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Is Nuclear Energy Worth the Risk?

Essay by   •  November 11, 2011  •  Case Study  •  419 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,910 Views

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Is Nuclear Energy Worth the Risk?

There are several different aspects of the protest against nuclear power. The different aspects vary from safety concerns, environmental hazards and the proper dismantling of reactors to name a few. Also, there is the issue of the radioactive waste that is produced by nuclear power.

Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risk?

Advantages of Nuclear Power

There are several advantages of using nuclear power. Nuclear power stations do not burn anything to create the heat needed therefore, produce low levels of pollutants such as CO2 and considered an environmentally clean source of energy. Another advantage of using nuclear power is that it would lessen the nation's dependency of oil, which mostly come from the Middle East and South America. Building nuclear plants would also create more jobs and boost the nation's economy. The American Petroleum Institute, states that the way current reactors operate, nuclear power is non-renewable but in a breeder reactor, it would produce more fuel that it consumes making it renewable and a sustainable resource (API, 2008).

Disadvantages of Nuclear Power

A strong concern among the opposition to nuclear power is nuclear accidents. Although safety standards have been increased over the last 20 years, the Chernobyl incident is one that concerns many. In the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986, massive amounts of radiation were released into the surrounding environment. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from the area and many workers were exposed to high doses of radiation. Widespread radiation contamination was found in areas inhabited by millions of people (U.S. NRC, 2009).

Proper Disposal

Although, the waste produced does not take up a lot of volume, it still remains highly radioactive up to 1000 years. Therefore storage of this waste has to be put somewhere where it remains safely quarantined from humans, wildlife and the environment. Its storage could not be compromised by natural disasters, terrorism or any other risks that might jeopardize the lives thousands.

Conclusion

I do not believe the benefits of nuclear power are worth the lives of innocent citizens. I would not feel comfortable living within the vicinity of a nuclear power plant. America needs to get involved in this issue and do what they can to make a difference in this situation. Think globally and act locally. Every decision we make will have benefits and risks involved, so it is important to make an informed choice.

References

American Petroleum Institute (API) (2008). Key characteristics of non-renewable resources. http://www.api.org/classroom/curricula/nonrenew-resources.cfm.

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