Nuclear Energy as a Source of Power
All sources of energy have some drawbacks regardless of whether their clearly acknowledged merits. There are both risks and benefits brought by the use of nuclear energy as a source of power. Even the use of hydropower has its negative ramifications. The spectra of effects, posed by the use of nuclear energy, cuts across many aspects; these aspects are discussed in the given essay. On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Power Plant was hit by an enormous 14 meter earthquake that disabled all the alternating power that supplied units 1, 2 and 3. Despite many efforts to cool the plant, the cooling systems botched, and the results were catastrophic. The hydrogen explosions caused damages to the facility resulting in the release of a large quantity of radioactive material into the atmosphere.
Radiation is very harmful to human tissues. The victim is subdued to an acute radiation injury, which causes diseases like leukemia, radiation carcinogenesis as well as other malignancies. In some extreme cases, namely in the late stages of exposure to radiation, it can lead to cataracts. It also causes damage to the general DNA structure, resulting into negative health effects in terms of lethal cell mutation, where the cell deteriorates and dies. Such a horrible effect is called a deterministic effect. Exposure to nuclear radiation also causes malignant cell formation. The infected cells can carry the mutations that cause heritable diseases in the future generations. Enough exposure time is capable of causing infertility both in men and women (Cox, 2011).
Another interesting case is that of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown that happened in the late 1986. On April 26th, a massive accident occurred at the fourth unit in Chernobyl, the former USSR power place. There was a sudden and unexpected power surge that destroyed the reactor making it release an immense amount of harmful substance into the surrounding environment. The effects were felt almost immediately. The two workers of the plant died within two hours of exposure. Further, twenty eight more workers died within four months after the accident. The contamination level was very high in Belarus, where millions of people were contaminated. The health status of the victims was monitored after the disaster, and it was quite evident that the cases of leukemia and cancer had skyrocketed. To date, over 6000 cases of thyroid cancer have been reported within children. The disease caused the deaths of ten percent of the infected children. The cases of carcinoma were also reported. Many deaths of adults are associated with the nuclear meltdown in the Chernobyl Power Plant.
To conclude, it should be mentioned that the danger of using nuclear energy as a source of power is weightier than the benefits it can bring. Taking into consideration the two cases mentioned above, it is quite clear that the disadvantages of using this source of power are outweighing the advantages. Many lives have been lost and many people have developed terminal illnesses because of the nuclear disaster that happened over twenty years ago. This is a horrible fact to live with. Therefore, I do not support the use of the nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. The Fukushima Daiichi atomic catastrophe and the Chernobyl nuclear meltdowns prove that the drawbacks of using nuclear energy overweight the benefits it brings along. Thus, it can be concluded that the use of nuclear power as an alternative source to fossil fuels puts people’s lives and environment at risk.