The Fear Of Nuclear Power Essay Research — страница 3
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the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The industry’s compulsive reaction to make up excuses has just about disappeared. This attitude is overwhelmingly beneficial because now all the nuclear plants nationwide can communicate instantaneously with any problem. They are no longer left to fend for themselves in time of a crisis. Additionally, a more stringent attitude towards safety has been expressed as well. Massive containment fields, radiation suits, and showers are now mandatory components of any nuclear plant in the United States.Unfortunately, it is the current generation that has to deal with the mistakes of the past. The long-term consequences of both the Hiroshima bombing and the Chernobyl disaster are still felt by many. The spread of radiation takes many routes, direct and indirect, to affect an individual. Direct exposure to radiation, such as from a bomb or leakage, can have very severe implications. At Chernobyl, for example, the engineers examining the reactor experienced a slow agonizing death shortly after their exposure (Barringer). The idea of direct exposure shouldn’t be feared. With today’s stringent safety standards, however, the risk of actually coming into close contact with pure radiation is extremely low. In addition to that, distance plays an important role too. The intensity of the radiation declines rapidly over distance. The engineers at Chernobyl received a direct exposure to radiation from approximately three feet away. Standing 300 feet away from direct exposure to radiation would mean that. ” over the course of an hour you would receive about the same as the natural annual background radiation in Denver,” (Easterbrook 495). Considering that the average nuclear power plant is approximately twelve miles away from any residential areas, that would mean a civilian would be about 63360 feet away from direct exposure; much less than any natural radiation in the world.Indirect exposure is much harder to track than direct exposure. After radiation is released after an explosion, it enters the atmosphere and settles on anything in its path; most importantly, food and water. After the direct effects of the Chernobyl disaster were declining, the number of cancer rates continued to remain constant, or spread throughout the rest of the Soviet states. The biggest factor was the radiation levels in agriculture. Over time, as more and more people consumed the contaminated food, one’s dosage of radiation may become quite close to being considered direct exposure. Unfortunately, distance doesn’t play a role here. The only prevention is early detection, and prevention (Brody). As with direct exposure, however, the chances of indirect exposure to radiation are significantly low considering today’s reactor designs, and shouldn’t be feared.In conclusion, each point of nuclear fear has been addressed. The numerous enhancements to the safety policies of the United States, and fundamental attitudes towards nuclear power have resulted in a safe clean energy source whose only negative risks are minimal. In fact even without today’s safety standards, one can see that only one disaster has ever occurred since the dawn of the nuclear age five decades ago. With this in mind, the fear of nuclear power should in fact be rejected. Bibliography Barringer, Felicity. “Chernobyl: Five Years Later the Danger Persists.” The New York Times, 14 April 1991, p. 6:28 Brody, Jane E.. “Personal Health; No, the Food You Eat Will Not be Radioactive.” The New York Times, 12 October 1994, p. C11 Clines, Francis X.. “Chernobyl Cleanup Leads to Charges. The New York Times, 8 February 1991, p. A3 Easterbrook, Gregg. A Moment on the Earth. New York: Penguin Books, 1995 Lifton, Robert J.. The Future of Immortality and Other Essays for a Nuclear Age, New York: Basic Books Inc., 1987 Lohr, Steve. “Texas Dome: Haven or Hazard? – A Special Report; Site for Toxic – Waste Cave Stirs Texas Political Fight.” The New York Times, 6 May 1991, p. A1 Phobias, Thrive@Health – Phobias, 1998http://www.thriveonline.com/health/Library/illsymp/illness395.html Slovic, P. et al. “Risk Perception, Trust, and Nuclear Waste.” Environment, Vol. 33 Issue 3 (Apr. 1991), 6. Winner, L. ear and Loathing on the Nuclear Bandwagon.” Technology Review, Vol. 94 Issue 6 (Aug/Sep 1991), 74.