treatment have integrated radioactivity in their procedures. These are sources of nuclear waste pollution. Radioactive waste is the high-energy particles of radioactive substances that pollute the air, water, or earth by human accident or by activity.
Radioactive waste pollution on earthConsequences of Radioactive Waste Pollution:Radioactive waste can be low-level or high-level; it may have low levels or high levels of radioactivity per mass or weight or volume.Though majority of the waste is of low-level, its effects may remain toxic for centuries and is a serious health hazard and environmental concern.Radioactive waste can spread rapidly over a vast area from any radioactive dump. Assessing the effects of radioactive elements on humans and other creatures is a difficult task, as the symptoms may take decades to appear in the form of critical illnesses or cancer.Even a small exposure to radiation can have serious health consequences, such as increasing the risk of cell and tissue damage, DNA and other vital organs; genetic mutations, programmed cell death, cancers, birth defects, leukemia, and disorders of reproductive, endocrine and immune system.Exposure from high-level radioactive waste can cause cancer, abnormalities or even death depending upon the time of exposure and amount of radiation absorbed.Radioactive chemical waste leaches into the earth's surface and enter the ecosystem through plants. It enters the human body through food chain or by inhalation.
nuclear wasteWays of Reducing Radioactive Pollution:Since radioactivity diminishes over time, to lose its hazardous effects, the waste needs to be isolated for a period of time. This can be hours to years for low-level medical or industrial radioactive wastes and centuries for high level radioactive waste from nuclear industries like power plants, nuclear weapons or other high energy waste disposals.For short lived, low-level waste, segregation and storage are the two main approaches;for high-level radioactive wastes, deep burial or recycle of the nuclear chemicals are the approaches.