Power is important to human beings as it is used for many purposes. All the sources of energy have their own drawbacks even those considered to be safe. For instance, energy sources like hydropower have their limitations although many people consider them to be safe.
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However, developing nuclear alternative energy sources such as nuclear energy is more dangerous than using the fossil fuels as sources of energy. This essay will discuss the dangers of nuclear sources of energy by focusing on Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster resulted from an earthquake that caused nuclear reactors to shut down. After the earthquake struck, action was taken immediately where control rods were fixed at the nuclear plant to stop the nuclear reactions. The external supply of power to the nuclear plant was disrupted by the earthquake.
Disruption of power supply was a dangerous occurrence in the nuclear power plant. During the first hour of power disruption, diesel generators reserved for emergency cases were used to supply power. However, the arrival of the tsunami filled the generators with water causing them to stop functioning. Tsunamis had occurred in different areas but the one that hit Fukushima was unexpected. The engineers responded by using the containment structure to store everything.
Failure of the diesel generators as a result of flooding forced the engineers to use reactors run by batteries. However, the batteries sustained the reactors for eight hours after which they went off causing the amount of residual heat to increase beyond the limits. At this moment, there were speculations that core meltdown was likely to take place due to increased temperatures. However, it was still not possible but the most urgent action was to look for a way of dealing with the core as heating continued (Turk & Bensel, 2011).
The process of cooling core was one of the most important processes. As a result, several cooling systems had been inserted in the reactor. The engineers did not establish the system that failed in its operation while the absence of power caused the cooling systems to lose their cooling ability. The reactors finally started releasing radioactive gases into the atmosphere.
The gases did not pose health risks to the operators and the surrounding people since they were controlled. Later on, generators were moved into the plant to restore power. However, there was still a lot of water boiling which reduced the efficiency of the cooling systems. The fuel rods were heated until reactions that produced hydrogen gas occurred. The combustible nature of hydrogen when exposed to the air caused the explosion.
Chernobyl disaster was described as the worst nuclear accident in the 20th century. Many people were curious about the disaster but it was really a terrifying experience. The day the accident occurred had started well but finally it changed the lives of people who lived near the nuclear plant. It was reported that fire had broken out at the nuclear power plant. The lieutenant who went to the plant to check the situation discovered that there was debris all over the nuclear plant.
This was an indication that danger was in the offing. The level of radiation in the nuclear plant had gone up, something that prompted fire fighters to start putting off the blaze by using water only. As they continued fighting the blaze, some of them were taken to hospital after showing symptoms of sickness. The burning of the fire continued with no evidence of harmful effects to the surroundings
After the first day of the nuclear accident, people started exhibiting signs of sickness. It took eight days for the fire to be put off during which six firefighters died in the process. Investigations were conducted and it was discovered that the fire in the nuclear plant was caused by numerous errors.
One of the errors that were discovered was an operator error caused by the management. In addition, organization of the nuclear plant was responsible for some problems that were experienced. For instance, the tests at the nuclear plant were conducted by an engineer who was not experienced in dealing with reactors (World-Nuclear, 2011).
From the experiences of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the 20th century Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, it is evident that the use of nuclear energy is risky. The risks associated with the energy are more than the rewards. This is because disasters that occur in nuclear energy plants result into deaths.
For example, the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown led to loss of many lives. These disasters were also associated with long term health problems on human beings. It is therefore important to look for alternative power sources since the risks associated with nuclear energy are more than the rewards.
Turk, J., & Bensel, T. (2011). Contemporary environmental issues. San Diego: CA Bridgepoint Education.
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World-Nuclear. (2011). Chernobyl Accident 1986. Retrieved from http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/chernobyl-accident.aspx