Not sure if its persuasive enough. And a good hook. Plz...plz
Humanity is in a tight fit with carbon emissions and climate change. One might argue
that without sustainable alternative energy, modern life as we know it will
cease to exist. There is an increasing amount of interest in nuclear energy to
fuel this clean energy revolution. Nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl, Three
Mile Island, and the recent Fukushima Daiichi have undermined the progress of
nuclear technology. What the masses do not realize is that, in spite of risk of
nuclear accidents, nuclear energy is safer and more efficient in the long run.
Amid the recent Fukushima Daiichi disaster, there is much doubt about the safety of
nuclear power. For instance, there is a fear of the risk of catastrophic
failure of containment buildings in reactors. The result would be a meltdown,
spewing millions of radioactive particles into the air and into local
underground water tables. Many of these risks were associated with the
Chernobyl accident in 1986. However, statistics show that there have not been
as many deaths as one would perceive directly linked to the accident. Three
Mile Island, another infamous incident, registered zero deaths related directly
to the event. Research also acknowledges the fact that there are no direct
links between cancer occurrences. As for overall casualties, the
numbers are staggering. The coal sector collected six-thousand four hundred deaths
per year; hydroelectric power has four thousand deaths; natural gas, twelve
hundred deaths. Nuclear power: 31 deaths per year. Nuclear power is not only
efficient, but safe. To look at statistics in this perspective, it shows that
nuclear power is the safest energy alternative.
But, let's say hypothetically, a nuclear meltdown was to occur, complete with an
explosion of a reactor. This spews a large amount of radioactive material into the
air. Now, think back to the 1950's. Back in the Cold War era, the United States
conducted a multitude of atomic bomb tests, almost equivalent to
twenty-thousand Hiroshima bombs. These tests were conducted in the Southwest,
in dry, arid areas away from valuable water sources. Due to prevailing winds,
radioactive fallout was spread all over Central America. The result? Increased
radiation exposure in states from Montana to Kansas. Up to seventy-five thousand
people with thyroid cancer were compensated for and connected to the nuclear
testing. Now fast forward to 1986, the year of the Chernobyl disaster. Research
across many organizations put the number of deaths linked to the incident at
around 60-80. With government intervention, deaths due to nuclear meltdown are
still only a minute fraction of those diagnosed with thyroid cancer. There was
an increase in thyroid cancers then, but they were highly treatable. In today's
time, a nuclear disaster like that would have a death toll of less than ten.
Putting these numbers back against the statistics for those working in the coal
industry, eighty deaths once versus sixty-four hundred deaths per year is
excellent proof of why we should keep nuclear power.
Another concern rose around the time of September 11, 2001: terrorism. Terrorism and
nuclear proliferation have been fears of not just the U.S., but many other
first world countries. With the controversy in Iran about their uranium
enrichment programme, fears are only getting worse. Hypothetical situations
include a plane being driven into a nuclear reactor. There are many reasons as
to why this should be of little concern. First, nuclear reactors are built to
withstand internal pressures of pressurized steam. They also must be built to
withstand potential air pockets that risk explosion. Having a plane collide
into the reactor walls should not have much effect on the reactor. Secondly,
reactors are built with thick layers of concrete and are reinforced to
withstand varieties of natural disasters. In the Fukushima Daiichi disaster,
the reactor housing was not the part of the plant that failed; it was the
cooling system that failed. Considering the reactors were built to withstand
earthquakes that measure 8.0 on the Richter scale, the fact that they resisted
a nearby 9.0 earthquake and, subsequently, a tsunami, shows the stability of
the reactor housing. Therefore, if the reactors do not fold to the mightiest
earthquakes and the most forceful tsunamis, they should not fold under conditions
where a nearby IED is set off near the housing.
There is growing concern about the efficiency of nuclear power. It is stated that the
combination of emissions of construction, transportation of fuel, and the
carbon emissions of creating the materials needed for the power station, the
power output of the plant would not be worth labeling as "green energy."
Incorrect again; according to a research firm, nuclear fission has lower gas
emissions than photovoltaic (solar) cells. By the numbers, nuclear energy
produces 15 tons of carbon dioxide per gigawatt-electric (GWe), compared to 39
tons per GWe from solar energy. However, both those numbers are still significantly
lower than those of natural gas (469 tons CO2/GWe) and coal (974
tons CO2/GWe). This gives nuclear its own value because of its relatively
nonexistent emissions, and with its value comes its cost.
Some opponents of nuclear energy say that it is not economically feasible. They may
contend that through mining, processing, and transportation to the power plant
that was built, fabricated, and put together by vehicles running on oil, the "unseen"
cost is off the charts. What they do not realize is that in the long run, the maintenance
cost of nuclear energy is comparable to coal. If 1 kg of uranium fuel is "burned,"
along with the cost of processing and enrichment taken into account, the cost
per kilowatt hour (KWh) was 21.69 mills ($0.02). This makes nuclear energy a
profitable venture when compared to fossil fuels, whose cost per KWh was 40.48
mills ($0.04) in 2009. Therefore, nuclear energy is not only a lucrative
industry, but it will set the standard for other renewable energies, such as
solar, to develop to be cheaper and efficient. Nevertheless, there is one
downfall to nuclear that certain renewable such as solar and wind powers do not
have to worry about: waste.
Nuclear power plants generate substantial amounts of waste. Opponents have complained
about the lingering effects of radiation as the waste decays. Unfortunately, geologic
repositories for spent nuclear fuel are necessary for radioactive material to
decay. However, the storage of nuclear fuel is not a problem if there is
reprocessing and efficient managing of the waste. Many anti nuclear groups cite
the Yucca Mountain repository. In March 2011, the site had its Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) license withdrawn. As of now, the United States of America has
no permanent place to store high-level radioactive waste material. The matter
is currently unresolved, but through development and research of nuclear
reactor technology, soon enough we will have little to no waste to begin with!
As it stands, nuclear energy is a safe, reliable, and in development. Nuclear
technology is still improving, and someday we will have truly 100% passively
safe reactors. If anything, nuclear power production will pass up coal. If we
wish to have low carbon emissions, then nuclear power is the only way to
jumpstart the green energy revolution.