Environmental disaster

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Image of the surface of waste found inside double-shell tank 101-SY at the Hanford Site, April 1989 Hanford site tank interior.jpg
Image of the surface of waste found inside double-shell tank 101-SY at the Hanford Site, April 1989
The theoretical "nuclear blowback" of detonating 100 or more nuclear weapons would drastically alter the Earth's climate for a prolonged period of time, causing an environmental disaster that would affect nearly every type of living organism on the planet. Detonation of a Thermo-Nuclear Device in the South Pacific.jpg
The theoretical "nuclear blowback" of detonating 100 or more nuclear weapons would drastically alter the Earth's climate for a prolonged period of time, causing an environmental disaster that would affect nearly every type of living organism on the planet.

An environmental disaster or ecological disaster is a catastrophic event regarding the environment due to human activity. [1] This distinguishes it from the concept of a natural disaster. It is also distinct from intentional acts of war such as nuclear bombings.

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In this case, the impact of humans' alteration of the ecosystem has led to widespread and/or long-lasting consequences. [2] It can include the deaths of animals (including humans) and plants, or severe disruption of human life, possibly requiring migration. [3]

Environmental disasters

Environmental disasters can have an effect on agriculture, biodiversity, the economy and human health. The causes include pollution, depletion of natural resources, custom industrial activity or agriculture. [4]

As of 2013, the Fukushima nuclear disaster site remains highly radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, and some land will be unfarmable for centuries. The difficult cleanup job will take 40 or more years, and cost tens of billions of dollars. Fukushima I by Digital Globe.jpg
As of 2013, the Fukushima nuclear disaster site remains highly radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, and some land will be unfarmable for centuries. The difficult cleanup job will take 40 or more years, and cost tens of billions of dollars.

Climate change and disaster risks

A 2013 report examined the relationship between disasters and poverty. It concludes that, without concerted action, there could be up to 325 million extremely poor people living in the 49 countries most exposed to the full range of natural hazards and climate extremes in 2040. [7]

See also

An aerial image of Nauru in 2002 from the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. Regenerated vegetation covers 63% of land that was mined Nauru satellite.jpg
An aerial image of Nauru in 2002 from the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. Regenerated vegetation covers 63% of land that was mined

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Oil spill Release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity

An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, especially the marine ecosystem, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is usually given to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters, but spills may also occur on land. Oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products and their by-products, heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of any oily refuse or waste oil.

Radioactive contamination US safety regulations for nuclear power and weapons

Radioactive contamination, also called radiological contamination, is the deposition of, or presence of radioactive substances on surfaces or within solids, liquids or gases, where their presence is unintended or undesirable.

Anthropogenic hazards are hazards caused by human action or inaction. They are contrasted with natural hazards. Anthropogenic hazards may adversely affect humans, other organisms, biomes and ecosystems. The frequency and severity of hazards are key elements in some risk analysis methodologies. Hazards may also be described in relation to the impact that they have. A hazard only exists if there is a pathway to exposure. As an example, the center of the earth consists of molten material at very high temperatures which would be a severe hazard if contact was made with the core. However, there is no feasible way of making contact with the core, therefore the center of the earth currently poses no hazard.

Caesium-137 Isotope of caesium

Caesium-137, or radiocaesium, is a radioactive isotope of caesium which is formed as one of the more common fission products by the nuclear fission of uranium-235 and other fissionable isotopes in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. Trace quantities also originate from natural fission of uranium-238. It is among the most problematic of the short-to-medium-lifetime fission products because it easily moves and spreads in nature due to the high water solubility of caesium's most common chemical compounds, which are salts.

Nuclear safety and security Nuclear safety is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency

Nuclear safety is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as "The achievement of proper operating conditions, prevention of accidents or mitigation of accident consequences, resulting in protection of workers, the public and the environment from undue radiation hazards". The IAEA defines nuclear security as "The prevention and detection of and response to, theft, sabotage, unauthorized access, illegal transfer or other malicious acts involving nuclear material, other radioactive substances or their associated facilities".

