The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion




Скачать 424.68 Kb.
НазваниеThe government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion
страница7/23
Дата08.10.2012
Размер424.68 Kb.
ТипДокументы
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   23

Part II: Radiation and Human Health

Impact of Low-level Radiation


Instructions providing all the information necessary for a living organism to grow and live reside in every cell of the body of the organism. These instructions are stored in a molecule called the DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic acid, whose shape is like a twisted ladder, called a “double-helix”. The DNA molecules are stranded together like letters in a sentence, and these strands are called genes.

Genes are packed into thread like structures, called chromosomes. Genes are the very building blocks of life, responsible for every inherited characteristic in all species—plants, animals and humans. Most genes are the same in all human beings, which is why all human beings are similar. A small number of genes are different, and it is these which are responsible for each human being’s unique features.

Even at low doses, radiation can have multiple effects.

  1. The effects of radiation on the human body are the same like the biological mechanisms at work during the normal aging process. Therefore, radiation exposure causes illnesses among people 10-15 years earlier than would normally be expected due to the normal aging process. Examples include premature ageing of the eye and development of cataract at a younger age, neurophysiologic effects, increased likelihood of developing metabolic diseases like diabetes, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and hypertension at a younger age, reduced ability to recover from diseases, decreased ability to cope physically with habitat variations, etc.

  2. Radiation can damage the foetus if a pregnant woman is exposed to radiation. It can cause death of the foetus, or it may so happen that radiation kills a particular group of cells that were going to become the left arm, or the septum of the heart. This results in congenital anomalies (birth defects).

  3. Radiation can induce mutation, that is, a chemical change, in the DNA molecule, thereby causing a change in the gene. If this mutation takes place in the reproductive gene, then it can cause the most unexpected changes in the offspring. This can be understood from the fact that radiation from the atmosphere and earth’s crust (called background radiation) is responsible for thousands of genetically inherited diseases, like cystic fibrosis.
Low-level Radiation and Cancer

All non-reproductive cells of the body have regulatory genes that control the rate of cell division. If a regulatory gene is exposed to radiation, and it mutates, then the cell may become carcinogenic. However, cancer does not develop right away; there is a long incubation period which can be from 2 to 40 years. Then one day, instead of the cell dividing into two daughter cells in a regulated fashion, it begins to divide in a random, uncontrolled fashion into millions and trillions of daughter cells, creating a cancer. All kinds of cancers can be caused by exposure to radiation, from cancer of the upper digestive tract and lungs to bone cancer and leukaemia.

Kakodkar and other conmen deputed by the DAE to hoodwink ordinary people have been arguing that since radiation is used to cure cancer, how can it cause cancer? It is true that in cancer therapy, a high dose of radiation is directed at cancerous cells to kill them. But while doing so, doctors are taking a risk. It is possible that the nearby normal cells may get damaged. As mentioned earlier, the body's cellular repair mechanism tries to repair the damaged cells, but it may or may not succeed. Even if it fails and the cells become cancerous, it is going to take many years for the secondary cancer to develop.

Impact of High Dose of Radiation


Exposure to a high dose of radiation, usually above 1 sievert, can result in what is called radiation sickness, whose symptoms include nausea, weakness, hair loss, skin burns, blood disorders and diminished organ function. If the dose is high enough, it can cause immediate death. It is estimated that 50% of the population would die in a month if exposed to a whole body dose of 5 sieverts over a period of a few hours.

No Safe Dose of Radiation


Over the past several decades, many official radiation protection groups have given recommendations regarding “acceptable” or “reasonable” levels of radiation exposure for the general public and nuclear workers. Many of these recommendations have been accepted by countries around the world and incorporated into their regulations. In the United States, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidelines state that nuclear plant operators cannot legally expose the general public to more than 100 millirems per person annually. Rules are more lenient for nuclear workers: they are allowed a yearly exposure of 5,000 millirems. In India, the standards set by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board are that workers must not be exposed to more than 2000 millirems a year averaged over five consecutive years (and not more than 3000 millirems in any single year).

