It is the deterioration of the air and water resources due to the excessive presence of different radioactive particles. There are materials which are natural or created by us which are capable of giving off gamma rays as well as protons and electrons from their nuclei. The alpha and beta particles appear in the nature both naturally and through our human activities and are not considered to be dangerous as long as they are not somehow consumed or ingested.
The background radiation is something which has nothing to do with the activities we perform and normally occurs in the nature. Elements such as uranium, radium, potassium, radon, thorium and carbon appear naturally in the environment and present in the aquatic basins, the soil or in rocks. However, due to mining and utilizing and refining thorium or the plutonium, people create the danger of significant exposure to radiation which may cause multiple lethal conditions. The plutonium may be used as a nuclear fuel – it was used, for example, to power different spacecrafts and weather satellites. The plutonium was also used in the creation of nuclear weapons as it is generally highly explosive.
The detrimental effect of its use in the production of weapons was seen for the first time during the WWII when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombarded in 1945. Even those who gave the command the ”Little Boy” and the ”Fat Man” (this is how the bombs were named) to be dropped were not able to foresee the consequences. The bombs were totally unexpected by the locals and they killed a huge number of people instantly. However, there were long- term effects which were worse than that massacre. Every breathing creature was severely affected- plants, animals and the people. The regular people and the governments have come to realize the destructive power of these weapons since 1940s. Although there is an international treaty signed, which bans their use, there are nuclear arms still produced and tested at certain places.
The mankind is not alone to be blamed for the radioactive threat. As it was already said, there are elements which are radioactive and are naturally present in the nature. They also have the property to have effect on different materials. The iodine, strontium and the radium are all present in the environment. They generate gases or particles which may be blown by the wind. When there is rain, it takes them down to the ground from where they enter the soil. Once presenting in it, the radioactive particles find their way to the roots of the plants which we later consume; that is how we come to suffer. For example, excessive amounts of strontium in our bones may result in bone cancer or degeneration of our tissues. If we are exposed to too much iodine, almost all parts of our bodies will be affected and we may contract bone marrow, lymph or skin cancer as well as other malignancies.
From the land, the radioactive components may not only go into the soil, as it was just explained, but they can appear in the aquatic basins in which they will have a strong and negative impact on the creatures living there.
Nuclear power plants are dangerous because if an accident, such as the one in 1986 in Ukraine, happens, the lives claimed will be a lot. However, these specific plants generate so much power that the mankind cannot simply close them down. If properly disposed, the radioactive materials used in the process of energy generation will not cause a significant problem and will not lead to destruction. In case there is no proper disposal, the living organisms will be harmed because both the soil and the water resources will be literally contaminated.