Emits uranium radiation

  • Harmful rays for humans and nature

Do you know what radioactive substances are and how they work?

Nuclear power plants need radioactive materials to generate energy. There are natural and man-made radioactive substances. Natural radioactive substances occur in nature. Actually, they are everywhere - but in different amounts. Radioactive substances that humans produce themselves or that arise in the nuclear power plant through nuclear fission are referred to as artificial. For example, some medical applications require radioactivity.

Natural radioactive substances occur in the ground, for example. For example, uranium is the name of a type of metal that is radioactive. Radon is a radioactive noble gas that is created when uranium decays radioactively. Uranium is needed, for example, to produce energy in a nuclear power plant. The problem? Radioactive materials contain certain types of atoms. Their atomic nuclei can decay. Energy is released in the process. And this is given off as ionizing radiation. In contrast to an X-ray machine, you cannot switch off the decay and the resulting radiation. That means: If radioactive substances get into our body through food or the air we breathe, they break down there and give off ionizing radiation. This affects organs, bones and muscles. Depending on its strength, it can cause diseases such as cancer.

What actually is radioactivity?

You can watch an explanatory video by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) on YouTube.

Who protects people from rays?

People should be protected from the harmful effects of radiation. The main problem is the ionizing radiation. So the rays that charge atoms with their energy.

In Germany, the Atomic Energy Act regulates the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. The Radiation Protection Ordinance specifies how high the exposure to radiation may be for normal citizens and for employees in nuclear power plants.

The radiation protection precautionary law requires radioactivity in the environment to be monitored. To this end, 1,800 measuring stations determine day and night how high the radiation is and how high the proportion of radioactive substances is in the environment.

Food, animal feed and drinking water are also monitored for radioactivity. Even the smallest changes can be recognized in this way. This makes it possible to take remedial action at an early stage in order to protect people and the environment.

Atomic energy

Atoms are the smallest basic building blocks of matter and consist of an atomic nucleus and an atomic shell. The atomic nucleus is much smaller than the atom itself and consists of other building blocks: protons and neutrons. Energy is generated in nuclear power plants by splitting the atomic nuclei. The atomic nuclei of the element uranium are mostly used for this purpose.

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