Click to go to Pulse Lesson Plan for Industrialization, Chemicals and Human Health Click to go to resources index page.

Environmental Health Resources
Nuclear Radiation & Human Health

This page contains electronic materials published by various institutions, which can be used as teaching resources. Some of the resources are general and some others specific to subjects presented in each PULSE unit.

For Teachers & Students

Animated Image of a Pressurized Water Reactor

Pressurized Water Reactors are known as “PWRs.” They keep water under pressure so that it heats but does not boil. Water from the reactor and the water that is turned into steam are in separate pipes and never mix.

A pencil

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Logo
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission <http://www.nrc.gov/> (NRC) is an independent agency established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 | Full-text Version PDF File of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 to regulate Nation's civilian use of byproduct, source, and special nuclear materials to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, to promote the common defense and security, and to protect the environment. The NRC's regulatory mission covers three main areas: reactors as the one shown above, materials, and waste.

Image of cartoon character wondering what is nuclear energy
Students' Resources
A person in a yellow protective suit

Click to see the Fast Attacks and Boomers website.
From the end of World War II in 1945 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War dominated international affairs. Although sometimes fought on the battlefield, it involved everything from political rhetoric to sports. Overshadowing all was the threat of nuclear war. The U.S. adopted a policy of deterrence by threateneing any would-be attacker with nuclear annihilation. To make the threat credible, our country developed what is called the "Strategic Triad" of nuclear forces—long-range bombers, land-based missiles, and submarines, capable of catastrophic damage and devastating casualties on an enemy.

Three Mile Isalnd Photo: The Nuclear Accident
The Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident was the worst accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power generating history according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC produced a Fact Sheet Fact Sheet of Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, PA detailing the event from start to finish. Three Mile Island Alert is a non-profit citizens' organization dedicated to the promotion of safe-energy alternatives to nuclear power and is especially critical of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant.

Bullet of Inside TMI Inside TMI: Minute-by-Minute
Bullet item on Exelon Corporation Exelon Corp. on TMI
Bullet item on PennState at TMI PennState on TMI: 25 Years Later
Bullet item on Britannica on TMI Britannica on TMI
Bullet item on ThreeMileIsland.org and the resource center and virtual museum ThreeMileIsland.Org | Virtual Museum
Bullet item on Pennsylvania Highways on Three Mile Island Pennsylvania Highways on TMI
Bullet item on Brown University Center for Environmental Studies on TMI Brown University: Center for Environmental Studies
on TMI
Bullet Item of PDF file on TMI Emergency Plan TMI Emergency Plan  PDF File on TMI Emergency Plan

Emergency Graphic

Three Mile Island Diagram of the Nuclear Reactor Accident

Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) has artciles on adverse effects of nuclear radiation on human health:
  • Power Surge: Renewed Interest in Nuclear Energy HTML | PDF
  • Radionuclides in the Great Lakes Basin HTML
  • Solid-Tumor Mortality in the Vicinity of Uranium Cycle Facilities and Nuclear Power Plants in Spain HTML | PDF
  • Long-Term Follow-Up of the Residents of the Three Mile Island Accident Area: 1979-1998 HTML | PDF
  • Mortality among the Residents of the Three Mile Island Accident Area: 1979-1992 HTML | PDF
  • Image of EHP Journal Cover

    How Nuclear Radiation Works In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we will look at nuclear radiation so that you can understand exactly what it is and how it affects your life on a daily basis.

    Nuclear Headlines Logo for ANS Members
    The American Nuclear Society is an international, not-for-profit scientific and educational organization consisting of approximately 11,000 engineers, scientists, educators, students, and others with nuclear-related interests. Phone 708-352-6611 | Fax 708-352-0499

    Animated image of radiation
    On April 25th -26th, 1986 the world's worst nuclear power accident occurred at Chernobyl in the former USSR (now Ukraine). The Chernobyl nuclear power plant located 80 miles north of Kiev had 4 reactors and whilst testing reactor number 4 numerous safety procedures were disregarded. At 1:23am the chain reaction in the reactor became out of control creating explosions and a fireball which blew off the reactor's heavy steel and concrete lid. The website contains a Chernobyl quiz, health & psychological effects, political, economic, environmental and social consequences, and more.
    Diagram of Chernobyl Accident

    Survive NBC Logo

    The Health Effects Of Nuclear Exposure

    The thought of nuclear warfare is frightening for all of us, and even more frightening is the thought of how exposure to nuclear detonation can affect our health – assuming, of course, that it doesn’t kill us outright. There are many short term and long term effects that come with exposure to nuclear warfare. The effects can be spread far and wide, and can continue to affect us and our families for generations. The obvious risk from exposure to nuclear warfare is immediate death. This can occur due to the blast from the explosion, from flying debris, from burning, and from vaporisation due to gamma rays. If you do survive the blast then there are a number of ways in which you could be affected through internal and external exposure. Read More
    Nuclear Sign
    Radiation Plus Bomb (war) Equals DEATH!

    Contents on this webpage were developed by Stephanie Nardei Outreach Information Specialist, Center of Toxicology, Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona.

    PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

    NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
    The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


    Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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    Last update: March 7, 2007
      Page Content: Rachel Hughes
    Web Master: Travis Biazo