Going or Glowing Green? Essay Sample

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When I mention “nuclear” to anyone the first thought that comes to mind is nuclear weapons. This however is the wrong state of mind. Environmentalist have convinced the public that anything involving nuclear fission is terrible including nuclear power. The problem is environmentalist propaganda, but environmentalist have trapped themselves in a corner with all their talk of “poisonous energy.” A big issue on everyone’s mind today is global warming. Although not everyone recognizes global warming as a fact it’s still an issue that is in hot debate. Environmentalist are looking for cleaner and safer options for electricity that have lower CO2 emissions. The problem is they already ruled out nuclear power because in the 1960’s they convinced the public that nuclear power was going to be the downfall of man. In Europe small towns were looking for new sources of electricity, so in 1969 a nuclear reactor was built, and now​ it provides over 3%(Logos) ​ of electricity(Murray) to the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately when another plant was proposed in Wyhl, Germany protesters seized control of the building location before construction could even begin. Funding for the reactor diminished and the project was canceled. This was in 1975, and ever since then German protesters have delayed and in most cases completely stopped the construction of new plants throughout Europe. The worst part about this group is that it’s not actually  growing. The protesters are simply listening for plans of new reactors and head to the build site before construction can begin. This leaves the people of the surrounding cities helpless. The destruction of plans for new reactors leave our generation scrambling for other sources of electricity.

We need more electricity for a growing population, it’s fact, but with nuclear fission out of the picture we are left with a very limited number of options. Safety issues come up often when discussing nuclear power. People worry not only for themselves and family but also the area surrounding a reactor. Of course when the topic of safety in reactors is brought up the disaster in Chernobyl (April 26, 1986) is also mentioned. There are two very large things people don’t understand about what happened at the Chernobyl reactor. First of all it is a widely known fact by scientist (but not by the public) that the accident at Chernobyl was unique to the Soviet­style RBMK (​ reaktor bolshoy moshchnosti kanalniy​ — high­power channel reactor). When reactors of this type gets too hot the rate of nuclear fission increases. This is the exact opposite of what happens in a Western reactors.

There is also the fact that Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster in history, killed a mere 56 people and made 20 square miles unusable. It is also mentionable that the 20 square miles  that was rendered useless by the Chernobyl disaster is now a very large tourist attraction(Solo East Travel). During the tour the group is even permitted to come within 300m of reactor #3, ​ which was the sight of the meltdown(Non­Essential Clause).​ After only 27  years, on the site where one of the worst meltdowns in human history occurred, the land is safe enough for tourist to visit. Granted it’s no family trip to Disney Land, but it still shows that when a nuclear meltdown does occur that the land is not rendered unusable until the end of time. Unfortunately the land is still not ready for farming uses, but in recent years there has been evidence that much of the wildlife is returning to the area(Ravilious).

There have been sightings of horses trotting through open fields, wild boar have taken up residence in the former village, bird nest have been found in thousands of locations throughout the “exclusive zone,” and even the sight of the explosion seems to be thriving with wildlife. It is true that the materials need for the operation of a nuclear reactor can be hazardous. In some cases the plutonium used can emit enough radiation to be considered dangerous, but if all the materials are handled properly then anyone working at the reactor shouldn’t ever be exposed to this radiation. Because of the public’s view on nuclear power there have been thousands of new regulations put in place to insure that workers and citizens living near reactors are in no danger of ever being exposed to radiation. There are even two directors for every regulation in a reactor(director and deputy director). A few examples of these regulations are(​Nuclear Regulatory Commission)​

​Provides nuclear plant systems­related analysis to assess the appropriateness of changes to existing licenses including amendments, exceptions, extensions, and applications for new facilities or designs. This analysis focuses on plant safety­related and non­safety­related systems (containment, ventilation and balance of plant), core physics, and core thermal hydraulics performance. Provides expertise for other related purposes such as specific safety issue resolution, special inspections, and event and incident response. Develops programs and guidelines to improve generic technical specifications and provides interpretations of technical specification requirements. ​

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