Nuclear Energy and the Environment

Essay by Syphorix April 2004

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In our society, nuclear energy has become one of the most criticized forms

of energy by the environmentalists. Thus, a look at nuclear energy and the

environment and its impact on economic growth.

Lewis Munford, an analyst, once wrote, "Too much energy is as fatal as too

little, hence the regulation of energy input and output not its unlimited

expansion, is in fact one of the main laws of life." This is true when dealing

with nuclear power. Because our societies structure and processes both depend

upon energy, man is searching for the most efficient and cheapest form of energy

that can be used on a long term basis. And because we equate power with growth,

the more energy that a country uses, - the greater their expected economic

growth. The problem is that energy is considered to have two facets or parts:

it is a major source of man-made repercussions as well as being the basis of

life support systems. Therefore, we are between two sections in which one is the

section of "resource availability and waste", and the other "the continuity of

life support systems pertinent to survival."

Thus, the environmentalists believe that nuclear energy should not be used

for various reasons. First of all, the waste product, i.e. plutonium, is

extremely radioactive, which may cause the people who are working or living in

or around the area of storage or use, to acquire leukemia and other cancers.

They also show how billions of dollars are spent yearly on safety devices for a

single reactor, and this still doesn't ensure the impossibility of a "melt

down." Two examples were then given of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, in 1979,

when thousands of people were killed and incapacitated. Finally, the

environmentalists claim that if society wastes less...