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Nuclear Power

Essay by   •  February 19, 2012  •  Essay  •  605 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,546 Views

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Introduction

Nuclear energy is energy generated by nuclear reactions. Nuclear power is usually available in the form of heat; thus by means of steam turbines and generators electricity is generated. The use of nuclear energy to generate electricity is widely protested against. The critics are of the opinion that the operation of nuclear power plants and the disposal of spent nuclear fuel pose irresponsible security risks (Openshaw, 1986).

Criticism

Accident Risk (Risk of a Meltdown)

In the Chernobyl disaster, the largest nuclear accident in history, large areas of land were contaminated with radioactive nuclides. The WHO states that 9000 people have died as a direct consequence of the high radiation. Other organizations estimate a much higher number victims; Greenpeace calls 200,000 additional deaths as a result of the accident, and the TORCH report calls 30000-60000.

Environmental and Health Risks

Impacts of Uranium Mining

The uranium mining causes massive environmental destruction. Miners in uranium mines often suffer from lung cancer. In areas where uranium is mined, there is also an increased health risk due to escaping radioactivity; for example, increased radium and arsenic levels in house dust in the vicinity of the mining company which increases health risk in the region. Huge amounts of radioactive waste, and pollution makes their way into ground water and food (Ramberg, 1984).

Another problem is an enormous demand for water, in arid regions such as Australia and Niger.

Discharges from the Normal Operation

A study by the an agency for radiation protection in 2007 demonstrated a statistically significant increase in leukemia incidence in children less than five kilometers have grown from a nuclear power plant away.

Plutonium, in the spent fuel rods will be included in the French reprocessing plant at La Hague and British Sellafield. Formed during this process at La Hague 400 cubic meters of radioactive waste get dumped in the water daily.

Unresolved Waste Disposal

In addition, the disposal of highly radioactive fuel assemblies is considered to be unsecured, as some of the resulting nuclides have very high half-lives are (239 Pu , for example, 24,000 years), although by reprocessing and transmutation this can be reduced to a few hundred years. The transport in Castor - and other containers because of possible accidents is also not safe. During the reprocessing of plutonium it could be extracted for the production of nuclear weapons. In addition, particularly from reprocessing plant at Sellafield, many media reports suggest that uncontrolled radioactivity was leaked and the families living adjacent have faced

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