PIB Physical Science
16 September 2105
Unleashing the Power of an Atom
Most people do not think about the fact that something as minute as an atom could create both mass devastation and enormous benefit to mankind; however, when a person hears the word nuclear, that is exactly what one does. When hearing the term radiation, visions of Hiroshima or Chernobyl come to mind, and the person usually does not stop to consider that something as microscopic as an atom was responsible for such large scale destruction. It is important for people to understand that within the nucleus of an atom resides tremendous capability. It is up to humans to unlock that potential and create something in the best interest of society. While it is understood that the nuclear decay process can ...view middle of the document...
The elements in the Actinide series of the periodic table are mainly used for nuclear fission reactions. Nuclear fission power plants produce 11% of the world’s electricity, less than what hydro-electric stations produce. Along with other sustainable energy sources, nuclear fission is a low carbon power generation method of making energy, which means that is renewable and doesn’t create much air pollution.
General nuclear medicine is another way humanity has harnessed nuclear decay. Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of a disease. Since nuclear medicine can pinpoint the exact molecular activity within the body, doctors are able to treat the disease in its early stages. These medicine scans are usually conducted by radiographers. Unlike x-rays, nuclear medicine uses radiation emitting from within the body, rather than from external sources.
The last nuclear use is the nucleic preservation of food. Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation. Ionized radiation is energy that is transmitted to the food without direct contact capable of stripping electrons from the food. This treatment has been used to preserve food, reduce the risk of food borne illness, prevent the spread of invasive pests, and delay ripening. Radiation can be emitted by a radioactive substance or electrically. These foods never become radioactive. It also reduces the pathogens in foods, depending on the dose.
Even though people criticize the topic of nuclear radiation, believing that it would lead humanity to the brink of existence, it is in actuality quite useful. Nuclear radiation can preserve foods, cure diseases faster, and provide energy for millions of people. The people of the past that unlocked the miraculous powers hidden deep inside the nuclei of atoms were outstanding with what they did to make a better future for humanity.