USING RADIOACTIVITY One of the greatest events of twentieth century was the use of radioisotope as

1100 WordsApr 23, 20195 Pages
USING RADIOACTIVITY One of the greatest events of twentieth century was the use of radioisotope as a source of energy and as medical and industrial tools. Using radioactivity has been a global issue owing to its very nature. When it is used for peaceful purposes, it is a triumph of science because it can solve energy problems in the form of nuclear energy but the side effects in the form of harmful radiation and harmful radioactive waste is the real limitations of science. This essay will attempt to analyze the application of science in the use of radioactivity and radioactive isotopes and how science is not so effective in dealing with the side effects. What is radioactivity? Radioactive isotopes are heavy nuclei of certain elements…show more content…
Let us first understand the nature of the waste and therefore the disposal process. Radioactive wastes are hazardous as an exposure to them could be lethal to human beings. Since some of the radioisotopes have long half life, they will take long time to naturally become harmless. The quantum of exposure (dose ´ duration of exposure) decides the deleterious effects that may result. Exposure may occur to particular organs locally or to the whole body. Sufficiently high exposure can lead to cancer. There are three type of radioactive waste: ‘low-level’ , intermediate level and ‘high-level’ radioactive waste. High-level consists of materials from nuclear reactors or nuclear weapon. This waste contains uranium, plutonium and other radioactive elements. Through natural decay, they would take about 1000 years to become harmless while transuranic would take about 500,000 years. It is a natural limitation. The radioactivity and the half-life of the isotopes in the low-level radioactive waste are significantly low.If they are stored for 10 to 50 years most of the isotopes would decay to a normal level and then they can be disposed. Surprisingly, low-level waste have some beneficial effect on plants and animals,(Devaney, J. J., Phys. Today, January 1998, p. 87). The HLW

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