Nuclear Safety - Overview of Nuclear Processes and Safety Issues

Overview of Nuclear Processes and Safety Issues

As of 2011, nuclear safety considerations occur in a number of situations, including:

  • Nuclear fission power used in nuclear power stations, and nuclear submarines and ships
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Fissionable fuels such as uranium and plutonium and their extraction, storage and use
  • Radioactive materials used for medical, diagnostic, batteries for some space projects, and research purposes
  • Nuclear waste, the radioactive waste residue of nuclear materials
  • Nuclear fusion power, a technology under long-term development
  • Unplanned entry of nuclear materials into the biosphere and food chain (living plants, animals and humans) if breathed or ingested.

With the exception of thermonuclear weapons and experimental fusion research, all safety issues specific to nuclear power stems from two issues - the toxicity and radioactivity of heavy fissionable materials, waste byproducts, and other radioactive materials, and the risks of unplanned or uncontrolled nuclear accidents.

Nuclear safety therefore covers at minimum: -

  • Extraction, transportation, storage, processing, and disposal of fissionable materials
  • Safety of nuclear power generators
  • Control and safe management of nuclear weapons, nuclear material capable of use as a weapon, and other radioactive materials
  • Safe handling, accountability and use in industrial, medical and research contexts
  • Disposal of nuclear waste
  • Limitations on exposure to radiation

Read more about this topic:  Nuclear Safety

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