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Nuclear Energy and Its Risks Essay


Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy disaster

Fukushima Daiichi disaster of nuclear energy is the largest disaster since the year 1986 and measured at level seven on the scale of nuclear event. Several reactors had boiling water under the maintenance of Power Company located in Tokyo. When the earthquake occurred, reactor four had no fuel while reactor five and six were under maintenance. There was damage of reactors making them stop operation, which was risky to the people who lived nearby. The generators were used as sources of power supply for the systems of cooling machines.

The tsunami that occurred after the earthquake led to flooding of rooms where generators for emergency cases were stored. The flood led to failure of generators and pumps with cool water could not circulate to prevent nuclear reactor from melting. This caused overheating of the reactors because radioactive heat was very high. The seawater that had flooded was the only one that would cool the reactors to control meltdown. When the government ordered seawater to be used to ensure meltdown does not occur, it was too late. This made the water to boil in the nuclear reactors and its level dropped causing overheating and severe meltdown.

When the heat was intense, the reactors melted leading to production of hydrogen gas, which was explosive. The workers tried to ensure that the reactors were cool but the chemical explosions caused by hydrogen air increased. The radioactive gases produced made people who lived near the plant to move to other places for safety reasons. The damage caused by earthquake could not allow access to the plant for any assistance to be provided. The electric power took time to be restored in the reactors, which led to cooling (Pearlstein, 1973).

20th Century Chernobyl nuclear meltdown

The Chernobyl nuclear is a power plant in Ukraine located eighty miles from Kiev. The reactor four exploded in the year 1986 releasing radiations to the surrounding area. The number of people who died, as a result of the explosion was thirty-one while thousands more had been affected and their health was in danger. The disaster of Chernobyl nuclear changed the opinion of people about future use of nuclear power.

When the fourth reactor stopped to operate in the month of April the year 1986 it was repaired so that it could function properly. Qualified technicians were employed to ensure that there was enough energy for the system to remain cool all the time so that no overheating occurred. The tests to ensure all the reactors were functioning properly were done by the operators where the safety systems were turned off for many hours. The test was delayed because of the shortage in power supply, which made it take longer time than expected. The situation became difficult when the power in the reactors reduced and could not be enough to be used by the operators. The alternative power supply was not available for the reactors to be controlled. This led to explosion of the reactor because the safety system was off making it difficult for the problem to be solved (Pearlstein, 1973).

Risks verses reward of nuclear energy use

Risks

The nuclear energy is dangerous because it causes death when radiations are released. The radioactive milk caused thyroid cancer, which is dangerous to the health of people. The nuclear power produces radioactive waste, which is difficult to dispose. The nuclear waste remains dangerous for many years, which means that the storage systems should be safe. The engineers are supposed to know about the threats that may affect people many years later. The proposal of burying the radioactive waste at the mountain called Yucca raised concern because the ground water could be contaminated as well as earthquake occurs.

The cost of building a nuclear plant is very high because there are many reactors required. The plans by United States of America to build a nuclear plant has been aborted or delayed due to the funds needed. The problem of meltdown has been great risk where operators are not able to control heating. Environmental pollution caused by radiations is dangerous because it pollutes the air in the nearby environment and affects people who reside nearby (Pearlstein, 1973).

Reward

The nuclear power points are known by environmentalists not to emit carbon dioxide, which is not healthy for human beings. The power from nuclear plants does not cause global warming even if there are occasions of meltdowns. The power plant is competitive and the market price is high, which increases profit. The subsidies received by nuclear plant help to offset the cost of operation making it more preferable, compared to other sources of energy. When qualified workers are employed at the nuclear plants, they are able to offer quality services and prevent malfunctioning of the machines, which reduce chances of overheating. There are medical centers to take care of immediate consequences of people who are irradiated through chromosome analysis. Recommendations for practicing safe farming in territories, which are contaminated, are developed where milk is reprocessed. The people are protected from harmful effects that are caused by radiations through radioprotections (Pearlstein, 1973).

Reference

Pearlstein, S. (1973). Neutron-induced reactions in medium mass nuclei. Journal of Nuclear Energy, 27(2), 81-99.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 21). Nuclear Energy and Its Risks. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/nuclear-energy-and-its-risks/

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"Nuclear Energy and Its Risks." IvyPanda, 21 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/nuclear-energy-and-its-risks/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Nuclear Energy and Its Risks." May 21, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nuclear-energy-and-its-risks/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Nuclear Energy and Its Risks'. 21 May.

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