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Nuclear Power Essay

2272 words - 9 pages

Matthew HullRachel GloverEnglish 10211/26/13Essay #3 PersuasiveIn 1945 when the first nuclear weapon was detonated it started off a chain reaction of in both the military and civilian research fields. Both sides of the life wanted to harness the potential that nuclear reactions held to create which at the time was seen as unlimited energy. In 1952 the first nuclear reactor for pure power generation was put online and soon more were to follow. Now nuclear energy is used in many fields of life from the military in submarines and ships, to civilian power generation. Nuclear power is in wide spread use around the world, but no more than in The United States. The usage of this power source has been claimed to be safe, clean and cost effective, however I disagree. It is my opinion that the usage of nuclear power should be phased out in The United States. Nuclear power is costly to operate, has no known viable storage method for the waste products, and has been known to have accidents that have long lasting effects. I intend to argue against the usage of this energy source while also talking about both sides of the debate.Many people say that nuclear energy is clear energy, and while it is true that that if radioactive gasses or wastes were to enter the atmospheres it wouldn't create greenhouse gasses, we would still be left with a poisoned atmosphere. However that is not the worst of potential pollution that can be potentially released upon the world; I am talking about the heavily radioactive waste that is spent fuel rods from the reactors. It could be said that currently the most pressing issue with nuclear power is the question of what to do with the waste products. The waste product of nuclear power plants currently does not have viable safe storage method. Currently nuclear waste is stored in concrete barrels called casks. These casks are made of reinforced concrete with and internal liner made of a steel lead alloy. The nuclear fuel rods are stored in these barrels surrounded either by inert gases such as nitrogen or with water and then sealed shut. There are disadvantages to both types, the gas filled casks must be reopened periodically to remove the gases and refill it while also checking to see if cask has cracks. Meanwhile the water filled casks require a dedicated pumping system; to continuously cycle cool water in and around the waste fuel rods. (Ferguson) In 1987 both the United States senate and house authorized the construction of Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository with the plans that it would start receiving nuclear waste for long term storage by 2017. In 2009 the Obama Administration canceled the opening of the repository after sixteen years of construction and 87.3 billion US dollars spent. (Stewart) Many of those that are against storage facilities such as Yucca Mountain say that the casks alone will suffice as they are supposedly hardened against airliner strength collisions. Strengthened they may be it is a known fact that the...

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