How does nuclear radiation affect humans?


nuclear_592379921.jpgApril 7, 2011 – The events that are happening in Japan have brought horror and memories in many people, especially with the effects of nuclear plant damages. What is radiation?



There are three types:

1. Radiation decay is the process by which unstable atoms undergo spontaneous disintegration to achieve a more stable state.

2. Ionizing radiation is the capability for producing ions when interacting with matter (anything that occupies space) – in other words enough energy to remove an electron from an atom. 

3. Electromagnetic radiation; when discrete bundles of energy known as photons (having no mass or weight ) travel in waves such as gamma, x-rays, UV light, and radio.


Types of radiation

The four main types of radiation are due to:

1. Alpha decay particles are helium nuclei with protons and neutron released from an atom. It is less dangerous because it doesn’t travel very far and can be stopped by a piece of paper. It does not penetrate the skin but if it enters the body through the gut, or the lungs, it comes into direct contact with living cells and, as such, is extremely mutagenic. Because it’s so deadly, most of the cells within the radiation field will be killed.

2.  capitalfmnew particle decay occurs when a neutron in the nucleus of an element is effectively transformed into a proton and an electron. capitalfmnew radiation travels farther than alpha because it is lighter. 

3. Gamma radiation occurs in combination with alpha, capitalfmnew, or positron emission or electron capture. Whenever the ejected particle does not utilize all the available energy for decay, the nucleus contains the excess energy and is in an excited state. The excess energy is released as gamma-ray emission coincident with particle ejection. Gamma radiation goes straight through human bodies. 

4. X-rays. X-rays occur whenever an inner-shell orbital electron is removed and rearrangement of the atomic electrons results, with the release of the element’s characteristic x-ray energy.


In nuclear physics splitting of atoms (fissioning) e.g. Uranium in nuclear reactors creates more than 200 new, man-made radioactive elements. Some “live” for only seconds; some remain radioactive for millions of years. In nuclear reactors, fuel rods emit more radiation and also activate water molecules and forms tritium—a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. 

Once created, these diabolical elements inevitably find their way into the environment and eventually enter the body causing DNA damage. Radiation leads to breaks in chromosomes, which can cause a baby to be born with Down’s syndrome or other serious disorders.


Sources of radiation 


• Cosmic radiation: exposure above the protection of the earth’s atmosphere; space, Airline flight crews are radiation workers

• Terrestrial radiation from the soil.


• Technology, as medical diagnostic equipment, 

• Industrial products;

• Combustible fuels, 

• TV receivers, 

• Cellular phones, 

• Airport inspection systems

• Other minor sources

• Nuclear explosions

• Iodine 131 


The amount of radiation

Like the medicines measured in milligrams (mg) the amount of radiation can be measured in doses calculated in units called grays. The unit for absorbed dose is the gray (Gy), which is equal to 1 J kg-1.   If one receives 9 to 100Gy, death occurs in 2 days. The amount of dose received by the patient is measured in sieverts (sv) with minimal recommend dose being 20 per year. Msv is sv divided by 1000.


• High (5- 50 msv) dose is seen in tests such as Barium or CT scan.

• Medium (0.5-5 msv) dose in abdomen X-ray or TC scans.

• Low (0.5-0.05 msv) dose in Chest, skull, dental  x-rays

In the reactors, the tritium emitted gets to food causing 10% of the tritium to become organically bound within the body, where it has a biological half-life of 21 to 550 days – meaning that it can reside in the body from one to twenty-five years.


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  • Aptbks

    Hogwash n cheap. But this is your best, keep it up.

  • a good piece of article to read…well done moses kuria…all that are facts!

  • @djfidel

    Lacking objectivity and full of emotions……May help u get a job at the TNA offices..A man got to put food on the table,we understand.

    • truekenyan

      Being abusive wont transform a lie into a truth, even the least educated person in Kenya knows there is something ”FISHY” going on at the ICC. We shall never be imposed on a leader to be used by the Wazungus for there selfish needs,dont be intimidated by ”clueless” people as MM has put it in his book,read, read then open that mouth, the truth is coming out faster than we thought, well done Kuria.

  • The ICC will stroke the embers that will ignite the true form of impunity, when they consolidate the real antagonists in their western cities to trample democratic space in a developing republic…or they will swallow a bitter pill and accept peoples choice.

  • Brother Moses Kuria you have done us proud. However, there are certain aspects that still need to be laid before Madam Bensouda. The problem facing brothers Tony Gachoka and Miguna Miguna might not be the Netherlands, but tribal interests esle where. Of course, you must take in to account that our political behavior can hardly be understood by foreigners. And moreso, when tribal loyalty is at play.

