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Nuclear Energy; How Safe Is It?

1378 words - 6 pages

March 11, 2011 an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude struck and caused a tsunami that led to the meltdown of three reactors at Japans Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Hundreds of thousands of people found themselves victim of contamination from one of the worst environmental disasters in history. So, how can Nuclear Energy be safe, this is just one of many accidents to happen whether it is by natural disaster or human error nuclear energy is not safe. It has been estimated that some types of spent fuel will be dangerous for 240,000 years and others more than two million years. If the spent fuel will be a danger for the environment and the people in that environment, should we not rethink our use of and dependence on Nuclear energy.
Some believe nuclear energy is safer than fossil fuel, they believe this due to the fact there are fewer documented deaths caused directly by nuclear energy. However, they do not take into consideration the long term effects of nuclear energy on people and the environment. There have been many other incidents involving nuclear energy, power plants and/or nuclear waste. For example; in 1986, before the cold was ended a nuclear reactor experienced a very destructive meltdown in Ukraine. This meltdown was caused by human error, and went on to cause a huge explosion that released large amounts of radiation, the reactor spewed out around 8 tons of radioactive material. That’s about 200 times more radioactivity than what was released at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This incident, we have all come to know as the Chernobyl incident. The radiation that leaked into our air was so great that it was detected thousands of miles away in Sweden, almost immediately. The Chernobyl incident happened about 7 years after an accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. This incident was also the unfortunate result of human error, and caused one-third of the fuel in the reactor to melt. Although there was no explosion, like Chernobyl, large amounts of radiation were still released into the air, causing the radiation monitors to go off the scale early on in the incident, and these same monitors remained inoperable for 48 hours afterwards. As it was stated in my research, no one knows to this day how much radiation escaped exactly, but very abnormal radiation readings were detected up to 250 miles away from the plant. The incident just described happened in the United States, less than 20 miles from the Hershey chocolate factory, in one of our countries largest and richest dairying areas. Ground measurements of radiation were supposedly done, but are still unavailable to anyone requesting them. On the condition that local residents remain silent, the
General Public Utility Corporation agreed to financially compensate them for illnesses related and unrelated to the radiation; however there are still 2,000 claims pending for possible radiation related illnesses. A government sponsored report estimated that if this incident had been a Chernobyl-like...

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