Lists of environmental topics Wikipedia list article

The natural environment commonly referred to simply as the environment, is all living and non-living things that occur naturally on Earth or some part of it. This includes complete ecological units that function as natural systems without massive human intervention, including all vegetation, animals, microorganisms, rocks, atmosphere and natural phenomena that occur within their boundaries. And it includes universal natural resources and physical phenomena that lack clear-cut boundaries, such as air, water, and climate, as well as energy, radiation, electric charge, and magnetism, not originating from human activity.

Nuclear safety in the United States US safety regulations for nuclear power and weapons

Nuclear safety in the United States is governed by federal regulations issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC regulates all nuclear plants and materials in the United States except for nuclear plants and materials controlled by the U.S. government, as well those powering naval vessels.

Environmental impact of nuclear power impact of nuclear power upon the environment

The environmental impact of nuclear power results from the nuclear fuel cycle, operation, and the effects of nuclear accidents.

Church Rock uranium mill spill Radioactive spill in New Mexico on July 16, 1979

The Church Rock uranium mill spill occurred in the U.S. state of New Mexico on July 16, 1979, when United Nuclear Corporation's tailings disposal pond at its uranium mill in Church Rock breached its dam. The accident remains the largest release of radioactive material in U.S. history, having released more radioactivity than the Three Mile Island accident four months earlier.

Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents Wikimedia list article

These are lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster Nuclear disaster in Japan

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was a nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima Prefecture. The disaster was the most severe nuclear accident since the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the only other disaster to be given the Level 7 event classification of the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Energy accidents

Energy resources bring with them great social and economic promise, providing financial growth for communities and energy services for local economies. However, the infrastructure which delivers energy services can break down in an energy accident, sometimes causing much damage, and energy fatalities can occur, and with many systems often deaths will happen even when the systems are working as intended.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to environmentalism, broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements. Environmentalism advocates the preservation, restoration and/or improvement of the natural environment, and may be referred to as a movement to control pollution.

This is a list of notable events relating to the environment in 2011. They relate to environmental law, conservation, environmentalism and environmental issues.

<i>Deepwater Horizon</i> oil spill response

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred between April 10 and September 19, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. A variety of techniques were used to address fundamental strategies for addressing the spilled oil, which were: to contain oil on the surface, dispersal, and removal. While most of the oil drilled off Louisiana is a lighter crude, the leaking oil was of a heavier blend which contained asphalt-like substances. According to Ed Overton, who heads a federal chemical hazard assessment team for oil spills, this type of oil emulsifies well. Once it becomes emulsified, it no longer evaporates as quickly as regular oil, does not rinse off as easily, cannot be broken down by microbes as easily, and does not burn as well. "That type of mixture essentially removes all the best oil clean-up weapons", Overton said.

GuLF Study

The GuLF Study, or Gulf Long-term Follow-up Study, is a five-year research project examining the human-health consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. The spill followed an explosion on a drilling rig leased by BP, the British oil company, and led to the release of over four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, 48 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the United States.

Nuclear labor issues Radiation workers health and labor issues

Nuclear labor issues exist within the international nuclear power industry and the nuclear weapons production sector worldwide, impacting upon the lives and health of laborers, itinerant workers and their families.

References

  1. Jared M. Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed , 2005
  2. Illustrated overview of environmental disasters due to human activity Archived 2007-02-08 at the Wayback Machine , including deforestation, soil erosion and the biodiversity crisis.
  3. End-of-the-World Scenario:ecological Disaster
  4. Environmental Disaster Videos Archived 2007-12-03 at the Wayback Machine on Gaiagonewild.com
  5. Richard Schiffman (12 March 2013). "Two years on, America hasn't learned lessons of Fukushima nuclear disaster". The Guardian.
  6. Martin Fackler (June 1, 2011). "Report Finds Japan Underestimated Tsunami Danger". New York Times.
  7. Andrew Shepherd, Tom Mitchell, Kirsty Lewis, Amanda Lenhardt, Lindsey Jones, Lucy Scott, Robert Muir-Wood, 2013; The geography of poverty, disasters and climate extremes in 2030; accessed 29/10/2013 http://www.odi.org.uk/publications/7491-geography-poverty-disasters-climate-change-2030
  8. Republic of Nauru. 1999. Climate Change – Response. First National Communication – 1999. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations

Further reading