“What is the impact on the Earth from the Nuclear Age?” CCTV Host Margaret Harrington asks Les Kanat PhD, Professor of Geology in the Department of Environmental and Health Sciences at Johnson State College, Vermont during a televised interview, Dr. Kanat, also a science advisor to Fairewinds Energy Education points out that the Earth is less likely to be effected by the Nuclear Age and poses a new question “What impact will the Nuclear Age have on humans?”
In an effort to answer this question, Dr. Kanat guides us through an understanding of isotopes and explains Madam Curie’s research into radioactivity, which led to the discovery of unstable isotopes like uranium. Unstable isotopes are as their title suggests- unstable, constantly splitting, and always in a state of decay. A perfect example of unstable isotopes may be seen in the video referred to by Fairewinds Crew Member Sue Prent in her blog post, The Uranium Waltz. Sue writes,
“To the strains of a Strauss waltz, puffy little trails begin to erupt from the uranium in staccato straight lines, shooting through the alcohol cloud and radiating in all directions like soft white fireworks. It’s a mesmerizing sight to behold. It is also a sobering one, because what we are enabled to observe through that cloud of alcohol is the behavior of one of the most aggressive toxins on earth: radioactive decay.
This is the stuff that gives nuclear weapons their destructive energy; the instability that, in the course of things, has been somewhat inefficiently harnessed to generate simple electricity.”
Nuclear power plants are home to large concentrations of constantly splitting unstable isotopes. Dr. Kanat explains how with the discovery of radioactivity, and the adoption of extreme cultivation of radioactive isotopes, humans have left their geological mark. How much does this affect the Earth? Not really all that much. By alluding to dinosaurs, and other extinct species that came before us, the real question we should be asking ourselves is: How much does radiation affect us?