FLASHBACK TO 1945
The Manhattan Project in World War 2 is about to release a new type of weapon, a new type of energy source where its power is so immense that it can obliterate every single living thing with just one blast – nuclear power. The explosion at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during the approaching end of the war has shown the public the destructive power it can possess, terrifying them. And for scientists, inspiring them.
It was later found that nuclear energy wasn’t limited only to use in the field of warfare, but it could also be used in the field of energy production. It has been proven to be a cleaner source of power, without any production of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. However, the by-product is far more dangerous one might think – radioisotopes from used fuel rods.
It may be very dangerous for people working in this field, but with proper safety measures, there should typically be no problem. But accidents can occur, either by carelessness, poor processes, or by circumstances beyond everybody’s control. It is the inevitable end result of the inability to control the energy created by nuclear fuel, and such accidents can lead to a nuclear meltdown, a very dangerous situation which releases very harmful radiation. This radioactive contamination may spread across different mediums such as land, air or water.
CAUSES OF RADIATION EXPOSURE
In 2011, the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan was severely hit by a tsunami following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. It caused a severe nuclear meltdown, releasing dangerous radioactive isotopes through land, sea and air. Due to the extensive nuclear damage it caused, it has been classified as a level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the highest recorded since the disaster at Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986. Disasters such as what happened at Chernobyl and Fukushima have brought about a myriad of health-related problems, primarily due to radiation.
THREE TYPES OF RADIATION
Radiation is the process of the travel of electromagnetic waves through vacuum or any form of matter. In nuclear terms, this refers to ionizing radiation, examples of which are alpha rays, beta rays and gamma rays.
These three types of ionizing radiation are being emitted by radioactive substances such as uranium, plutonium and its radioactive byproducts. Alpha rays can only penetrate through a few centimeters of air or a few millimeters of material of low density.
Though it may not affect you from the outside of your body, alpha radiation can be very dangerous if an alpha-emitter radioisotope has been ingested or inhaled. This can lead to extensive tissue damage far worse than what gamma rays and x-rays can do. Fortunately, alpha waves can be stopped through a sheet of paper.
Beta rays have more penetrating power than alpha waves and can be stopped with a sheet of plastic or sheet metal. Beta rays are sometimes used in radiation therapy in treating superficial tumors.
Gamma rays have the highest penetrating power among these three types of ionizing radiation. Since alpha and beta rays have electric charges and mass, and gamma rays do not, they penetrate much further. The only way to stop it is through using high density barrier material such as lead.
The Fukushima disaster has released a lot of this ionizing radiation over a short period of time, affecting people, animals and vegetation alike. Due to extensive amounts of radiation, people living within the vicinity are predisposed to suffering from different types of cancers. Some suffered from radiation poisoning that killed them instantly, including clean-up teams at the site itself.
One of the primary radioisotopes being released is cesium-137, a radioactive by-product of uranium and plutonium undergoing fission through the absorption of neutrons. It is a soft, silvery white metal. It is liquid at room temperature and has a half-life of 30 years. Eventually it decays to barium-137 through beta and gamma ray emission.
You can absorb cesium-137 by walking on contaminated soil, through contact with contaminated materials, breathing contaminated dust and consuming contaminated water or food. The presence of the radioisotope cannot be detected without the necessary equipment. You cannot see, smell or taste it that is why it is very important that you stay clear of suspicious radioactive areas.
Upon entering the body, cesium-137 can be very dangerous as it can cause a variety of cancers. Though the risk is higher in heavily contaminated areas or from nuclear disasters, you can still get a minimal dose of the substance that could lead to cancer later on in life. Higher amounts of exposure can lead to burns and death. However, it depends on the strength of the source, distance from the source, length of exposure and type of protection you are using.
The Fukushima disaster released 100 PetaBequerels (a lot) of cesium-137 into the atmosphere, meaning a wider area can be affected by the radioactive dust. It can spread as far as the wind takes it, depending on wind directions. Reports have confirmed that the radiation at Fukushima has spread across the Pacific, contaminating aquatic wildlife and food such as fish. Meanwhile, as of this writing, contaminated cooling water from the reactor is still seeping into the ground.
People have been alerted all throughout the region not to eat the sea creatures as they may be radioactive and if so can bring about serious health problems. This is more troubling than expected as the damage done by the disaster will last for a long period of time as radioactive substances take time to decay until they are stable.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM NUCLEAR FALLOUT
Clearly, nuclear disasters can occur at any time, and it is best to be prepared, especially if you live near a nuclear power plant. Taking initiative is a must and should start at home. But having protective clothing and equipment such as gas masks and suits is both expensive an impractical for most people.
One solution is to make use of natural zeolites that could help the body get rid of radioactive substances, from cesium-137 to even uranium-238. It is a variety of materials derived from volcanic ash. You can administer this into your body just by simply consuming it, it is safe and simple, and can be used with a cleanse program
Zeolites have been studied since the mid-18th century and have been used as radioactive cleaning solutions for some time. In fact, it has been used in the Three Mile Island incident of 1979. A new product called “Cesium Eliminator” is now on the market containing a blend of zeolites and other superfoods, and is reported to capture an average of 95.4% of cesium isotopes.
Nuclear radiation can bring about a lot of damages if not properly maintained and controlled. In case the inevitable happens, having knowledge about nuclear disasters and being prepared is a must. It will certainly save your life and your family’s as well.
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