    While Netherlands is largely to blame, that they have been fed with twisted information by partisan folks like Prof. Makua and our fellows even in the Hague, must be brought in to focus. Our government too must set clear terms for its continued engagement with ICC. That completely capture our national interests. We should not allow ourselves to be forced to co-operate with an institution that seems to demean and insult us. Even the most powerful country on earth, USA, allows Iranian president to attend UN meetings in New York without any hinderance at all. And even knowing pretty well that he would make hostile pronouncements on its soil!

    Perhaps, if ICC and Netherlands are not willing to allow free flow of our cases, including introduction of new evidence. That seemingly points to known real commanders, including commander in chief of PEV, we should review our relationship with them. Throwing out Dutch diplomats for insulting our national pride is increasingly becoming a possibility. We are the ones who refered our cases to ICC and no one should pretend to have forced us to do so. We should make a swift stop to a situation that seems not offer supposed justice but mere political meandering. If justice is not guaranteed and is not seen to be so, Kenya has no business entertaining such empty enterprise at all.

    The treatment metted out to brother Tony Gachoka by the Dutch embassy, while armed with all necessary government consents, is totally unacceptable. It insults all decent established international norms. That US secretary of state would fly in to the country and mischieviously meet chief justice behind closed doors, is a situation that alarms us all. While chief justice maintains that interference was not the issue, it can not be genuinely so. That uncle sam was assuring our highest judicial officer of all support in rolling out justice favorable to certain quarters cant be ignored. All these street demonstrations by our judicial officers, led by no other than the chief justice himself, point to a very disturbing situation indeed. What prof. Makua and other purported civil society leaders have been writing about our government has all markings of new energized assault on our leadership.

  • well done Mr. kuria,its time the whole truth was told because it seems there are some sacred cows that should not be touched n this is what we call IMPUNITY. If anyone has evidence of wateva nature it should be tabled. Madam prosecutor needs to show that hers is a course for justice.

  • okello

    it is GPS NOT…….In fact the only person who appears to have the GPRS coordinates….

  • Boiyot

    The problem with implicating Raila is you’ll eventually implicate Kibaki… That is the fact of the matter.
    Can anyone tell me how Kenya will be if these two are taken out to court? I shudder to think… They can be eased out through elections but not through courts

    • @Boiyot : You are misleading people for alot of nothing. President Kibaki never called for murderous mass action! He was actually a victim of it. He won election only to be confronted by faked election theft. His swearing in to stop greedy fellows from precipitating constitutional crisis has been mischieviously reduced to confirmation of that false theft. But no serious person would have acted differently even in another country. Even retired president Moi acted pretty quickly when Kibaki and Raila attempted to obtain court orders to stop his swearing in 1997! Its extreme duty of every winning candidate to take swift measures to nib in bud any possible constitutional void in the offing.

      Secondly, if you have any incriminating evidence against president Kibaki, you are free to bring it up. You should not pretend that any clear evidence on Raila’s participation in those chaos, would envelope others without giving any reasons. That in itself, is an empty blackmail that can never ever insulate anyone. After all, Raila’s involvement is a matter of public knowledge. The fact that only his cronies were in the forefront in giving doctored reports and even outright falsehoods to former prosecutor, who incidentally, had an “O” in his name like most of our celebrated propagandists, doesnt change anything at all. And moreso, when Raila’s former closest aides come up with concrete insider irrifutable evidence.

      And if the two were to be taken out of the scene, constitution is there to guide Kenyans. Raila is not even anywhere close to succession chain despite his illogical pretences to the contrary. There is VP, Speaker of the national assembly, Foreign affairs minister, finance guy, chief of general staff and soforth. Your pretentious idol doesnt come anywhere close to the power. His is pacification job, simply to cut down maddening pugnacity! But you see, you guys have been taken in by empty propaganda that you dream Kenya is only president and pm. Kenya can even live without all the current leaders. Why cant you ask yourself where the country was before they appeared on the scene in the first place? Your narrow line of thinking is actually the sort that can easily cause problems!

    • Duncan Muchina

      Hogwash! These two guys were directly responsible for all the violence. They were the presidential candidates. In other parts of the world like Congo, they take suspects to Hague on the basis of their declared leadership positions. They have NEVER taken any “purported” auxiliary leader. It makes no sense. These two guys had the mandate from the people to stop or propagate the violence. They are responsible to this day.

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