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Energy effects sample essay

Radiation is a term used to refer to the energy that is emitted or even transferred in the form of particles, or waves through such means as the air, (Murray R. 1994). The energy that is emitted on the decay of a radioactive material is referred to as radionuclide. This energy affects the tissues that are living only on its absorption by the tissue. The radionuclides are known to be harmful to living tissue more so when inside any living thing since the released radiation can be absorbed immediately, (Cooper JR.

et. al, 2003). If not absorbed by an organism, they are still dangerous because they can be too close to be absorbed by a living tissue. The damage that can be inflicted on the human body depends on several factors. These include the some of the following. 1. If the source of radiation is outside or inside the human body. 2. The specific type of radiation that the body has been exposed to for example beta, alpha, x-rays or gamma rays. 3. The quantity of radiation that is involved. 4.

Where the source of radiation is inside the human body, damage caused will be influenced by its location, the period of time it stays in that body part and the type of body organ that absorbs this radiation. The different sources of radioactivity in the environment There are two main sources of radioactivity in the environment, (Murray R. 1994). These are natural sources and manmade sources. Manmade sources; The various activities carried out by man may involve the utilization of materials that are radioactive. For example the uses of such materials for medical purposes like the treatment and diagnosis of cancer.

Other man made sources include manufactured goods smoke detectors, mining of natural gas and oil, severe accidents like Chernobyl generation of energy, burning coal and testing of nuclear bombs. Natural sources; the environment naturally contains ninety two elements and some of these are radioactive. Such radioactivity is mainly found in construction materials, soil, rocks, human body, and foods. Cosmic radiation that arises from the sun may also contribute to radiation naturally. The different pathways for the release of radioactive material into the environment

Radioactive materials may move to the environment through different pathways. By appreciating these pathways, it becomes possible for the relevant parties to take corrective actions that may avoid or block the movement or even the exposure of these radionuclides to the environment. Atmosphere Radionuclides may be released through human activities into the air, or even created by natural processes for example through the interaction of nitrogen with cosmic radiation in the atmosphere to generate carbon-14 which is radioactive. This brings radio active material in the environment, (Cooper JR. et. al 2003). Water

Water is also another pathway through which radioactive material may be released in the environment. Radionuclides may be released to water bodies through seepage, erosion or human activities like mining, the release of liquids that are radioactive in to lakes, rivers, sewers or ground water, (Murray R. 1994). Any radionuclides that are able to reach surface water or even ground water are moved along with the water while some of it is deposited on the nearby rock or soil. If the radionuclides are water soluble, they successfully dissolve in to the water and therefore swiftly flow with the rest of the water in to the environment.

In addition, the radionuclides may have a high ability to adhere to the immediate surfaces of soil or rocks over which the water is flowing. This then means that as the water flows, they are left behind on the rock surfaces or on the soil. Food chain The radioactive matter carried by water or through the air, may fin its way to the food chain. For instance, plats may absorb radionuclides from the water just like they absorb minerals. In the same way, animals may drink water that may contain dissolved radioactive materials, (Cooper JR. et. al 2003).

The materials may remain in the bodies of these animals. In cases where radionuclides settle on plants, animals may feed on such plants and hence ingest the harmful radionuclides. The animals and plants eventually are consumed by human beings. Conclusion Radioactivity in the environment in which various living things live, results from two main sources. These are natural sources and manmade sources. Radioactivity regardless of its source is dangerous and hazardous when exposed to living tissue, the radiations move through various pathways in to the environment.

These include the food chain, the atmosphere and water. The radioactive material may find their way to the human body through the skin, inhalation, and ingestion among other pathways. Since radioactivity is known to be hazardous, it should be controlled and minimized especially where it results from man made sources.


Cooper JR. et. al (2003), Radioactive Releases in the Environment, John Wiley & Sons Limited Murray R. (1994), Understanding Radioactive Waste, Battlelle Press, Columbus, Ohio.

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