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Nukes post-Fukushima

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Nukes post-Fukushima

Moderated by Jason Hodin
This is a discussion forum associated with the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge (ISCFC).

The worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl occurred in Fukushima, Japan earlier this year. The whole world watched in horror as the death toll from the tsunami grew and the potential danger from the nuclear reactors increased every day. The people of the region still suffer the consequences of the initial disaster as well as the continued release of dangerous radioactivity.

Some countries (like Germany) responded by moving away from nuclear power. What do you think? Should nuclear energy be pursued as a climate solution for your country or is it simply too dangerous a form of “clean” energy?
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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
William C, Feb. 10, 2014

Hello, I’m William Crouch from Palo Alto High School in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some harrowing reports have just been released from the company that the radiation reports were less than one fifth of the actual amount recorded for 2013. It seems scary that this is a threat to Japan and possibly the Pacific Ocean, and even more creepy that Tepco, the company in charge of this nuclear plant seems to be producing incorrect information in possible attempt to maintain a level of complacency for the people of the world. It may be a while longer before the effects are fully known, but it is not so easy to simply evacuate people from their country when it is on an island. The costs of the occasional nuclear disaster seem to outweigh the benefits, and one wonders why the plants are all more than thirty years old. If this world is to allow companies to continue using nuclear power, plants must be built to a much higher standard so that they put the lives of civilians at a much lower risk.

William C

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
zachary pick, Oct. 14, 2013

nuclear energy is a threat to everyone. other than fukushima, a nuclear plant in new jersey had a crack in its reactor. the radioactive water then cracked through the “inpenetrable” concrete safety walls and leaked into the river that flows throught the plant.

th comany reported noone was in danger becaue the radioactive water was contained on theri property and would not possibly leave the land. two days later, radioactivity levels were sky high 5 miles down the river and fish were found dead.

there are very few to no way s to 100%contain radioactive material and it is simply too dangerous to stil be in use. companies are using 70 year old designs and continuing to use outdated technology when we know it is not failsafe.

zachary pick
Comments (1)
  • Sean Harrison Sean Harrison Oct. 18, 2013
    I agree with you that radiation is very dangerous, but its a danger that has some great benefits. If the technology was better developed and monitored, we could replace the burning of fossil fuels with nuclear energy. Ending the entire crisis over climate change. Also, a lethal dosage of radiation for a fish is very different from a lethal dosage to a human. Thousands die from respiratory illness caused by inhaling particulates from coal burning plants. Radiation is the clean and dangerous way forward, it isn't perfect but with adjustments it can satisfy humanity's energy needs.

    How many lives did Fukushima end or will likely prematurely die due to high radiation exposure? under 200, a very low number considering how many people die daily of all sorts of causes, car crashes, murders ect.

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Stefanie F-USA, Oct. 10, 2013

I think it is right for all countries to move away from nuclear energy, testing, and weapons but sadly, that will probably never happen since nuclear weapons are proliferating in the middle-east and eastern Asia. The Non-Test Treaty (in the link below) was only signed by 3 countries but the UN should try to get all countries in the past and now investing money, time and effort in nuclear weapons. Nuclear Proliferation is a huge problem and i feel should be dealt with as soon as possible.

Stefanie F-USA
Comments (1)
  • Dakota Donahue Dakota Donahue Oct. 14, 2013
    Though I would agree that the militarization of nuclear technology is damaging to earth, the advancement of nuclear energy as an alternative to coal and fossil fuels may be the best option for reducing global Carbon levels. Though nuclear energy has proven itself to be devastating when out of operable control, the number of work related and civilian deaths from nuclear energy has always been significantly lower than that of coal and fossil fuel (taking into account it's distribution per capita). Furthermore, with greater research into prospects such as LFT's (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors), and even nuclear fusion, nuclear energy becomes a more and more viable option as a sustainable resource.
    One aforementioned problem with nuclear energy is the devastating effect it's waste has on organisms (including humans) and their surrounding ecosystems. However, LFT's, which use the very abundant thorium as a reactant and molten salt as a coolant would exert less than 1% of the waste traditional fission reactors do.
    For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of Liquid fluoride thorium reactors you can look here: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/04/152026805/is-thorium-a-magic-bullet-for-our-energy-problems

