Health Impact of Nuclear Accident

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‘Due to the occurrence of the disastrous nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan last year, the crisis of a nuclear accident and its consequences has once again become a hotly discussed issue. A nuclear accident is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (2008) as "an event that has led to significant consequences to people, the environment or the facility. Examples include lethal effects to individuals, large radioactivity release to the environment, or reactor core melt." The causes of a nuclear accident mainly are nuclear power plant accidents, nuclear reactor attacks and radiation. In this essay, I would like to focus more on the nuclear accidents caused by accident mainly are nuclear power plant accidents, nuclear reactor attacks and nuclear power plant as it often generates widespread impacts on human health as well as nuclear safety policies.

The potential impact of radiation accidents has become a public concern since the first nuclear reactors were constructed. It has also been one of the key factors in building nuclear facilities since then. Although some technical measures have been adopted to minimize the amount of radioactivity released to the atmosphere and the risk of nuclear accidents, as Ramana (2009:136) suggested “despite the use of such measures, there have been many accidents with varying impacts as well near misses and incidents.” Some serious and more well-known nuclear accidents that have disastrous impact include the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, the Chernobyl accident in 1986 and the Fukushima accident in 2011. For instance, in the Fukushima accident, 19,126 people were dead or missing and decontamination work is estimated to be last for at least one decade.

The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) was adopted in 1990 to enable instant and consistent communication of safety significance to the public in case of nuclear and radiological events. According to International Atomic Energy Agency (2009)



References: 1. Bespalchuk, P. I., Demidchik, Y. E., Demidchik, E. P. (2007). Thyroid cancer in Belarus after Chernobyl. International Congress Series 1299, 27-31. 2. Dörr, H. & Meineke, V. (2011). Acute radiation syndrome caused by accidental radiation exposure - therapeutic principles 3. Emergency Support Unit. (2012). Daya Bay Contingency Plan. Retrieved on November, 21, 2012 from: http://www.dbcp.gov.hk/eng/dbcp/DBCP_Full_Version.pdf 4. Federal Emergency Management Agency 5. Hong Kong Nuclear Investment Co. Ltd. (2010). About Daya Bay. Retrieved on November, 21, 2012 from: https://www.hknuclear.com/Pages/Index.aspx?lang=en 6. International Atomic Energy Agency 7. Peterson, L. E. & Abrahamson, S. (1998). Effects of Ionizing Radiation : Atomic Bomb Survivors and Their Children (1945-1995). Washington: Joseph Henry Press. 8. Ramana, M.V. (2009). Nuclear Power: Economic, Safety, Health, and Environmental Issues of Near-Term Technologies. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 34, 136. 9. Sovacool, B. K. (2008). A preliminary assessment of major energy accidents, 1907–2007. Energy Policy 36, 1802-1820. 10. Stein, R. (2011). Fear is potent risk of Japanese nuclear crisis. The Washington Post. 11. United Kingdom Food Standards Agency 12. United Nations News Service. (2011) News Report on Health Effects due to Radiation from the Chernobyl Accident.

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