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Health: Cleaning Up after a Nuclear Disaster - Research Paper Example

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This essay is based on the unparalleled account of the nuclear crisis that was experienced in Fukushima Daiichi, Japan. It focuses on the due process of the cleanup with safety measure that should be applied during the cleanup…
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Health: Cleaning Up after a Nuclear Disaster

Download file to see previous pages... It will look at the protective measures to be put in place, how to deal with the contaminated materials and further prevention of the hazardous reactions, the general cost of the damage and its consequent clean-up and how best to keep radioactive materials without posing a risk to residents.
How expensive is the disaster, and what is the consequent cost of the cleanup? Nuclear disaster often poses serious health risk and similar economic damages to both the population and economy alike, which trickles down to their forthcoming generations. This, in itself, is an indicator of the extent to which the well-being of a nation is put at risk by such an occurrence. Besides this, the occurrence is usually accompanied by some other disasters such as earthquakes and the tsunami that could prove more costly than even the crisis itself. In Japan, the two disasters had the potential cost to the economy of around two hundred billion dollars. Roughly, the cost of controlling and eradicating the radioactive traces would be approximately ten billion dollars.
What are the effective steps to be employed in nuclear cleanup? Nuclear rays are hazardous in all spheres, and hence the need for maximum caution while carrying out the cleaning process. The exercise is supposed to be carried out fast enough so as not to affect those carrying it out and the public at large, using modern technological equipment such as robots and establishing completed areas, while restricting those incomplete to prevent the public from settling in. Nuclear radiation intensity usually decreases as the distance increases. This is due to the dilution by air leading to a decrease in their penetrating power. When carrying out the cleanup, the site of activity, as required, should be secluded. There should be a specific distance, as dictated by the potency of the rays, at which no person without protective gear should approach. Assessment of the potency and extent of the radiation is usually done by the international Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) which mandate is communication to the public on the nuclear occurrences. The radiation dose should at first be determined. For example, in Fukushima Daiichi, the exclusion zone is 20km. Another instance is the one that was created in Chernobyl in 1986 of around 20 miles all round the plant. Various factors are considered in designing a protective barrier. Radiation is classified into three classes depending on its origin. These comprise the alpha, beta and gamma rays. Their penetrating ability increases in the same order. Since these rays penetrate different materials ranging from light paper to thick walls, specific material, which cannot be penetrated, should be used in designing the walls. In deciding on the materials to be used, there is the need to verify the type of rays emitted and their intensity. Gamma rays are more penetrative to matter in comparison to the other two. Materials such as water and concrete can be used for protection against the neutron rays. For gamma shielding, elements such as lead and iron are preferred. What are some of the protective measures to be taken? Due to the nature of nuclear radiations, proper care should be taken during their handling. One of the safety measures is the eradication of a possibility of generation of the radiation. All possible sources of the radiations should be unveiled and carefully monitored for any possibilities of emission. For example, impurities in active chemical compounds that might lead to interactions causing radiations should ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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