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Nuclear Power - Essay Example

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There are various risks in humanity’s path in seeking alternative means for energy needs as fossil fuels and natural gases grow scarcer. Among all the other alternative energy options, there is nothing more…
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The Issues of Nuclear Energy Every method of energy producing methods has its negative effects. There are various risks in humanity’s path in seeking alternative means for energy needs as fossil fuels and natural gases grow scarcer. Among all the other alternative energy options, there is nothing more hazardous and highly risky than the harnessing of nuclear energy. In a brief description, nuclear energy is developed by gathering uranium deposits from the Earth’s crust, having uranium bundled together through chemical processes and then used immediately at nuclear power stations, or stored in radioactive silos.
The problems that plague nuclear energy revolve around the materials it uses to create energy. Uranium is highly radioactive once it has been depleted all of its impurities in which is needed to power up nuclear reactors. Inside a nuclear reactor, the radioactivity is increased to more than a thousand times as a quantity of of the uranium is changed to a mixture of different irradiated elements. Most, if not all, of these radioactive elements are very hazardous to human beings because such materials are highly unstable to certain elements in the environment that either cause unexpected and damaging combustion or radioactive exposure or poisoning. The damages that could result from all this destroys not only the environment greatly; it also destroys human lives and welfare as well.
There are many different ways through which people could be exposed to radiation such as inhalation of radioactive gases or particles, some radioactive elements found in the soil or water, eating or drinking of food, water or dust that are contaminated. Some radioactive elements mimic normal chemical elements in the ecology and make blend in with the food chain, poisoning the whole ecosystem. In contemporary and even recent human history, there are two events that show such sort of damage and hazard the risks of nuclear energy can do. First, there was the Chernobyl Accident in 1986 in Pripyat, Ukraine. Then, there was the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor in North Japan at 2011.
At 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor had a catastrophic explosion that completely destroyed the power facility and caused massive amounts of radioactive materials to spread throughout Europe, especially seriously damaging life and the environment of what was then the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR. A forum by the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA (2005) stated that “the vast majority of about 5 million people residing in contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine currently receive annual effective doses from the Chernobyl fallout of less than 1 mSv in addition to the natural background doses” (p.13). There is also 20 mile exclusion zone around the destroyed reactor due to high levels of radiation found in the area, and there was a long period of environmental damage due to the fallout.
Also recently, as of 2011, the earthquake and tsunami that his Japan caused the Fukushima Nuclear Plant to be severely damaged beyond repair. Although not as horrific a disaster as that of the Chernobyl Accident, the leaking of the nuclear reactors at Fukushima cause grave concerns. In his article in the Medicine and Global Survival series McCoy (2011) said that “there are many lessons to be learnt from Fukushima, not least of which is to recognize that nuclear energy is exceedingly dangerous and carries unacceptable, unnecessary risks to human health and the environment” (p.44). Indeed, incident of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant made many governments of various nations, and different energy advocate groups, to review the use and weighing the scales on the use of nuclear energy. Should it be worth the risk of lives and the environments for a stronger yet equally hazardous use of energy? Some nations, various societies, and many energy organizations have now been pressed harder with such questions.
References
International Atomic Energy Agency. (2005). Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts and Recommendations to the Governments of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The Chernobyl Forum: 2003-2005. D.Kinley III, (Ed). Vienna: IAEA.
McCoy, R. (2011). Japan’s Nuclear Nightmare. Medicine & Global Survival. J. Loretz, (Ed). Massachusetts: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War or IPPNW Read More
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