Nuclear power plants have come to stay despite their potential to cause health hazards, and, all the more so, when something like the Chernobyl happens. This is because the humanity is badly in need of atomic energy for survival in the context of depletion of many other natural energy sources. The following is an analytical overview based on expert opinions on the pros and cons of having nuclear power plants as a major source of energy.
Nuclear-power technology produces materials that are active in emitting radiation and are, therefore, called radioactive.’ These materials can come into contact with people principally through small releases during routine plant operation, accidents in nuclear power plants, accidents in transporting radioactive materials, and escape of radioactive wastes from confinement systems. Since natural radiation is estimated to cause about 1% of all cancers, radiation due to nuclear technology should eventually increase our cancer risk by 0.002% (one part in 50,000), thereby reducing our lifeexpectancy by less than one hour, according to Prof. Bernard Cohen, of the University of Pittsburgh Experts say that there has been much misunderstanding on genetic diseases due to radiation. The risks are somewhat less than the cancer risks; for example, among the Japanese A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there have been about 400 extra cancer deaths among the 100,000 people in the follow-up group, but there have been no extra genetic diseases among their progeny. Since there is no possible way for the cells in our bodies to distinguish between natural radiation and radiation from the nuclear industry, the latter cannot cause new types of genetic diseases or deformities, or threaten the ‘human race.’
(Read the full part of this article from the May Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)