Insurance companies began excluding nuclear events from coverage in thelate 1950s. Standard homeowners’ insurance policies now contain a nuclearhazards clause excluding from coverage losses from nuclear events. So docommercial and farm property policies, auto insurance policies and inland marine policies, among others.
The nuclearhazard clause means that if you discover that your property has radioactivecontamination when you go to sell it, you can’t file a claim with yourhomeowner’s insurance. You would have to sue the entity that caused thecontamination to recover your losses. (1)Risk ordanger to human health or the environment posed by radiation emanating from theatomic nuclei of a given substance, or the possibility of an uncontrolledexplosion originating from a fusion or fission reaction of atomic nuclei.
NUCLEARHAZARDS Radioactive substances are present in nature They undergo naturalradioactive decay in which unstable isotopes spontaneously give out Fast movingparticles, high energy radiations or both, at a fixed rate until a new stableisotope is formed The isotopes release energy either in the form of Gamma rays( high energy Electromagnetic radiation) Alpha particles & beta particles(ionization particles) Alpha particles : fast moving positively chargedparticles Beta particles: high speed negatively charged electrons Theseionization radiations have variable penetration power.(2) NUCLEARHAZARDS Alpha particles can be interrupted by a sheet of paper Beta particlescan be blocked by a piece of wood or a few mm of aluminum sheet Gamma rays canpass through paper and wood but can be stopped by concrete wall, lead slabs orwater Sources of radioactivity Natural sources Anthropogenic (man-made)sources.(3) The technical assessmentof the potential spread of radioactivity into the human environment is based onan elaborate life-cycle analysis (LCA) from cradle to grave of the completesystem of industrial processes which makes nuclear power possible. This LCAuncovered a number of uncertainties and unknowns of great importance withrespect to the viability and safety of nuclear power now and in the future. Inthe first part of this study the present state of the nuclear energy system isbriefly described in connection with the potential pathways of radioactivedischarges.
The analysis follows the course of events involving the mobilizedradioactivity and especially the human-made radioactivity. Adequate solutionsto immobilize and isolate the human-made radioactivity from the biosphere existonly in cyberspace. All anthropogenic radioactivity ever generated is presentin mobile state within the human environment. The nuclear process chain is stillopen ended. (4) Thesources of radioactivity are both natural and man-made.
Thenatural sources include:Cosmicrays from outer space. The quantity depends on altitude and latitude; it ismore at higher latitudes and high altitudes.Emissionsfrom radioactive materials from the Earth’s crust. (5) Man-madesources include the nuclear wastes produced during mining and processing ofradioactive ores, use of radioactive in power plants, use of radioactiveisotopes in medical technology (X-ray machines, radioisotopes used inmedicine), industrial include wastes from nuclear reactors, research application: radioactive fallouts duringnuclear weapons testing, in a nuclear power plant, any leak or accident takingplace emit nuclear radiation, in either case it results in nuclear hazard,nuclear tests conducted under the round or under oceans which also releaseradiation, uranium mining and milling, nuclear reactors and reprocessing ofnuclear fuel cause nuclear pollution.(6)The effects of radioactive pollutantsdepend upon half-life, energy releasing capacity, rate of diffusion and rate ofdeposition of the contaminant. Various atmospheric conditions and climaticconditions such as wind, temperature and rainfall also determine their effects.All organisms are affected from radiationpollution, and the effects are extremely dangerous. The effects may be somatic(individual exposed is affected) or genetic (future generations) damage.
Theeffects are cancer, shortening of life span and genetic effects or mutations.Some of the possible effects are listed as under. (7)Radiations may break chemical bonds, such as DNAin cells. This affects the genetic make-up and control mechanisms. The effectscan be instantaneous, prolonged or delayed types.
Even it could be carried tofuture generations. Exposureat low doses of radiations (100-250 rads), men do not die but begin to sufferfrom fatigue, nausea, vomiting and loss of hair. But recovery is possible.
Exposure at higher doses (400-500 rads), thebone marrow is affected, blood cells are reduced, natural resistance andfighting capacity against germs is reduced, blood fails to clot, and theirradiated person soon dies of infection and bleeding.Higher irradiation doses (10,000 rads) kill theorganisms by damaging the tissues of heart, brain, etc.Workers handling radioactive wastes get slow butcontinuous irradiation and in course of time develop cancer of different types.Through food chain also, radioactivity effectsare experienced by man.But the most significant effect of radioactivityis that it causes long range effects, affecting the future of man and hence thefuture of our civilization. (8) Laboratorygenerated nuclear wastes should be disposed of safely and scientifically.
Nuclear powerplants should be located in areas after careful study of the geology of thearea, tectonic activity and meeting other established conditions.Appropriateprotection against occupational exposure.Leakage ofradioactive elements from nuclear reactors, careless use of radioactiveelements as fuel and careless handling of radioactive isotopes must beprevented.Safety measureagainst accidental release of radioactive elements must be ensured in nuclearplants. (9)Unlessabsolutely necessary, one should not frequently go for diagnosis by x-rays.Regularmonitoring of the presence of radioactive substance in high risk area should beensured.
Among the manyoptions for waste disposal, the scientists prefer to bury the waste in hundredsof meters deep in the earth’s crust is considered to be the best safety longterm option. (10)