Published on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 by Jesse Baxter
Nuclear power has been harming the environment through the radiation produced by nuclear power plants. We should decommission our nuclear power plants before they cause more damage than they already have.
If we continue to use nuclear power and atomic weaponry, then who knows how many more accidents could happen? There have been several severe accidents already with nuclear power, including Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami…the list goes on and on.
In parts of Europe today, they still test children for signs of radiation from the Chernobyl meltdown, which spread radioactive gas throughout Europe, increasing birth defects in children. There could be an even worse meltdown causing untold harm to humans and the environment in the future if the use of such nuclear equipment is not reduced.
Another issue is that even if we go many more years without a meltdown, the radioactive waste that a plant produces still emits high levels of radiation, which lasts for hundreds of years. The waste generates heat, so it could potentially explode if there was a problem with the cooling systems.
Some have suggested that we launch the waste into space, but what would happen if the rocket crashed, or burned up in the atmosphere? It could spill radiation, making land uninhabitable and poisoning the people near the crash. The waste itself lasts for more than a thousand years, and as we keep making more of it, it is a building threat.
A recent event that capitalizes on the danger of nuclear power plants is the recent earthquake in Japan. The earthquake itself caused untold damage to the buildings and people, but it also caused the reactors in the plants to leak and spill radiation over parts of Japan. This caused people to get radiation sickness and contaminated their water and food. This catastrophe could cause the death of an untold amount of people, and might cause birth defects for a long time. If the plants had not existed, the situation would have still been bad, but much less so.
Some people say that nuclear energy is one of the most efficient ways to get energy, which is true, but the consequences outweigh the gains. It provides a lot of energy, but the accidents, meltdowns, and failures of plants poison the environment and people to the point it’s to risky to continue using. It doesn’t pollute the atmosphere like burning coal does, but the waste nuclear energy produces is highly dangerous and lasts for so long that it could harm the environment more than coal pollution.
Some other energy sources we should look to are solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal. There are a lot of buildings that have enough roof space, and get sun over 300 days a year that could put solar panels on the roof and generate energy, like all the buildings at A&M. There are numerous sources of energy that wouldn’t pollute the environment like nuclear, all we need to do is tap into them.
We should decommission our nuclear power plants and turn to more eco-friendly sources of power. If we continue to use nuclear power, it will continue to be a constant threat. There are many examples of nuclear plants melting down, or failing in some way and causing massive devastation. Nuclear energy is just too unstable to use.