Monday, April 22 marks Earth Day.
The first Earth Day in 1970 is considered by some the birth of the modern environmental movement.
Nearly a half century later, the day has become an international event.
This year’s Earth Day theme is Protect Our Species, focusing on how human activity contributes to the extinction of species, whether that be climate change, deforestation, pollution or a long list of other things.
Nuclear technology and research has an important role in protecting the environment. Here are three ways nuclear can help protect our species.
#1 Stopping the spread of disease among animals
Nuclear techniques are used to diagnose livestock diseases and improve livestock growth and resistance to disease. Radioimmunoassay methods are essential in stopping the spread of animal diseases, such as rinderpest. Thanks to the role played by nuclear technology, rinderpest is now an animal disease of the past, having been completely eradicated worldwide.
Seventy countries use disease diagnostic and monitoring tests to assist their animal disease prevention, control and eradication programs.
#2 Studying how toxins move through marine life
Radiotracers track the effects of acidification on ocean chemistry and marine life. Nuclear techniques monitor the oceans’ shifting chemical balance caused by ocean acidification – vital information to protect the marine environment.
#3 Assessing animal migration
A nuclear technique known as stable isotopes has helped uncover migratory routes, trophic levels, and the geographic origins of migratory animals. It can be used on land as well as in the ocean and has revolutionized how researchers study animal movement.
Nuclear technology is involved in many areas of research and technology and the advances play an important role in protecting marine and wildlife.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of nuclear, please read “The Role of Nuclear in the World.”