Nuclear Energy and the Environment

Topics: Nuclear power, Energy, Nuclear fission Pages: 3 (1059 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Nuclear Energy and the Environment

In our society, nuclear energy has become one of the most criticized forms of energy by the environmentalists. Thus, a look at nuclear energy and the environment and its impact on economic growth.

Lewis Munford, an analyst, once wrote, "Too much energy is as fatal as too little, hence the regulation of energy input and output not its unlimited expansion, is in fact one of the main laws of life." This is true when dealing with nuclear power. Because our societies structure and processes both depend upon energy, man is searching for the most efficient and cheapest form of energy that can be used on a long term basis. And because we equate power with growth, the more energy that a country uses, - the greater their expected economic growth. The problem is that energy is considered to have two facets or parts: it is a major source of man-made repercussions as well as being the basis of life support systems. Therefore, we are between two sections in which one is the section of "resource availability and waste", and the other "the continuity of life support systems pertinent to survival."

Thus, the environmentalists believe that nuclear energy should not be used for various reasons. First of all, the waste product, i.e. plutonium, is extremely radioactive, which may cause the people who are working or living in or around the area of storage or use, to acquire leukemia and other cancers. They also show how billions of dollars are spent yearly on safety devices for a single reactor, and this still doesn't ensure the impossibility of a "melt down." Two examples were then given of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, in 1979, when thousands of people were killed and incapacitated. Finally, the environmentalists claim that if society wastes less energy, and develops the means to use the energy more efficiency, then there would be a definite decrease in the requirement for more energy producing plants.

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