Health Claims of Nuclear Issues


Health Claims of Nuclear Environmental Issues

For years, the human race has been committed to sustaining a reliable source of energy. While the perfect source of energy can be debated, the effects of some of these resources cannot. Nuclear reactors have existed since the 1950’s, and they continue to be used to this day. However, like with most things, there is a negative side to utilizing nuclear power. This “nuclear age” that has emerged is going to leave a legacy, but not in the good way. Nuclear reactors affect both the environment and residents who live near them. If not addressed soon, there can be irreversible problems for everyone.

Effects to the environment

Nuclear waste is highly radioactive and dangerous. It takes thousands of years to lose its toxicity, meaning it can be deadly for generations to come. This problem continues to grow as governments try to find a safe way to get rid of the waste. While an underground storage facility was suggested, that idea has disappeared while the issue remains. No matter how you try to look at it, this is a growing issue that everyone seems to overlook. They assume that technology will advance in the years to come, essentially meaning that they are leaving this problem for future generations to solve. Even if humans ignore the
problem, various forms of plants and wildlife are being affected by the waste.

Since all materials at a nuclear plant are radioactive, any mistake can lead to millions of dollar in repairs. To date, there have been nine accidents that have resulted in over $300 million in damage. Hypothetically speaking, a single accident by a nuclear reactor could lead to over 3,500 deaths from radiation poisoning, contaminate over 150,000 square miles of land, and contaminate rivers and other water sources. The sheer concept is enough to worry most, but there have been cases of this happening

The Chernobyl incident is a very frightening warning of what can happen when things get out of hand. The meltdown produces more than 300 times the radioactive fallout than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, causing over 300,000 residents to evacuate and being the cause of over 270,000 cases of cancer. The incident also led to a high increase in birth defects in the area.

Effects on People

With numerous hazardous chemicals at a nuclear plant, there is no surprise that many of these can be harmful to humans. Strontium 90, one of the chemicals used, is radioactive for over 600 years. It is odorless and tasteless, mimicking calcium if it enters the body. When this happens, it can eventually cause bone cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia. Strontium 90 can be more than 20 times more harmful to infants and children if it is ingested.

Plutonium, which is the most significant element that comes from nuclear waste, is so lethal that just half a kilo of it spread even across the globe would give everyone cancer. This chemical enters through the lungs, mimicking Iron in the body and eventually producing bone cancer, leukemia, and liver cancer. For those who are pregnant, Plutonium can also lead to birth defects. For men, the chemical can actually remain in their body for years, allowing it to be passed through to following generations and remaining for over half a million years.

Also, mining for Uranium can be very hazardous for those who must do the job. The air, water, and soil can all be contaminated, killing some miners and giving others cancer. In other words, nuclear energy is dangerous both before and after it is used, killing hundreds in the process.

While some may say that nuclear power is a source of “clean energy,” there are far too many dangers that outweigh the positive. With a devastating effect on both the environment as well as those who work at the plants, nuclear power is clearly a deadly and risky source of energy. With technology advancing every day, there is no need to allow people to get sick or die for a specific energy source. Nuclear reactors are harmful to the earth as well as its inhabitants, hurting generations not yet born as well as humanity today.