Nuclear power and nuclear technology certainly do not get the respect they deserve. Especially when we’ve seen the disastrous incidents that shook Japan and Chernobyl. With threat of nuclear war looming over south Asia, it is easy to antagonize the very technology that is responsible. Nuclear power might be blamed for a variety of bad things from nuclear warheads to Godzilla.
Nevertheless, there are always two sides to a story and same is the case with nuclear power. Today, one can find countless applications of nuclear technology that are actually aimed towards the betterment of our civilizations. So if you’ve been upset about the poor lizard that mutated into Godzilla, here are some applications of radioactive/nuclear technology that’ll make you feel better.
Did you know that emission is a much bigger threat to the environment than a nuclear bomb? Well, turns out that emissions generated from burning fossil fuel such as coal and oil is far more harmful for the environment than nuclear technology. Thankfully the use of nuclear technology has helped curb these harmful emissions and neutralize the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ to a considerable extent. In recent applications, scientists have also been able to use electron beams to remove nitrogen and Sulphur emissions from the environment.
Radiation has been pretty effective against pests and insects that heavily infest certain parts of the globe. The best example is the use of radiation to neutralize Tsetse fly infestations in Africa. It involves a non-polluting process, where all male tsetse flies are sterilized by radiation, limiting their ability to produce any offspring. Tsetse is already responsible for the spread of sleeping sickness making various areas in Africa inhabitable for humans.
More and more countries are opening up to the concept of food irradiation to improve shelf life and protection against infestation. Various items such as grains, fruits, packaged meats and spices etc. are irradiated to make them impervious to contamination and infections. This new way of food preservation has been approved by the WHO and the FAO, since 1983 and the radiation amount is kept under strict regulations to avoid any toxicological hazards.
Creating Drinkable Water
More people die across the globe due to poor quality of drinking water than by any other disease. Therefore, we know how important is it to preserve drinking water. But what if you could desalinate ocean water to make it drinkable? Luckily, this technology already exists all thanks to nuclear power. The use of radioactive isotopes to desalinate water and counter various cases of lingering water shortages in countries like morocco and others.
Nuclear technology and radiation has already been implemented in treatment of various diseases. With more than 50 years of application in medicinal science, more than a 3rd of all modern hospitals have radioactive technology in their premises. By products of nuclear technology such X-rays, MRI and Cat scans have been used for a long time for diagnostic purposes. Recently, radioisotopes have also been implemented in the diagnosis of various diseases and to locate tumors, fractures and measure blood flow etc.
Choosing to blame nuclear technology for disasters shouldn’t be an option, since nearly every technological advancement has consequences.
When you look at the alternative sources such as coal and oil, they have their fair share of implications with serious environmental impact. The above examples prove that even destructive power can be put to good use and would certainly settle some rage and misconceptions against nuclear technology.