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The natural resources of the Earth are running out at an alarming rate. So, in the nearest future people will be in search of alternative power sources to generate electricity and ensure their survival. The only possible solution to this problem is to use nuclear power. However, nuclear power is a type of energy that is not as safe as gas, oil or burning coal. In fact, it is much more dangerous.
Nuclear power has been in use for more than half a century. At first, it was an instrument of destruction and war. About 20% of U.S. power plants each year are supplied with atomic power. Progress had turned destructive power of an atom into a huge system to generate “cheap and clean” electricity. Government declared that it was absolutely efficient and safe, although it brought mutations, sicknesses, different types of cancer and death to those people who suffered from atomic disease caused by high level of radiation. Big oil corporations every year invest billions of dollars in nuclear power. The truth is that nuclear power plants are not as safe as they seem to be. A simple accident at a nuclear plant can be much more destructive than a similar accident at a gas or coal plant because of the danger of radioactive contamination. An example of this is the two huge atomic disasters in world`s history: Chernobyl disaster in 1986, and Fukushima in 2011. Both had catastrophic consequences.
Is atomic power really so necessary?
Modern lifestyle is based on using the variety of devices. That requires huge amounts of electricity from industrial processes and forces people to waste more and more resources
which are used to produce electricity (oil, gas, coal).
In 21st century, atomic power has been promoted as necessary and economically advantageous to fully replace natural resources that are quickly running out. However, this is not true. There are many other environmentally safe and economically viable sources like hydroelectric power, wind power and solar power. Today 1/5 of total energy production in the world comes from wind/water/sun. It means that soon we would be able to abandon the nuclear power.
Is it worth the risks?
Using natural types of energy also have negative impacts on the environment. Let us take hydropower as an example:
- Flooding of large tracts of territory, which kills local fauna;
- The hydroelectric power plants produce deadly greenhouse gases. Large amounts of flora are decaying anaerobically in the absence of oxygen;
- The migration of river fish like trout and salmon;
- Decline in soil fertility;
- Dams become the breeding grounds for colonies of mosquitoes that may cause the variety of diseases;
- Water in the dam is usually warmer than normal river water. It can negatively affect the life of animals and fish ;
- 500,000 km2 of land around the world has been submerged due to the building of large dams;
The negative impacts of using atomic energy:
- The problem of radioactive waste and air, water and soil pollution. The waste from nuclear energy is extremely dangerous for all living creatures and can cause the great variety of diseases (cancer, defects at the genetic level);
- Despite the high security standard, accidents are still happening. It is technically impossible to ensure 100% security level. The consequences of an accident are absolutely devastating both for animals, plants and human beings;
- Radiation dose of 2000 - 3000 REMs causes the hemorrhage, swelling of brain tissue and death. 500 REMs will cause hair to fall out, stop the cells activity, and promote the formation of ulcers on the skin;
- Nuclear power objects could be targets of terrorist attacks. Such an attack would have extensive concequences for the whole world;
- Radioactive waste in turn can be used for the production of nuclear weapons;
- The source of energy for atomic nuclear plants is Uranium. Its half-life can last for decades.
Any large energy producing system brings the risks. However, nuclear power plants are much more dangerous than any other. Cancer, meltdowns, mutations and eventually death are possible results of using the nuclear power.
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Fukushima Accident - March 11, 2011. A huge tsunami caused by the earthquake disabled cooling and power supply of Fukushima Daiichi power plant, leading to a nuclear accident.All three cores melted in the first few days. The accident was rated 7 on the INES scale, due to high radioactive pollution. Within a few months, the temperature of the reactors was reduced successfully.There have been no cases of radiation sickness or deaths after the nuclear accident, but to ensure this, over 150,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes.
Chernobyl Accident - April 26, 1986. Itwas the result of a flawed reactor design and inadequately trained personnel.The explosion released at least 5% of the radioactive waste into the downwind and atmosphere.Two workers died on the night of the accident, and 28 workers died within two weeks from acute radiation poisoning.To the present day, people continue to die of cancer and related diseases. Radioactively contaminated territories for years have turned into the restricted zone.
Radioactivity cannot be felt, seen, smelt or tasted. It is an invisible portion of the death. Radioactivity destroys human life, any life in general. A person exposed to a high level of radiation will die within two days due to diseases caused by the collapse of the immune system or by massive bleeding. These defects may affect several generations. This causes serious problems in the gene pool of the nation by creating deformities and mutations.