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For the past century, man has experienced different technological advancements that have prompted humanity to get energy from different sources. People generate energy from wood, wind, coal, oil, and water. Humanity managed to shift from the use of fossil energy to the nuclear age. Today man can not live without energy. It facilitates people’s life due to running of machine, entertainment and different devices that help in doing household chores. At least all human beings have been able to use energy in one way or another. However, different sources of energy have certain drawbacks on humanity and the environment. This paper shall discuss on the rewards of nuclear power following examples of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.
Harnessing nuclear power has proven to be very beneficial and able to solve most energy problems that humanity may face. A single uranium pellet, almost same size as the tip of the little finger, can produce supreme energy density of fuel. It requires17,000 cubic feet of natural gases, or 1780 pounds of coal, or about 149 gallons of oil to produce the same amount of energy as a single pellet of nuclear generates. Therefore, nuclear energy is very effective because it saves on resources. Production of energy of larger quantities can solve most power or energy problems, and man will be able to run his daily activities without power interruptions.
As compared to other forms of energy, the production of nuclear energy releases lower levels of environmental toxic gases such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides (Bake & Chesser, 2009). Other forms of energy like fossil fuels, biomass, and solar photovoltaic energy produce much of some unfriendly environmental gases that are very destructive to the ozone layer. Moreover, a single nuclear plant occupies less space of land as compared to other forms of energy. For example, wind energy, which may cover vast space of land, produce the same amount of energy as a single nuclear plant with multi-reactors, for example, the Palo Verde of Arizona. Therefore, nuclear production minimizes land wastage and save land for other usage.
However, comparing with other energy sources, nuclear energy also has some disadvantages, for example, the expenditure in production of the nuclear energy. Many governments spend billions of dollars on production of nuclear energy. Setting up nuclear plants, hiring of highly qualified personnel and excavation of the uranium pellets require so much money that forces government to spend huge sums of money. Those material sources could provide the performance of other important ventures such as poverty eradication (Mara, 2010). Moreover, the government and the involved companies will have to compensate endangered civilians for all losses or destroyed property in the case of nuclear disaster For example, in the Fukushima case, the courts ordered the government to compensate the victims. This expense was a major blow to the economy of Japan.
Moreover, production of nuclear energy has varied degrees of risk in the case of disasters. The number of death casualties is evident very often. When nuclear plants explode, they release voluminous radiation to the atmosphere. Those expose to higher concentrations of radiation that prompt the development of acute radiation syndrome. It may cause poisoning and eventually death. In the Chernobyl accident of 1986 2 workers died on spot; 28 other people died few weeks later. Mass media reported about real number of people’s deaths later (Baker & Chesser, 2009). The Fukushima case also experienced similar effects after the accident. Apart from death, exposure of nuclear radiations causes health complications like thyroid cancers in children after the intake of radioactive iodine fallout. The radioactive discharge in the atmosphere also disrupts social and economic activities of neighboring residents who wish to avoid exposure. Therefore, like other forms of energy, nuclear energy has its negative impacts on humanity.
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