Week 5 prompt 2 nuclear waste disposal

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Nuclear energy is a problem not a solution. Yes it provides energy that is greatly needed but i don’t think it can be taken a a respectable alternative to our energy needs when you take into account the long lasting environmental effects. Even small amounts of radiation can cause large scale health effects to the human body, an effect that is mirrored in the environment.

Our current policy is to hide our nuclear waste under the rug and pretend like nothing happened, in this case the rug just happens to be a mountain. The result is an increasingly unsafe environmental policy based on shortsighted immediate goals. Cost Benefit Analysis fails in that it does not fully define the scope of the issue. Under immediate circumstances nuclear power is effective and reliable at providing energy. What it fails to take into account is the externalization of costs that nuclear waste often brings along. Not only is it an issue of national security, with the possibility of nuclear technology being used in weaponry, but also an issue of public and environmental health. Take for example the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. Both cases show how much danger can be caused by these plants, as radiation from these accidents will plague the earth for many years. Just today the Fukushima plant operator reported a new leak more that 2 years after the initial disaster. In my opinion its unethical both in terms of the environment in in terms of humanity to continue to use such an energy source when the danger is so high.

Its irresponsible to continue producing nuclear waste when we haven’t even found a proper way of disposing of it or safeguarding the process that makes the energy. There is no ethical way to decide where it goes because it isn’t even an ethical practice to begin with. As for disposing of the waste we already have, i think the best idea would be to seal it away like we have and hope for the best.

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4 responses »

  1. I agree with you so much on this. Nuclear energy isn’t a solution for the energy crisis, it is an issue! With the amount of hazardous waste that nuclear energy produces, it makes it not worth having as an alternative energy source. This hazardous waste that is produced from nuclear energy will be effecting many future generations to come, and that doesn’t out weigh the benefits of the energy. The government should be focused on finding other alternative energy sources instead of finding places, such as the Yucatan Peninsula, to store nuclear waste in.

  2. I really enjoyed your post. I’ve always had reservations about nuclear energy– it just seems too good to be true (if you forget about how many terrible, irreversible things that could go wrong in the process!). I completely agree about your argument that the external costs outweigh the benefits. Although nuclear energy is abundant and efficient (and really appealing in this regard considering our current energy use and deficit) it’s simply not worth the dangers and costs to both people and the environment. Maybe we should be focused more on limiting our energy use through lifestyle/value changes (and safer energy!) rather than resorting to nuclear power (or at least until we can address these glaring flaws).

  3. It is such a shame that nuclear energy produces dangerous radioactive waste, as it has the efficiency with which the process produces power is unmatchable by any other energy source. Major nuclear disasters have occurred with alarmingly huge consequences, but they were due to human error either directly or by poor planning. Nuclear power can be safe if extracted correctly, but disasters like these and the fear surrounding radiation will likely prevent any widespread adoption of nuclear energy.

    Our current technology is not quite there yet, but projects working on extracting power from existing radioactive waste are in progress (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/25/business/energy-environment/atomic-goal-800-years-of-power-from-waste.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0). I agree that nuclear energy and the wastes it currently produces are detrimental to society, but I think that in the near future we will have the capability to provide clean and viable energy with nuclear technology.

  4. I have mixed feelings about nuclear energy. I think that it can be a very beneficial addition to our energy supply, but only if used responsibly. The technology is out there to use nuclear waste as fuel for more nuclear energy. In France, 17% of the electricity produced is derived from recycled nuclear waste (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/France/). I would not be as opposed to nuclear energy if we decided to responsibly use the waste that is produced, as they did in France. With the current technology used for nuclear waste in the United States and the irresponsible disposal of the waste produced, I am opposed to the nuclear energy production currently going on in the U.S. I think that we should instead invest in a diverse group of more dependable and safe sources of energy in the United States. Instead of investing in the risky technology of nuclear energy, that money should be diverted into research for safer and more sustainable energy souces.

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