The Fear Of Nuclear Power Essay Research

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The Fear Of Nuclear Power Essay, Research Paper I wrote this paper for English, but it may go under social issues because it reflects upon the unnecessary fear of nuclear power. ———————PAPER FOLLOWS——————— During the beginning of the 1980s, the United States had approximately 100 nuclear power generators nationwide. Unfortunately, that number remains about the same today. The growth of nuclear power as a viable energy source has been largely hindered due to the catastrophic risks many people associate with it. The thoughts of nuclear war, radiation leakage, and nuclear explosions are just too overwhelming. Originally, I was also entrenched in this mindset. However throughout the years, I have come to realize that this fear is unjustified and that

nuclear power is a completely safe and reliable source of energy.The causes of irrational fear in general are not clearly understood, but they have been linked to many factors: such as being raised by someone with a similar fear, undergoing a traumatic experience, and the thought of severe negative consequences if something goes wrong (Phobias). Nuclear power fits all of these categories. Today’s generation is bombarded with images of the Hiroshima bombing, raised by adults who survived Chernobyl, and live with the consequences of both disasters. In that sense, as we move from generation to generation, the fear of nuclear power moves along with it, even if it is unjustified.On August 6, 1945 the first nuclear weapon was detonated to destroy the city of Hiroshima, Japan. The

world was immediately flung into the nuclear age and suddenly everybody was horrified as the destruction of just one bomb was demonstrated. Looking back on this incident, I believe that nuclear power started off on the wrong foot entirely. This bombing created the traumatic experience necessary to trigger a fearful response as 67,000 people died instantly. Today, many conclude that nuclear power is what allows nuclear weapons to be manufactured, and that it should be stopped at all costs. The previous statement, however, is just not true. The terms nuclear power and nuclear weapons are distinct and should be viewed completely separate of each other. A simple test of this can be whether or not the two can exist independently of one another. Nuclear weapons can exist without the

use of nuclear power, and vice versa. Keeping this in mind, it is clear that nuclear power should not be used to scapegoat nuclear weapons. Weapons stockpiles in the United States have been reduced significantly, even though the number of nuclear plants has been relatively unchanged. This is proof that nuclear weapons would exist even without nuclear power.The argument that nuclear power doesn’t affect the spread of nuclear weapons is indisputable. However there are numerous safeguards against that possibility. One is the abandonment of reprocessing. Reprocessing is a technique used by nuclear facilities to reduce environmental damage. It does so by separating the plutonium from the nuclear plant’s waste. Unfortunately, reprocessing has a severe implication. Reprocessing

allows a country to stockpile the separated plutonium. To make matters worse, the separated plutonium can be used in the construction of nuclear weapons. For this reason, alone, the United States has embarked on a policy not to reprocess. Another safeguard against the spread of nuclear materials is vitrification as a means of disposing the nuclear waste. Vitrification seals the waste in a ten by ten foot block of glass and buries it within the ground at a proper disposal site. Such sites include the Savannah River, and the proposed Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Vitrification prevents the spread of nuclear weapons for three reasons. The first is that the waste is so radioactive that it is self-protecting. Any attempt to handle the waste would result in near certain death. The second