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Kelly H-USA, Oct. 9, 2013

Nuclear energy should be pursued for a few reasons according to How Stuff Works. For one, the process used to create energy out of uranium and other suitable radioactive materials produces a minimal amount of carbon dioxide compared to fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Nuclear energy also isn’t influenced by the fossil fuel industry, so the price doesn’t vary as much as oil does. Nonetheless, it is still very expensive to generate nuclear energy. Also radioactive waste is created when the materials are processed. This waste must be handled with care because it is hazardous to living things and handling this waste only adds to the cost of nuclear energy. Finding a way to take away the radioactive particles that make this waste harmful would make nuclear energy a much more viable option for solving the clean energy crisis.

Kelly H-USA
Comments (1)
  • Sam T-USA Sam T-USA Oct. 10, 2013
    I think nuclear power is a very interesting subject because there's so much potential for energy, but also so much risk of highly toxic waste. Apart from the building of the power plant and other small emissions, there is little to no carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through the process of nuclear fission. I think the debate between minuscule release of carbon dioxide versus the disposal/containment of nuclear waste is fascinating because even after such a long time discussing the matter, no plausible solution has been reached. I think nuclear technology also demonstrates the power that natural elements hold, and that humans have a difficult time controlling some of them. In the accidents of Chernobyl and the Three Mile accident in Pennsylvania, the power of nuclear energy was too great and overwhelmed the systems of the plants (though there was obvious human error that led to both).

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Joseph D-USA, Oct. 9, 2013

Nuclear power plants are possibly one of the safest sources of power, if they are done properly. The Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants were poorly designed and did not have the requisite fail safes to prevent disaster. The American Three Mile Island nuclear power plant also underwent a meltdown, however, the plant was able to contain the waste without any significant difficulty.

Therefore, I believe that there should be a regulatory commission to examine every nuclear power plant and if one is not safe, tell the country to disassemble the plant and build a safer one. Also, plants should not be built in areas with high natural disaster chances. Areas with frequent earthquakes or floods should not be host to nuclear power plants. It doesn’t matter how much containment is in place if an earthquake destroys it.

Joseph D-USA
Comments (1)
  • Erin Quinn Erin Quinn Oct. 19, 2013
    I disagree. I believe that even if a plant was designed perfectly and examined, it could still go wrong. Just because something failed doesn't necessarily make it a design flaw.Many things can go wrong that are out of our control.
    However, I did like your suggestions on how to make nuclear power safer. Natural disaster areas, and I think major water sources are not great places to build potentially dangerous power stations.
    I don't believe nuclear power is the safest energy source for America, or even the world. It has the possibility for more complications than either solar or wind power. If nuclear power were to become our only option, it is most definitely a good idea to install some sort of safety measures and precautions.

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Alessandro C, May 29, 2013

Hi! I’m Alessandro and I’m from Italy. I think we must have some nuclear power plants in Italy because there are many benefits for our nation:
-A nuclear power plant doesn’t emit CO2;
-the production of energy from nuclear power plants can reduces the import of oil and gas;
-more work.
But there are many disadvantages that:
- the effects in case of accident;
-nuclear waste;
-localization of nuclear power plants.
Finally, I’m agree with the installation of nuclear power plants in Italy. What do you think about it?

Alessandro C

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Caleb C-USA, May 2, 2013

Nuclear power is good if you can control it. Scientist are tying to find a way to dispose of radioactive waste. When a meltdown occurs, it becomes very hot and the fuel rods start to melt. This may lead for countries to not use nuclear energy. However, there are some reasons that are good. For example, nuclear power plants don’t release any pollutants in the atmosphere. It’s just steam. Nuclear power plants also don’t cause global warming.

