NUCLEAR RADIATION 101
When there is threat of a disaster, understanding what is occurring helps one be better informed and more able to think and act.
RADIATION has several definitions. In regards to the nuclear power plants leaking radiation, it simply means that radioactive particles are emitted from a source.
Here is a good and simple definition for RADIOACTIVE (from the Encarta Dictionary):
1. emitting radiation: describes a substance such as uranium or plutonium that emits energy in the form of streams of particles, owing to the decaying of its unstable atoms. This energy can be damaging or fatal to the health of people exposed to it.
So if you follow the above, it is the fact that the atoms in uranium and plutonium are unstable. They donít just like to sit in one place and hang out. They get excited and start moving and heating up. There are ways that scientists have figured out how to stabilize atomic energy and use it to power our cities. Which is an efficient and cheap source of power, drastically reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel prices continue to be manipulated and soaring right now in the US. Nuclear energy is cheaper to use as we no longer depend on foreign countries for oil. It is also environmentally cleaner to use, except of course when there are disasters. Oil spills are also very difficult to clean up (witness British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico right now.)
Nuclear power is a brilliant innovation. We just need to figure out what else we can do to safely work with the atoms so that when a disaster strikes, the plants donít fail us.
The threat in Japan right now is that with the earthquake, the nuclear plants were disturbed and then the atoms started to get excited and heating up, contamination has started to occur. This is a threat to the people living in Japan, nearby regions, to the agriculture and fishing industries that the world has come to depend upon. You donít want to eat radioactive fishÖ
I hope this helps you to better understand what is happening.
Letís all join together to help Japan by donating funds, our time, supplies and so on so that they may recover as rapidly as possible.