The Japan recent nuclear crisis is described as the biggest nuclear disaster of recent times. This disaster occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant where workers are still trying to control the disaster up to date. This is despite the effects of the disaster being experienced on the long term. The current situation in Japan is such that low levels of radioactive materials have been found in most water supplies in Tokyo. Workers from the plant are also at risk of exposure to radioactive material at the plant.
Effects of radioactive materials
Radioactive elements such as strontium enter into the body through the lungs in both heating and drinking substances containing these elements. “There are two types of radiation that are ionizing radiation and de-ionizing radiation”. (Proceedings of the International Conference on Non-Ionizing Radiation). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the recent nuclear crisis in Japan is in dire need for control measures to reduce further health crisis. This is because, the effects of the crisis may not be felt on the short term but in the long term aspects, the effects are said to be catastrophic. According to Abbot, There were two main substances that were released from the nuclear crisis which were iodine and cesium (pp. 105-121). Cesium has been found to quickly absorb into the food chain and eventually in the ecosystem. “The prolonged exposure to this substance leads to health complications such as breathing problems and the alteration of the genetic makeup in human body”.
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Individuals exposed to radioactive substances are also at risk of developing a certain type of cancer an example of this being thyroid cancer in children. This is as a result of the continued and slow absorption of these radioactive elements into the body. In a country where there are numerous power plants such as Japan, there is a possibility of an even worse disaster if proper measures are not taken to control the same. This leaves us with the question regarding the amount of damage that would be incurred if such a repeat of events was to happen (Archives of Environmental Health).
The Chernobyl disaster was one of the worst disasters in the nuclear world and history. This accident happened on April the 26th 1986 in Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine. This nuclear disaster led to the release of large quantities of radioactive material into the atmosphere. This incidence is considered the worst incidence in history due to the high casualty level. According to the committee set up to investigate the cause of the disaster, the accident was caused by a sudden power output surge. According to Dyatlov, this resulted to an attempt by workers to apply the emergency shutdown which led to even greater power spikes which eventually led to an explosion on the power plant (Dyatlov, 2003).
Comparison between Fukushima disaster and Chernobyl disaster
This accident raised the question regarding the safety measures in the nuclear power industry. There were estimated thirty-one deaths which are directly linked to the explosion. An additional sixty-four death are reported to have occurred as a result of prolonged exposure to radioactive material. However, it is not appropriate to compare Chernobyl disaster and the Fukushima disaster. The Chernobyl disaster was much greater and its impact was felt over a prolonged period of time. It is estimated that the Fukushima incidence is only one-tenth of the Chernobyl disaster. This estimation might turn out to be even much less due to the prevailing circumstances.
Safety measures on nuclear power plants
The world especially the U.S. has realized the importance of averting potential hazards and nuclear criticalities that lead to radioactive emissions into the atmosphere (Proceedings of the International Conference on Non-Ionizing Radiation). There has been three major nuclear crisis or disasters in history such as the Mile Island disaster, the Chernobyl disaster and the Fukushima disaster. The key safety concern is regarding the control of radioactive emissions into the atmosphere. Some of the recently developed safety improvement measures are such as high-quality design and construction of power plants, comprehensive monitoring and regular testing to detect operational errors, provision to confine the effects of radioactive emissions and redundant diverse control system to control damages and prevent significant radioactive emissions.