Nuclear Power Plant Isar, Germany

Spent nuclear fuel pool

Turbine of a nuclear plant

Nuclear energy and the environment

Populritat Although nuclear energy is very low there are applications of nuclear energy for works for the environment.

What is the relationship between nuclear energy and the environment?

To reduce pollution in the environment, we need to know where and how much to find these pollutants, the causes of contaminacióny the right solution to prevent it from spreading.

The main source of pollution is found in human activities contributing largely to the increase in pollutants, growth poblacióny industrial technological developments.

At present, the biggest environmental problem is global warming, the greenhouse effect accordingly.

Nuclear power allows techniques to work for the environment in the greenhouse.


The contamination of surface water and groundwater problem are also environmentally important.

The nuclear energy implementation allows isotopic techniques, it is a procedure that uses the interaction of ionizing radiation with matter useful to an end, which is most effective than other conventional procedure.

This can be useful purpose:

  • The investigation of the mechanism of an industrial process
  • Measuring the performance of a gland
  • The sterilization of a product
  • or determination of the degree of contamination of surface and groundwater.

Application of nuclear energy to the problem of greenhouse

Global warming phenomenon is provably the most harmful to the environment. This is due to the release of gases during the combustion of organic materials Carbony like oil, wood and garbage.

Nuclear power allows the use of isotopic analyzes that calculate the carbon dioxide emissions in an industrial area. Nuclear methods such as electron beam irradiation, are very useful for removing gaseous pollutants, including harmful gases like sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide emitted in Carbony fuel power plants.

An innovative and simple method to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions, is the observation of the plants growing in an industrial area, which capture radioactive carbon-14 from cosmic radiation (radia , n solar, etc.) as carbon dioxide, and also incorporate emitted by industries, by determining what proportion of radioactive and non-radioactive carbon can determine the total emission carbon dioxide in the area.

Application of nuclear energy to the problem of pollution of surface and groundwater

Isotope techniques can help assess the vulnerability of groundwater to pollution from the surface, and allow precise surface pollution sources (natural, agricultural, domestic and industrial) discovering an incipient pollution, serving as an early warning chemical or biological indicators show no signs of concern.

Building capacity "sterilizing" radiation is used to eliminate pathogens from wastewater. Internationally, it has promoted the use of electron beam accelerators for advanced large-scale treatment of contaminated water, mainly directed to the treatment of wastewater and drinking water.

Application of nuclear energy to the problem of soil contamination

The problem of soil pollution became important after the studies of pollution of water and air, as it was found to affect the food chain. The most commonly used agricultural chemicals pollutants entering the soil through nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides, which should be tested carefully before use to ensure their decomposition products not create risks for man and the environment.

The application of isotope techniques to determine the breakdown of these products and their final destination. The nuclear method is most suitable for contaminacióny accurately assess the exact source that caused the pollution, and for determining the filtration pipes containing oil or spillage of chemicals transported.

Application of nuclear energy to eradicate insect pests

Sometimes insects are a threat to the health of animals and humans and may even destroy valuable food crops.

Traditionally used insecticides, but their chemical composition were a potential risk of environmental pollution and toxic waste existence in food. Moreover, higher resistance to developed insects them having to use higher amounts.

Currently, they are developing new methods of insect control, they do not pose a risk to the environment. You can highlight the following:

  • Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is the production of large amounts of plant-breeding insects, which are sterilized with gamma radiation from radioactive cobalt sources 60 and cesium-137, to be released in areas affected by the plague. When sterile insects mate with wild insects produce no offspring, thus reducing the population of pest insects. SIT is species specific, so you can not have an adverse impact on other species of both insects and other animals or plants. This technique is useful not only to eradicate the pests, but also to control agricultural pest free areas. Among the applications of SIT are eradicating pests New World screwworm, the Mediterranean fruit fly, the tsetse fly, transmitter of diseases in man and animals, especially in Africa and the mosquito that transmits malaria.
  • Genetic manipulation for the selection of male insects: bugs releasing males only allows flies eradicate pests TIE reinforcing technique. To genetically manipulate flies, so that only males are released by ionizing radiation chromosomes are altered. If there are only male insects, plants will sterile insect rearing increased performance.
  • inherited sterility: this technique is mainly used to eradicate pests moths. It has been shown that with low doses irradiating a moth population, their descendants are sterile, and this may control insect family. For this technique, the sources used are stations gamma (cobalt-60).

nuclear energy application to hydrology

The water scarcity and degradation are of concern worldwide. Failure to optimize water resources could result in reduced economic growth and emerge certain risks to human health and the environment.

Isotope hydrology can understand the behavior of water and helps set the foundation for a rational use of this resource. The main uses of radioisotopes are dating to determine the age and transit time of the waters, and as tracers to determine the source, the flow rate, the sources contaminacióny degradation processes. Among employees include radioactive isotopes tritium, carbon-14, oxygen-18 and chlorine-36.

The application of isotope techniques in hydrology provides information on groundwater in regard to their origin, age, distribution, water quality and possible interconnections with groundwater, and surface water, in regard to the transport of suspended sediment in the bottom, possible seepage of dams and river discharges, the rate sedimentacióny filtracióna the underground conduits. Other notable applications of isotope techniques are as follows:

  • Nuclear Desalination: nuclear techniques are used for desalination of sea water to produce fresh water without disturbing the environment, as in plants that use steam and electricity from fuels folic siles, and it also supports the high energy consumption that these processes entail.
  • New isotopes useful in hydrology: Boron isotopes are used to treat groundwater contamination, chloride isotopes to determine the source of salinity, water age and size of a reservoir, and krypton-85 and helium-3 to improve methods of measurement of isotopes to help define the age of the water.
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