The topic I have chosen for this term paper is “Ex-Soviet Bloc’s Environmental Crisis, Issue C. #2 Upgrading nuclear reactors to meet international standards. I have chosen this topic because nuclear power is not only an environmental issue but also a severe health issue for the citizens around the nuclear site and also for the rest of the country and world because of food products that could be grown there and used as market items.
Nuclear radiation is in no way healthy to anyone. It is much more easier to develop a life threatening disease if you are currently being effected by the radiation or have already been effected. Becoming sick from high amounts of radiation does not only happen to people in the immediate area of the nuclear accident. Although these people are the most effected, they are by far not the only ones. Radiation can be carried in many products, including food which is the most common and easy way to become sick from radiation poisoning. Cattle in the area of radiation may appear to be healthy but the milk they produce and the meat they give should not be eaten. As you can see, radiation can very easily be transferred from one point to another and ingested by someone without even their knowledge that there is a problem. The government of the Soviet Union was the owner of the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl. When there was a problem, the government immediately sent soldiers to surround the plant and only two days later did they evacuate the surrounding town of Pripyat, but by then it was already much too late. The effects of radiation do not take a long time to occur. In adults, it is severe but not a severe as it is in children. In children, radiation sickness can and will effect the thyroid glands. This can lead to many different kinds of cancer and most likely more than one will effect the body at once.
In adults, the effects of radiation can be cancerous, but the real issue is whether or not it will effect their DNA and thus effect the next generation. This issue is highly debated. Scientists are not sure whether or not radiation effects a persons DNA and causes mutations in the sperm and egg cells, later on effecting their children and their generation. Before the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl had a melt down, a joint US and Japanese research team set up in Hiroshima to study the effects of radiation on the survivors of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Forty years later, they had found no evidence that there were any genetic problems in any of the survivors children. In contrast, Yuri E. Dubrova of the University of Leicester in England and his colleagues claim that they have found evidence that germline mutation rates in humans can be increased by ionizing radiation. Dubrova’s team compared specific gene segments taken from the blood of people in 79 families that lived in a exposed area surrounding Chernobyl. Also they studied 105 members from unexposed families in the United Kingdom. All children in both groups were born 8 years after the melt down. “The researchers studied gene segments known as minisatellite loci, repeating patterns of roughly 5 to 45 bases, the units that make up DNA. No one knows the genetic purpose, if any, of minisatellites, but their variation from person to person enables scientists to use them as the basis of so-called genetic fingerprinting”.(Dubrova )Because a child’s DNA represents a combination of germline DNA from both parents, any sequence in the child that does not have either parents DNA in it, must result from a germline mutation. Dubrova’s team therefore looked for minisatelite sequences in the children’s DNA that did not appear in either of the parents DNA. They found twice the number of mutations in children of exposed Belarus parents as in U.K. children. “We are 99 percent sure that these are real germline mutations and they have been passed from parent to child,”(Dubrova )
Other researchers, such as James Neel of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a 40 year veteran of the Hiroshima research, are not so sure. “I am very doubtful that the findings of these investigations are due to