However, today there is a preponderance of scientific evidence to show that even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer and other health problems and there is no threshold below which exposure can be viewed as harmless. In the words of Dr. John W. Gofman, Professor Emeritus of Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California, Berkeley, who received the 1992 Right Livelihood Award for his pioneering work on the health effects of low level radiation:

(T)he evidence on radiation producing cancer is beyond doubt. I've worked fifteen years on it, and so have many others. It is not a question any more: radiation produces cancer, and the evidence is good all the way down to the lowest doses ... Scientists who support these nuclear plants—knowing the effects of radiation ... deserve trials for murder.14

Today, the evidence is so overwhelming that numerous scientific bodies have come to the same conclusion:15

  • US National Council on Radiation Protection: “Every increment of radiation exposure produces an incremental increase in the risk of cancer.”

  • US Nuclear Regulatory Commission: “Any amount of radiation may pose some risk for causing cancer.”

  • The US Environmental Protection Agency: “… any exposure to radiation poses some risk, i.e. there is no level below which we can say an exposure poses no risk.”

In short, there is no safe dose of radiation. To quote Dr. John William Gofman once again: “Any permitted radiation is a permit to commit murder.”

Internal and External Radiation


Even though the above medical facts are well established for decades now, many pro-nuclear intellectuals continue to claim that anti-nuclear activists are exaggerating the impact of low-level radiation on human health. One of their pet arguments is that there is nothing to fear from radiation releases from nuclear power plants, as they are much less than background radiation (naturally occurring radiation that is constantly present in the environment).

This is a strange argument. We obviously cannot do anything about background radiation, and therefore cannot prevent a certain number of people from getting cancers due to this. But should we not try and ensure that this number does not increase due to man-made radiation?

However, the most important mistake made in the above arguments is that these intellectuals confuse external radiation with internal radiation. Dr. Helen Caldicott explains the difference:

The former is what populations were exposed to when the atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945; their profound and on-going medical effects are well documented.

Internal radiation, on the other hand, emanates from radioactive elements which enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Hazardous radionuclides such as iodine-131, caesium-137, and other isotopes currently being released in the sea and air around Fukushima ... (after) they enter the body, these elements—called internal emitters—migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone and brain, where they continuously irradiate small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years, can induce uncontrolled cell replication—that is, cancer. Further, many of the nuclides remain radioactive in the environment for generations, and ultimately will cause increased incidences of cancer and genetic diseases over time.16

In other words, when you have internal contamination, it is like having a Fukushima nuclear reactor at the cellular level!
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   23

Похожие:

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconEnergy conversion means that energy can change form. For example, wind energy can be converted to electrical energy to run a motor and then into mechanical
«конверсия» или «трансформация» энергии. Например, энергия ветра может быть превращеня в электрическую энергию, используемую для...
The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconInvestigation and design of a self-sustained energy mini-Scale Energy Generation System

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconEnergy se r vices providing Effective Rural Energy Services to the Poor

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconEnergy/Resources Long timeframe to solving energy needs

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconThe Energy Solution Revolution

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconPerpetual Motion vs. “Working Machines Creating Energy from Nothing” With a Discussion of Perpetual Extraction and Emission of Real em energy from the Vacuum

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconRapid and Decisive Solution of the World Energy Crisis and Global Warming

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconTopic: New York Tackles Climate Change: Promoting Renewable Energy and Capping Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconMoving to a clean energy future • Working together for you and all Australians

The government of India is promoting nuclear energy as a solution to the country’s future energy needs and is embarking on a massive nuclear energy expansion iconCourting future resource conflict: the shortcomings of Western response strategies to new energy vulnerabilities

Разместите кнопку на своём сайте:
Библиотека


База данных защищена авторским правом ©lib.znate.ru 2014
обратиться к администрации
Библиотека
Главная страница