So deep are the protective, buffering and neutralizing properties of bicarbonate that it is used even with radiation exposure to protect the kidneys and other tissues. In a world that is already overexposed to uranium and mercury, sodium bicarbonate becomes even more important because mercury and uranium oxide directly attack the nuclear material and mitochondria of the cells.
The kidneys are usually the first organs to show chemical damage upon uranium exposure. Old military manuals suggest doses or infusions of sodium bicarbonate to help alkalinize the urine if this happens. This makes the uranyl ion less kidney-toxic and promotes excretion of the nontoxic uranium-carbonate complex. The oral administration of sodium bicarbonate diminishes the severity of the changes produced by uranium in the kidneys.