Nuclear Power Problems
Despite the fact that nuclear power has been heralded as a “clean” energy source, capable of solving the problems promoted by the burning of fossil fuels, over the course of the last fifty years, the magnitude of the accidents that have occurred as a result of the use of nuclear energy clearly demonstrate the problems associated with this type of energy. With this in mind, it becomes evident why nuclear power is not more widely utilized within the context of modern power systems. Arguably, there are devices in society that have been shown to be more dangerous than nuclear power; automobiles and airplanes kill more people in a year than nuclear power plants. However, the magnitude of the destruction that is caused when nuclear power goes awry is not only frightening but overwhelmingly devastating as well.
Looking at the prospect of nuclear power from the perspective of the problems that have resulted as a consequence of nuclear power accidents, one author notes that in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident, contamination of the water and soil near the plan continues to be a pervasive problem. “Five years after the disaster at Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4, there were 4 million people still living in territory tainted by radioactive fallout—2.2 million in Belarus alone. One-third of that republic’s territory was contaminated, most of it agricultural land. Even where contamination was significant, the land continues to be farmed because of lack of an alternative source of income or food”. As such, the extent of the damage that can occur as a result of a nuclear power accident is clearly illustrated.
In addition to the long-term effects that have been suffered as a result of radiation from nuclear power accidents, when reviewing data from the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, it becomes evident that the sources of contamination also played a significant role in the destruction that is caused by these types of accidents. After the fallout from the Three Mile Island plant had occurred, public health officials became altered to a potential contamination problem that had not been addressed until it was too late. It seems that cows eating the radioactive fallout on the grass were producing milk that was radioactive. The end result of this situation was that hundreds, if not thousands of citizens in the surrounding areas drank radioactive milk without their knowledge.
Arguably, the problems that can arise as a result of utilizing nuclear energy are reason enough to abandon use. However, when one considers the process that is involved with the creation of nuclear power the proposition for abandoning the use of this form of energy becomes even more substantial. This is because, while the process of producing nuclear energy is indeed quit scientifically sound, when the process is undertaken in the laboratory, it can often produce conditions that cannot be controlled.