Non-renewable fuel sources: Nuclear fuel

Essay by pocketlintHigh School, 11th gradeB+, May 2004

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The biggest environmental issue facing us today is radiation; from reactors, nuclear bombs, bomb sites, nuclear manufactures. Nuclear submarines, Uranium mines, waste shipments and by-products from all of the above and more.

The NRC states that small amounts of radiation are prevalent in the exhaust of the cooling systems. Furthermore, they state that it is considered safe as it's diluted into the oceans and air. Unfortunately the "hot shoots", hot water discharge does not always reach the oceans first, but rather it can accumulate in pools or is dammed up.

Australia has the second-largest uranium deposit in the world, in the middle of Australia's largest and best - known national park, namely the World Heritage Kakadu National Park. The uranium deposit has mineable reserves of 90,000tonnes.

The Kakadu National park is obviously unique (shown by its World Heritage listing). Mining this area would result in the loss of areas of land which aren't seen anywhere else in the world, not to mention the loss of many Aboriginal sacred art sites.

Another major impact that nuclear fuel presents is the disposal of waste, as all of the waste created by nuclear energy is radioactive and remains that way for thousands of years the disposal of this waste is very difficult. This waste takes an average of 200 to 20,000 years (half-life) to return to a safe state. At present some of the waste is being buried in concrete chambers under the sea, this presents the risk of a leak, which could go unchecked for quite some time.

In the April of 1986 reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. Radioactive fallout from Chernobyl spread throughout Europe and even reached Japan and the United States. Nearly 400,000 people were evacuated. According to a recent United Nations document,