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- Nuclear explosions can release high levels of radiation, energy that removes electrons from atoms and can damage DNA.
- In August 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, marking the first disastrous impact from nuclear energy.
- In 1957, the United Nations created the International Atomic Energy Agency, an organization to promote peace and safety regulation standards with nuclear technologies.
- In 1958, Britain’s Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War (DAC) was formed to promote “non-violent direct action to obtain the total renunciation of nuclear war and its weapons by Britain and all other countries as a first step in disarmament.”
- While areas around a nuclear explosion are immediately exposed, radiation can also remain in the atmosphere for decades, traveling great distances before it settles to the ground-level air or Earth's surface.
- In 1979, there was a nuclear power plant accident on Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island. The disaster exposed 2 million nearby residents to low-risk radiation (less than the strength of an x-ray). It took 14 years and $975 million to clean up.
- In 1986, Explosions at the Chernobyl Power Plant (Ukraine) killed 30 workers and forced 300,00 residents to relocate.The disaster released 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Japan in WWII.
- The most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated was Russia’s Tsar Bomba. It is also the single most physically powerful device ever created by man, with a mushroom cloud over 40 miles high and the base of its cloud 25 miles wide.
- Disposing of one's outer clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material after a nuclear disaster.
- Japan has had three nuclear power plant accidents since 1999. The most recent one, in 2011 at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, occurred after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami damaged cooling systems.
- After Japan’s nuclear disaster in 2011, several countries have rethought the use of nuclear energy. Germany plans to close all of its reactors by 2021, and Italy and Switzerland have halted expanding their nuclear power.
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"Understanding the Decision to Drop the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Center for Strategic and International Studies. http://csis.org/blog/understanding-decision-drop-bomb-hiroshima-and-nagasaki (accessed July 30, 2014).
"International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)IAEA Home." About the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). http://www.iaea.org/About/ (accessed August 1, 2014).
"Archive of the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War." - Library. http://www.bradford.ac.uk/library/special-collections/collections/archive-of-the-direct-action-committee-against-nuclear-war/ (accessed August 1, 2014).
"Nuclear Weapon Radiation Effects." Nuclear Weapon Radiation Effects. http://fas.org/nuke/intro/nuke/radiation.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).
"Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident." NRC:. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/3mile-isle.html (accessed August 1, 2014).
"Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident." NRC:. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/chernobyl-bg.html (accessed July 31, 2014).
"Big Ivan, The Tsar Bomba (“King of Bombs”)." The Soviet Weapons Program. http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Russia/TsarBomba.html (accessed August 1, 2014).
"Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)." During a Nuclear Blast. http://m.fema.gov/during-nuclear-blast (accessed August 1, 2014).
"New strategy for Fukushima trench water." Fukushima Accident. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident/ (accessed August 1, 2014).
Dempsey, Judy. "Panel Urges Germany to Close Nuclear Plants by 2021." The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/12/business/energy-environment/12energy.html?_r=0 (accessed August 1, 2014).