Nuclear Power Problems The effects caused by a nuc

lear power accident, on the scale of the April 26, 1986 Chernobyl accident, must override any inclination to side with advocates for nuclear power. Surely we have all heard the expression “Im only human”. If we are indeed only human, and consequently prone to error, we could never perfectly manage and contain an energy as potentially destructive as that of nuclear power, without the possibility of a nuclear accident. Furthermore, the wastes generated by nuclear power, when inadvertently released during a nuclear power accident, have been proven to cause malignant diseases and premature death to those who come into contact with them. Additionally, the vegetation threat we rely on for survival is severely affected when radioactive elements are released into the air and water supply during a nuclear accident. Most alarming, however, is the fact that the general public is vastly unaware of its governments use of nuclear waste in the development of nuclear weapon. Most of us can remember the bombing of Iwo Jima and the effects the bomb had on the lives of the millions of Japanese that lived within a twenty mile radius of the city. We can see what happened to the second generation: children born with severe informities such as sixteen fingers and three arms; children born with cancer; and children with mental and physical handicaps. The radiation of a bomb doesnt always cause instant death, but it is a lingering experience. Japanese people, thought to be healthy, got cancer in later life, and had dis-formed children. Consequently, we must not be swayed by advocates urging us to further develop and expand nuclear power. We must, instead, examine the larger picture; the risks associated with this potentially devastating power. The potential for human error causing a nuclear accident can be ascertained by considering the causes and effects of accidents that have already occurred. In 1952, at Chalk Rivers Nuclear Reactor, four control pads were unintentionally removed, causing a partial meltdown of the reactors core. In 1957, a fire at the Windscale Pile No. 1 plant, just north of Liverpool, England, resulted in the contamination of 200 square miles of countryside when it was covered with radiation. In 1976, the core of the Lubmin nuclear plant in Greifswald, East Germany nearly melted down when safety systems failed during a fire. In 1979, the ever so famous, Three Mile Island reactor in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania lost coolant in one of its two reactors and a partial meltdown occurred on March 28, 1979. “Large amounts of radioactive noble gases were released to the containment atmosphere. Some of these were released into the environment” (The Three). The resulting contamination led to a very expensive ten-year clean up plan. “The first re-entry of the building took place in July of 1980” (TIP 10). Still, nothing compares to the tragic accident at the Soviets Chernobyl power plant in 1986. “The accident which immediately killed three hundred and twenty one persons, caused about 130,000 cases of irradiation and led to the displacement of hundred of individuals” (Fragelada). The post Chernobyl brain syndrome arose because of the high amounts of radiation. “In the city of Gomel, Belarus, near the Chernobyl power plant, a survey revealed that out of fifteen hundreds of children, only twenty-four were in good health” (Chernobyl). The Belarus children keep eating the contaminated food. “The Chernobyl plant did not have the massive containment structure common to most nuclear power plants elsewhere in the world” (The Chernobyl Accident). The costs associated with nuclear power are of paramount concern. When compared to coal, gas, and oil in 1997, only coal was cheaper than nuclear power. It would appear to the general public, that nuclear power is a bargain deal. Few people, however, take into account the fact that bargain-deals often cost the consumer more in their long-term values. The costs resulting from nuclear accidents are seldom taken fully into account. First of all, the scientists, researchers, technicians, and workers who must assess the accidents and initiate clean-up operations, must be compensated. Instruments, tools, and machinery must be bought and transported to the accident site to enable the clean-up. Storage containers for the radioactive waste must be constructed. Doctors and hospitals must be made available for the diagnosis and treatment of the victims. Even those who sustained lower doses of radiation must be monitored. Pregnant women must be monitored for both their incidence of spontaneous abortion [mis-carriage] as well as congenial defects in their offspring. Children must be monitored for possible future thyroid tumors as a result of the high radiation doses that they have sustained. Future generations must be studied to ascertain whether their incidence to cancers, diseases, or birth defects can directly attribute to a prior generation nuclear accident. The costs of nuclear power are, hence, quiet substantial. Most people dont realize this, but terrorists train near Three Mile Island. “In late 1992 to 1993, training was conducted at a camp near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for operations and assassinations in the United States and Overseas” (Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali). The FBI had been aware of the training going on, at least a month before the terrorists bombed the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993. “One of the main problems concerning nuclear power could be the secret kept around it. Nuclear companies are very isolated” (Fragelada). Another reason to stand against nuclear power is that, unbeknownst to the general public, its wastes are used in the development of nuclear weapons. Although a county initiating the use of nuclear power may develop high-level waste storage methods, they are not generally designed to prevent encroachment. Nuclear waste becomes more tempting to potential bomb makers as time allows the waste to decay into a cleaner plutonium which could be used in nuclear weapons. Another problem is, what do you do with the wastes? “The problem of the wastes is a catastrophe in all the producer countries. Nobody knows what to do with it. They are buried, either in the countryside or in foreign countries” (Fragelada). Politicians and media personnel often oversimplify nuclear power by showing only its beneficial aspects. Llewellyn King asserts that because the word thought that it was running out of oil and natural gas in the 1970s, the logical explanation was to expand nuclear power production. Because coal and gas emit large amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere, Llewellyn asserted that nuclear power could clean up the atmosphere, thus stopping global warming. Although, the concerns of the writer are credible, further education of the devastating effects of nuclear power accidents would probably yield a change of heart. We must not be swayed by the opinions of those associated with, or those who have connections with the press. Nuclear power poses a life- threatening risk to the public and the future of our world. We must do all we can to persuade, convince, and educate the general public. The horrible effects of nuclear accidents will eventually cause death and destruction to all life as we know it. Stand firmly opposed to nuclear energy and save our planet form eventual destruction. Bibliography
Works Cited Chernobyl: Health Impact – Chapter V. Accessed on July 20, 2000. Nuclear Waste Problems. Accessed on July 19, 2000. Growth impairment and mental retardation among children exposed to atomic-bomb radiation before birth. Accessed on June 20, 2000. TIP 10: Status of Three Mile Island Unit 2. Accessed on July 20, 2000.> Lemonick, Michael D. Paying for Disaster. Time Magazine; May 17, 1993. Accessed on July 22, 2000.> Perlman, Fredy. Progress & Nuclear Power: The Destruction of the Continent and Its Peoples. Accessed on July 22, 2000. The Chernobyl Accidents and Its Consequences. Accessed on July 20, 2000. Fragelada, Hiram. Chernobyl Project. Accessed on July 20, 2000. Ali, Siddig Ibrahim Siddig. Another Nuclear Threat. Accessed July 21, 2000.


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