Effects of Nuclear Energy

Introduction

The american Atomic Energy Commission states that a large scale accident could cause thousands of deaths and up to seven billion dollars in damage. There has already been many accidents that occurred around the world in reactors. One of the worst accidents that occured was in the Ukraine in the Chernobyl power plant in 1986(Nagel). This accident caused 30 instant deaths and over a thousand cases of radiation sickness(Galperin 22). Radiation is so dangerous because it breaks down the cells inside the body and it is invisible, odorless, and tasteless(Galperin 31). The radiation also turns ions positively charged. Nuclear power plants produce waste that is radioactive. It can also be used in bombs. Nuclear power should not be used because it is harmful to humans and the environment.

How it Hurts Humans

Nuclear power is deadly to humans. Thousands of small accidents take place in nuclear power plants each year(Galperin 73). The accidents could be very deadly. Nuclear power is not just used for electricity. It is also used in bombs. The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945(Galperin 31). It was equal to twelve thousand five hundred tons of TNT. Another was dropped on Nagasaki the death toll was over two hundred thousand people. Every year since the bombs about two thousand people die of cancer caused by the bombs(Galperin 31). Radiation from a plant or bombs can change the DNA in a germ cell which will cause mutations in the future line(Galperin 32). The radiation can also cause cancer in the body.
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Effects on the Environment

Nuclear power hurts the environment in many ways. Plants produce two types of waste, low-level waste and high-level waste(Nagel). Low-level waste is no problem but high-level waste is a huge problem because it will stay radioactive for thousands of years. As of right now there is no completely safe way to store the waste. The US is going to put the waste in a pit in the Yucca mountains in Nevada. Uranium when mined also causes lots of problems. It has to be processed so it still uses electricity from coal-burning plants(Galperin 19-20). This means it does not entirely leave a clean foot print. Another reason it hurts the environment is if an accident like Chernobyl happens it leaves the area a dead zone. This is because the radiation does not go away until it has decayed completely and the half-life of U-238 (the most common Uranium) is four and a half billion years.
Hiroshima Atomic Bomb (1945)

Conclusion

Nuclear power should not be used since it is deadly to humans and the environment. Many disasters have happened since the first nuclear plant was created on December 2, 1945 at 3:45 P.M.(Nagel). Five major accidents and thousands of smaller ones have occurred ever since nuclear power plants were in use. Waste produced from the plants are highly radioactive. These waste products are very expensive to store and hard to. The radiation from this can cause mutations and cancers. Atomic bombs also are very deadly and they release radiation too. The bomb uses plutonium which is a product of nuclear plants. We need to stop nuclear power because it is very dangerous.

Citation

Galperin, Anne. Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Waste. New York: Chelsea House, 1992. Print.


"How Nuclear Power Works." Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.


"Nuclear Power." UXL Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. Rob Nagel. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 1374-1381. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.