A main goal of the ANS UW student section is the promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology for the betterment of humanity. We believe that nuclear brings a unique set of strengths to many aspects of society. Through relatively inexpensive electricity, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and forms of radiation for medicine, food safety, and national security, nuclear impacts lives every day.
Concerns about global climate change coupled with rising energy demands require a robust, proven technology capable of producing baseload electricity with low carbon. According to emissions data collected by the IPCC, nuclear is second only to wind in terms of lowest carbon emissions per kWh of produced electricity.
Nuclear medicine and radiology are the basis of many medical techniques. Radiation and radioactivity are utilized to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. According to the Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information, "about one-third of all procedures used in modern hospitals involve radiation or radioactivity." Non-invasive procedures such as X-rays, MRI scanners, CAT scans, and ultrasound help doctors diagnose conditions, without having the need for surgery. These types of nuclear innovations are the cause of advancement in quick, safe, early and more accurate medical diagnoses.
As much as 30% of the world's food production is lost to insects, bacteria, and rodents during or after harvest. Because of this, there is a massive need to find a new way to increase food production and decrease spoilage. Nuclear technology can use radiation to improve the production of food in mass quantities. For example, sterile insect techniques (SIT) uses gamma radiation to sterilize produce. Irradiation kills bacteria, molds, and parasites in our food, and there is no need to worry! Irradiation does not make food radioactive- the food looks and tastes just like the fresh, raw food.
Nuclear power is used to benefit our national security by the way it is applied to nonproliferation, counterterrorism, emergency response, powering our navy, and much more. NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) works within the DOE to monitor and secure nuclear or radioactive materials so that the threat of misuse is controlled. Without the inclusion on nuclear energy in our national security, there would be greater threats to our nation, proving how important nuclear energy is in our every day lives.