With the advancement in technology and the emergence of Nuclear Energy as the preferred alternative to generate power, disastrous accidents and meltdowns at Nuclear power plants have threatened the safety of our planet since the mid of the 20th century for its long term devastating effects on the entire ecosystem…
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Nearly three million people live within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of an operating nuclear power plant.1 Nuclear power plants use the heat generated from nuclear fission in a contained environment to convert water to steam, which powers generators to produce electricity, also producing by-products in the wake of this procedure like, radiation and release radioactive particles into the air which can be harmful to people, animals, crops, and the environment overall. Mutation of humans and animals, deaths of plants and infection of various species resulting in an entire food chain getting irrevocably poisoned, severely erosive acid rain, contamination of the water cycle and air as radioactive particles diffuse into the surrounding regions are some of the many devastating effects that disrupt the ecosystem of our planet.
Although the construction and operation of nuclear power plants are closely monitored and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), accidents at these plants are possible due to flaws in the design of the power plant, human error of the operators and electrical engineers involved etc. The worrying thing about these power stations is that when something goes wrong due to human error or a fault not fixed, an irreversibly massive accident can occur destroying many kilometers of area in its vicinity, contaminating it almost forever. The magnitude of its effects is determined by the amount of radiation released from the explosion, wind direction and speed, and weather condition. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945) nuclear bombings, two of the most famous nuclear accidents at these power stations occurred at the Chernobyl reactor 4 (Ukraine - 1986) in the former Soviet Union and the Three Mile Island (US - 1979) reactor 2 in the United States.
Categorized as the most intense nuclear disaster ever, the Chernobyl nuclear explosion (1986) destroyed the unit in its entirety and released an incredible amount of radiated fallout, into the environment resulting in about 600000 deaths due to radiation exposure as revealed by IAEA and WHO studies with 56 direct deaths off the explosion. The 4000 cancer deaths due to exposure to nuclear carcinogens are just a meager part of the expected 100000 fatalities. The after effects of this nuclear power plant disaster were Nuclear rain in places like Ireland as the radioactive fallout traveled over an extensive geographical area spreading all through the Western Europe in just a span of 1 week resulting in contamination in large areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Four square kilometers of pine land forests turned brown and died in addition to numerous animal deaths and the remaining badly poisoned with thyroid and reproductive problems, now known as the 'Red Forest'. However, the later generations did not suffer these problems. About 336000 people's evacuation, resettling due to this tragedy and the horrendous large scale loss of life and lifestyle pose nuclear power catastrophe as one of the most irreversibly destructive threats in this contemporary society of technological development where precautions and safety measures direly need to be adopted to avoid a bigger loss.
The Kyshtym (1957) disaster in a Russian nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Mayak, the Windscale fire (UK - 1957)
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