Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Handling radiation from nuclear reactor explosion

So recently, we've been shocked by the 9.0 earth-quake following with huge tsunami (about 8 meters high) in Japan, and just now i heard that, there are rumors about some nuclear reactors have been exploded spreading massive amount of radioactive material in the air. Countries near-by including Malaysia have been warned to stay calm with the situation and take protective measures due to this circumstances. We are talking about some serious business here, between Life and Death... so i do hope, friends out there take this problem seriously and aware of the consequence that might occur.

video : Tsunami hits Japan

Radiation is a form of energy. It travels as rays, waves or energetic particles through air, water or solid materials.

Radioactive materials are composed of atoms that are unstable. As unstable atoms become stable, they release excess energy (called "radiation") through a process called radioactive decay or radioactivity. The time required for a radioactive substance to lose 50 percent of its activity by decay is called its half-life. (teringat tyme blajar fizik form 5 dlu, cikgu Surian)

The most common types of radiation emissions:

Alpha particles can be shielded by a sheet of paper or by human skin. But if materials that emit alpha particles are inhaled, ingested or enter your body through a cut in your skin, they can be very harmful.

Beta particles cannot be stopped by a sheet of paper. Some beta particles can be stopped by human skin, but some need a thicker shield (like wood) to stop them. Just like alpha particles, beta particles can also cause serious damage to your health if they are inhaled or swallowed. For example, some materials that emit beta particles might be absorbed into your bones and cause damage if ingested.

Gamma rays are the most penetrating of these three types of radiation. Gamma rays will penetrate paper, skin, wood, and other substances. Like alpha and beta particles, they are also harmful if inhaled, ingested or absorbed. To protect yourself from gamma rays, you need a shield at least as thick as a concrete wall. This type of radiation causes severe damage to your internal organs. (X-rays fall into this category, but they are less penetrating than gamma rays.)

Take the following action to reduce the effect:

Staying inside, with doors and windows closed, provides short-term protection from breathing in radioactive material in the air. It also gives protection from direct radiation from radioactive material in the air and on the ground.

Evacuation avoids relatively high, short-term exposure, by removing people from the affected area. As with other island communities, evacuation is unlikely to be an option for Jersey in these circumstances.

Stable iodine
Iodine collects in the thyroid gland. If it is appropriate taking stable (non-radioactive) iodine tablets prevents this happening with radioactive iodine released in reactor accidents. Taking stable iodine is combined with sheltering or evacuation.

Radioactive material deposited on soil or grass, finds its way into food through crops and animals. It might be necessary to ban milk or other foods containing too much radioactive material.

Detection and monitoring
Radioactive material in an area can be measured in various ways, and there are a number of organisations and people with the specialist knowledge, skills and equipment to monitor these measurements.



No comments: