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Nuclear Materials for Human Health and Development

  • Seth Hoedl
Chapter

Abstract

The use of nuclear and other radioactive materials presents both benefits and risks to human health and development. Benefits, many of which would not be possible without the use of radioactive materials, include, inter alia, medical diagnosis and therapy, industrial applications, crop development and pest control, fundamental research, and low-carbon electricity. Risks include, inter alia, the potential for increased cancer incidence, nuclear reactor accidents and nuclear war. These benefits and risks have long been discussed. However, as technology evolves and societal values and needs change, such as the increased importance of carbon-free electricity, the balance between risks and benefits with regards to using nuclear and other radioactive materials can also change. To inform the debate regarding the extent to which nuclear and other radioactive materials should be used in light of their risks and benefits, this chapter presents a very brief, but up-to-date, overview of applications of nuclear and other radioactive materials for human health and development. The chapter also describes the extent to which these applications are reliant on uranium mining and enrichment and the availability of modern alternatives. It concludes by placing the benefits that arise from these materials in the context of recent research regarding the health risks of exposure to radiation.

Keywords

Nuclear Material Radioactive Materials Fissionable Materials Radioisotopes 

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser press and the authors 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EmeryvilleUSA

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