The Disposal Of Nuclear Weapons Essay Research — страница 2

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scientific research had not addressed the potential long-term climatic and environmental damage of a nuclear conflict. Scientific research suggests that a nuclear conflict could inject enough smoke and dust particles into the atmosphere to block out sunlight and cause severe drops in surface temperatures over a significant period of time. This, in turn could adversely affect plants, animals, and humans. The term “nuclear winter” has been coined to describe these effects. The implications of the theory on a global scale is that non-involved nations, as well as the nations directly involved with the conflict, could be veulnerable to the climatic and environmental effects. Long-term climatic effects were thought by researchers to arise from dust placed in the stratosphere! by

near-surface nuclear blasts. However the most significanteffect would be those resulting from ozone depletion, which would allow more unfiltered ultraciolet rays to reach the earth’s surface. Additional long-term adverse effects would be exposure to high levels of radioactive fallout, cancer and genetic diseases. A large nuclear war would produce irreversible adverse effects on our environment and ecological system. In 1980 an environmental journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences produced a series of studies on nuclear war, attempting to quantify the impact of smoke from burning forests and cities. Fires pushng smoke into the atmosphere could cause serious long-term effects and the amount of smoke likely to be generated by such fires would be enough to reduce the

incoming solar energy at the earth’s surface for periods of several weeks or longer. It was thought that smoke combined with dust raised from near-suface explosions would form a dark cloud at least over most of the countries involved and the continent they are on. Serious biological and agricultural problem could also result in various ecosystems due to an abrupt and long lasting atmospheric change which is thought to happen after a nuclear war. Ecosystems consist of the communtiy of plants, animals , and microorganisms that exist in the area and the physical environment of that community. They depend on the light ! energy of the sun, which is converted through photosynthesis in green plants into chemical energy that is used by all organisms. The disruption of photosynthesis by

the reduction of sunlight or temperature drops couuld have have consequences that ultimately go throught the food chain to humans. Compounding these effects is that after a nuclear war the available food supplies could be destroyed or contaminated, located in areas that cannot be reached, or rapidly depleted. Also, natural ecosystems may not be able to recover in this environment to resupply the food chain. This would result in the vulnerability of nations that are far removed from the target areas and including the attacking nation. Radioactive Pollution Nuclear weapon tests, even those held underground, have released radioactivity. It was the presence of radioactive Strontium-90 in children’s teeth that led to worldwide pressure to end atmospheric testing, and pressure

continues to end underground testing. Some of the most contaminated areas on earth, and most expensive to clean up, are the places where nuclear bombs were made. Radioactive material and other poisons have entered underground water supplies, rivers and the ground itself. A world-wide wave of protest by governments and citizens, the biggest of its kind in the 1990’s had occurred to make the French government reconsider its policies and put and end to testing. The pollution at nuclear test sites, military nuclear reactors and warhead assembly plant also threatens the communities and natural environment around them. For eample at Kyshtym in the former Soviet Union, so much waste was dumped into Lake Karachay, it contains two and one-half times the amount of radioactive isotopes

released at Chernobyl (the worst nuclear power plant accident in history). The lakebed is now covered with a thick layer of concrete to contain the radiation. Safe ways to clean up and dispose of millions of tons of radioactive waste produced by uranium mining, weapons production, and now, the dismantling of nuclear warheads, remain elusive. Chemical weapons dumped at sea — in the Baltic Sea, off Alaska, Russia and elsewhere — have contaminated the world’s oceans.! Dozens of reactors from submarines, and some nuclear bombs, sit at the bottom of the sea. Nuclear materials from warheads remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years. Technologies must be found to store them and render them harmless. At one time or another, the long-standing concept of deterrence has