Nuclear Power: Cons


Since the days of Franklin and his kite flying experiments, electricity
has been a topic of interest for many people and nations. Nuclear power has
been a great advance in the field of electrical production in the last fifty
years, with it\'s clean, efficient and cheap production, it has gained a large
share of the world\'s power supply. However with the wealth of safer alternative
sources of electricity, the dangers involved with nuclear reactors to humans (ie.
cancer) and past disasters such as Chernobyl there are well based reasons not to
pursue this energy source. New sources such as fusion power, new studies
concerning the health of nuclear by-products and scares of nuclear accidents
like those at Chernobyl are slowly rendering Nuclear Fission an obselete energy
source. This essay will prove that nuclear power is a dangerous technology and
with many other sources and the dangers involved, the disadvantages of nuclear
power far outweigh the benefits.

Alternative sources of energy are making their way into the highly
competitive field of electricity production. With the wealth of sources such as
solar, wind, hydro or geothermal the dangers involved with fission could be
solved by adopting these newer, safer methods. A main source of energy that
could lead the way for the near future is solar energy. It is clean efficient
and is already a large part of American and Canadian electricity production.
"Solar energy already supplies about 6% of the nation\'s [U.S.A] energy ... the
industry is still in an embryonic stage, and opportunity exists for increasing
this contribution by ten times from current levels." (Maidique, 92) It is
obvious that solar power will become a large part of the electricity production
around the world. With future expansion and newer solar cells, the power
production could be increased to about 60-70% of the U.S.A\'s needs.

Cold fusion will most surely be the newest type of energy leading us
into the 21st century, producing energy that is cheaper, safer and easier to
generate then any existing source. "Fusion fuel releases a million times more
energy then does burning a comparable weight of coal or oil; one teaspoon of
deuterium, obtained cheaply from H20, contains the equivalent of 300 gallons of
gasoline; a mere 1000 pounds of deuterium could fuel a 1000-megawatt power
station for a year." (Dean, 84) Such spectacular figures sound unbelievable.
Using a thousand pounds of a substance to supply a 1000-megawatt power station
for a year, such figures will cause plummeting electricity prices and make
fission plants far too expensive.

However, prices and efficiency are useless if the safety factor is
abandoned. All three topics are dealt with in fusion, that is why it is such a
miracle. In fact, a meltdown in a fusion reactor is impossible, which cannot be
said for fission. "Compared with fission reactors the absence of such fission
products as radioactive iodine and cesium from the fusion cycle reduces the
potential hazard by more then a thousand-fold." (Dean, 84) This is accomplished
because in a fission reactor the fuel is formed in a solid form which must be
cooled by water, and if water is unavailable then a meltdown may occur. In a
fusion reactor the fuel is a hot gas rather then a solid. Because of this even
with a complete loss of cooling the gas would cool as it hits the cold walls of
the reactor chamber. With future resources, some proven like solar others
experimental such as fusion, there is a wealth of possible energy sources.


However, new sources of energy will not reduce the risk of horrific
fission disasters such as those at Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Past
disasters such as Three Mile Island are well- based reasons to reconsider
nuclear technology. At the Chernobyl power station at 1:00 am on April 25, 1996
reactor number 4 was running smoothly. The engineers performed a standard test
on the turbo generators (Engine that turns to produce electricity.) At 1:20am
the operator turned off the emergency cooling system. "The sharp temperature
increase in the reactor core, the rupture of the cooling channels (releasing
steam on to the red-hot graphite moderator, producing water gas) and the
chemical reaction between overheated zirconium canning and water -- (releasing
hydrogen) ignited by the fireworks of flying hot and glowing fragments produced
by the steam explosion -- resulted in the explosion." (Trainer, 116) As the two
huge steam explosions tore the core apart, the force of the blast lifted the
thousand ton cover lid above the core. Lethal radiation was being released into
the air. The explosion gave of more radiation then two atomic bombs dropped