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Is Expanding Nuclear Power Really Beneficial to Society Development?

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In recent decades, the coal consumption among the whole world has sharply increased so as to meet the rapid development in every country. As generating electricity by coal is not renewable and environmental unfriendly, people tend to develop renewable energy like nuclear power, wind power, hydropower etc. though the cost of constructing the plants and utilizing is extremely high. Among the renewable energy mentioned above, nuclear power is the most popular to expand. Nuclear power is the use of nuclear fusion or fission from the reactor to generate electricity. It is highly efficient and produces only nuclear waste but no carbon emission. Nuclear power seems to be an ideal energy source but is it that good? In my opinion, nuclear power has too many drawbacks that they outweigh its advantages undoubtedly, so I oppose the expanding of nuclear power in our society.

The first reason I oppose is that nuclear reactor is inherently unsafe to human life. The accidents happened in Chernobyl and Fukushima has shown us apparently that nuclear meltdowns and explosions can occur at any time without any omen. Not only did the accidents bring destructive damage to the buildings or any infrastructure in the cities, but also caused hundreds and thousands of casualties. Despite the high technology and secure safety system implemented in the nuclear plant, and despite many scientists and professors claimed the percentage of not getting explosion is up to 90%, accidents can still happen and result in disastrous outcome. Frankly no one can afford the outcome and dare to say it is impossible for that 10% to occur. The most recent disaster in Fukushima once again alerts people from all around the world. As the communication media is well established nowadays, people in every corner of the world can watch this disaster---nuclear leakage and explosions on live through television or Internet. “Current nuclear power plants are no longer safe!” Many communities from different countries ranted. They also vowed that they would use all means to oppose the expanding of nuclear so as to protect their offspring. Life is precious and anything that poses threats to human life should be halted.

Secondly the construction and the maintenance of nuclear plant are exceptionally dear. In fact, the cost of building and doing maintenance is highly dependent on taxpayers’ handouts. US, one of the countries investing a lot on developing nuclear power, has put the cost burden to their citizens since 2005. In 2005, President Bush approved an energy bill that included over 13 billion USD in tax breaks and subsidies for the nuclear industry. However, nowadays in every country, including those developed countries, is suffering from the problem of poverty. The poor has difficulties in maintaining their life while the government still imposes heavy tax on them and that is unacceptable. On the other hand, since the nuclear plants are built far away from residence, long electrical wires are required to transfer electricity from the plants to our houses. Whenever electricity is transferred through wires, some energy will be lost to surroundings. Thus for a long distance transfer, much energy would be lost which is definitely uneconomical and inefficient. So please care about the poor.

And the third reason that I disagree in expanding nuclear power is nuclear waste cannot be dealt adequately. Being generated during the fuel cycle, nuclear waste actually is not a clean source: it is a radioactive substance emitting radiation all the time and it takes millions of years to become harmless, so it poses a severe potential danger to human health. Furthermore, nuclear wastes are usually buried in a designated place where it is far away from residence, so it is required to transport the wastes to these locations. This may pose risks on the populations that live along the transport route. I am sure nobody wants any nuclear waste is accidentally left in front of their houses. Hence nuclear power should not be developed unless the problem of nuclear waste has been solved.

However genuine and persuasive the disadvantages are, some proponents still think nuclear power is a perfect energy source. They believe nuclear power helps reduce the emissions and contribute in easing global warming. Nevertheless it is not the case. An ecologist has once stated that nuclear power is not totally emission free because when we examine the whole nuclear power generating cycle, we can see that in mining of uranium, running the nuclear reactor, transportation of nuclear waste and even the disposal of nuclear waste rely on fossil fuels and produces a lot of greenhouse gases. Therefore there is actually net emission of harmful gases and global warming would not be relieved because of using nuclear power.

Although it is right for people to seek for progress and develop new technology to meet their wants, we still need to consider the consequence that expanding new technology brings. Nuclear power, frankly speaking, is much more efficient than the ordinary way of generating electricity, but the outcome of this is disastrous and people cannot afford to lose---that’s human life. Moreover it is very expensive in developing nuclear power, if I am the government I would rather spend this bucket of money to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. Last but not least, the issue brought by radioactive nuclear waste is very long-lasting which is always threatening our life. Hence unless the above three problems are solved, I am still opposing the development of nuclear power.

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