Nuclear reactions are used in weapons of war and in the generation of electrical power. This use of nuclear energy has raised the possibility of nuclear radiation from the weapons or from malfunctions of nuclear power plants, and this radiation can cause damage to animal and plant life by changing DNA. Because of the wide-spread damage that can be caused by nuclear reactions, these reactions may be one of the plagues that are prophesied for the last days.

The only use of nuclear weapons during war was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. In addition to deaths from bomb-blast, falling debris, and fire, thousands were killed by radiation from the  bombs.

After World War II, engineers devised methods of developing electrical power using the heat from nuclear reactions, and many countries now use some form of nuclear power. Nuclear power plants pose the possibility of relatively large-scale explosions, as was the case at the Chernobyl power plant in 1986, or the meltdown or destruction of the rods of uranium, as was the case in 1979 at the Three Mile Island power plant, and the partial meltdown that occurred at Fukushima in 2011 due to an earthquake.

Another problem with nuclear power is the disposal of uranium rods that are no longer used in reactors. Radiation from these rods has half-lives of many years, and the rods must be stored in a safe way. The storage of these rods has raised serious political problems as well as health questions. One plan that is being debated is the storage of rods at Yucca Mountain.

Scientists are studying the effects of nuclear radiation and radiation from other sources, and here are links to some of their reports.
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) have developed a new tool to help surgeons use X-rays to track devices used in "minimally invasive" surgical procedures while also limiting the patient's exposure to radiation from the X-rays.
Amid increasing fear of overexposure to radiation from CT scans, a panel of experts has recommended more research on the health effects of medical imaging and ways to reduce unnecessary CT tests, as well as industry standardization of CT machines.
The results of two studies in the August 15 issue of JAMA report on the psychological status of workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plants in Japan several months after the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, and the amount of internal radiation exposure among residents of a city north of the power plant that experienced a meltdown.

2 Comments (click to add your comment):

Tyler Rowe said...

The first sentence doesn't make sense. To those who read this in the future, this is actually what it read:

"Nuclear reactions cause high heat, and if the reactions are not controlled, high explosive power or bomb-blast."

Another problem with your article is that you explain what a meltdown is and you describe two events where meltdowns have actually occured, but in the middle you put an event where there was no such meltdown. Chernobyl was a Russian RBMK Reactor. If you'd spend 5 minutes researching RBMK, you'd understand why it EXPLODED, and didn't "melt down." Keep in mind, Chernobyl's original purpose was to generate Plutonium for bombs, and generated electricity only as a guise.

You did state a fact that I will agree with: "The radiation from these rods has half-lives of many years, and the spent rods must be stored in a safe way." However, you forgot to mention that because they have a long halflife, the amount of radiation they give off is very low.

Before you write articles on nuclear power, please at least take the time to research the topics you are writing about.

Allen said...

Hi Tyler,

Thanks for your comments and feedback. The primary purpose of that page is to give information about nuclear radiation that provides a context for the science articles that I link from that page. The information I give on that page is sparse and not a detailed explanation of nuclear radiation.

I've rewritten that page, and if you find additional errors in the text, please let me know.