A Comprehensive Essay on Nuclear Hazards

Nuclear energy is a major source of clean power everywhere in the world. It is an efficient power source, as it produces less CO2 and operates for a longer period of time. 

A strong nuclear energy program of a country is essential for energy security and national prosperity. Nuclear power plants are a complex set of safety and security features. So an uncontrolled reaction can result in widespread air and water contamination. It could also result in hazardous land pollution in case of improper decomposition. 

These wastes can remain radioactive for thousands of years and pose dangers to human health. The radiation release associated with nuclear disaster causes significant acute and chronic problems over a wide geographic area over longer periods of time.


It refers to the incidents involving the release of nuclear radiation from radioactive materials and exposure of the general public or the natural environment. The nuclear hazards primarily affect public health due to direct exposure to radioactive materials, inhalation or ingestion of contaminated food, water etc. Long-term exposure to radioactive materials in the environment can lead to acute or chronic health and environmental damage.

A Comprehensive Essay on Nuclear Hazards and Their Effects on Ecology

Radiations emitted due to hazards in nuclear facilities can result in mutations in DNA, burns and radiation sickness, hair loss etc.  


There are the following reasons of nuclear hazards; 

Nuclear Accidents: Nuclear energy is environmentally safe and a potential source of energy. If nuclear facilities producing nuclear energy are not put under strict safety measures, there are chances that nuclear accidents may occur. Nuclear plants have huge amounts of radioactive material for generation of nuclear energy. The radioactive elements, if they escape into the environment, can be fatal for human health. If nuclear power plants  operate with flawed design, then too nuclear power plant accidents occur. For e.g., Chernobyl Nuclear accident, 1986, Ukraine.

Nuclear Waste Handling: Low level and high level wastes are two categories of radioactive nuclear wastes. None can degrade or treat these wastes biologically or chemically. There are only two ways of disposing of these wastes 

  1. By storing them in closed containers
  2. Disposing them at remote locations.

Mining of Nuclear Fuels: Mining and extracting nuclear fuels can turn into a nuclear hazard, in case of improper handling. Mining increases exposure to humans by moving radio materials from below the Earth’s surface to the top. Exposing the natural environment to radioactive elements during mining also increases hazard risks.

Spilling of Radioactive Elements: Spilling occurs due to marine accidents. These accidents occur due to accidents of ships carrying nuclear materials and radioactive elements. Spilling in water bodies causes harmful effects on marine life, contaminates water resources. Contaminated water supply in households can have drastic effects on human health.

Radiation Based Tests: The use of radiation occurs in several medical therapies such as Chemotherapies. Exposure to medical based radiotherapies leads to deaths and other complications. Radioactive elements leaking out of medical facilities can cause fatal nuclear hazards.

Human and ecological effects of nuclear hazards

Nuclear hazards cause the liberation of large amounts of radiation in the environment.  

It is essential to contain nuclear material and facilities having nuclear materials safely. The harmful effects of nuclear hazards include:

  • Radioactive materials released from nuclear hazards cause mutations in the DNA. The genetic makeup of future generations affect due to these mutations. It leads to several incurable birth defects.
  • Radiations can kill essential flora and fauna, toxic and critical species. It results in huge damage to biodiversity.
  • Different kinds of radiation can directly harm humans, such as burns, miscarriages, cancer, bone defects, eye diseases etc. Even a small exposure to radiation can cause adverse effects. Damages that occur over longer periods are spread over for generations.
  • Nuclear wastes and nuclear elements can affect natural resources such as land, soil, forests, water bodies like rivers, ponds, oceans. 
  • Contamination of natural resources affects a large number of people living in urban as well as rural areas.
  • If nuclear accident sites do not treat and manage properly, that can contaminate water and soil in that region.
  • Children are at particular risk from nuclear radiations. High doses of radiation increase cancer risk early in the life of children. Lifetime cancer risk significantly increases among children due to exposure to radiation.
  • Nuclear hazards increase the pressure on land as soil and water resources are contaminated. Therefore lesser land is available for agricultural purposes. The microorganisms present in land and soil also died due to insufficient oxygen which reduces soil fertility.
  • Nuclear hazards also reduce human immunity. This makes people vulnerable to infections. It further increases the chances of disease risk in the population. 

Ways to mitigate harmful effects of nuclear hazards 

Nuclear hazards can pose serious risks to the environment, humans, animal and plant life. There are the following ways to mitigate harmful effects of nuclear hazards; 

  • Robust design and construction of nuclear reactors can save during operation of the reactor.
  • Medical devices involving nuclear fuel  should be used with caution to prevent any undesirable exposure to nuclear material.
  • Before carrying out any operations in nuclear facilities, an expert should ensure that there is no leakage. 
  • Experts should regularly monitor those areas that are prone to nuclear hazards.

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