Caleb C-USA
Comments (4)
  • Brian S-USA Brian S-USA May 2, 2013
    I agree. Have you ever heard about Chernobyl? The nuclear meltdown was so bad a nearby city, Pripyat had to be evacuated. It was never inhabited again.
  • Anthony Cortes Anthony Cortes May 15, 2013
    The only problem with the nuclear power plants is that, while they give off a fantastic amount of great and clean energy, in the event of a meltdown it can easily take hundreds of thousands of lives and also make huge cities uninhabitable.
  • Chase N-America Chase N-America Oct. 14, 2013
    We should not be using Nuclear energy because of several reasons. One is the fact that it costs up to 9 Billion dollars to build one. Then the amount of energy that it would produce would take years before it actually would even be close to breaking even. It always is a source of a potential terrorist attack as well. If the Nuclear power plant down near Oceanside CA were hit, it would affect up to 20 million people and kill thousands if not more. People would not be able to live in that area of southern California for years after.

    The waste that they produce has to be stored in a salt cave in New Mexico and deep caverns in Nevada. The potential threat is great and the more of them that they close the happier i will be, and safer. The chances of an accident happening are to great to ignore, and if one goes off, any other ones nearby will have to be abandoned and if something isnt turned off when the workers are all leaving then that will just result in more chaos and more destruction.

    I think that even though Nuclear energy is much more powerful than any other source of energy, it is also that much more dangerous
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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Jason Hodin, April 30, 2013

if you thought the Fukushima crisis was over…

Jason Hodin

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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Sara B-USA, Nov. 15, 2012

I think the USA should move towards the use of nuclear energy. Although nuclear energy can be dangerous when handled incorrectly, proper safety measures and back-up plans can help alleviate disaster if they are taken ahead of time. Nuclear energy is a lot cleaner than fossil fuels, and it can produce much larger amounts of energy than other renewable sources such as wind and solar energy. Nuclear energy is also cost-effective — although plants may be expensive to build, generating the energy itself isn’t expensive. Other countries are moving towards using nuclear energy, too, which should serve as a reason for the US to begin using nuclear energy. The usage of nuclear energy could affect the atmosphere by reducing CO2 emissions, possibly halting global warning if measures were to be taken to build plants now. To reduce it’s amount of CO2 emissions, the USA should expand its usage of nuclear energy.

Sara B-USA
Comments (4)
  • willis b-usa willis b-usa Dec. 3, 2012
    Ya I feel that nuclear energy Is safe, It can be used in many different ways as a safe energy, and really only comes down to how people handle it responsibly.
  • Anthony Cortes Anthony Cortes May 15, 2013
    The only problem is that it takes one ignorant mistake to cause Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island, and potentially many more. Now, I agree with the post above, we just need a better way of monitoring the facilities/ more fail safes, ect.
  • Joseph D-USA Joseph D-USA Oct. 14, 2013
    Three Mile Island was a success in that it absorbed the meltdown without any leaks. The Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters are design flaws, not reasons why nuclear energy should never be used. The only thing we need to do is create a commission to review all nuclear power plants and storage facilities for safety.

    The largest problem we have is not climate change, it is not CO2 in the atmosphere. It is running out of power. We have less than 100 years of power in our current energy infrastructure. Estimates for developing and implementing a new source of power is 50 years. Developing a new sustainable source of power should be our first priority. We should not be wasting our energy.
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Discussions Discussion Nukes post-Fukushima
Eryka M-USA, Nov. 14, 2012

Hi! I’m Eryka from the United States of America! I believe that the countries, like Germany (mentioned in the introduction), who moved away from using nuclear power made the right decision. They recognized the obvious threats that nuclear power has toward people and the environment.

To put this in terms where it is on a more personal level, people are in more danger from nuclear power. The USA, for example, is experiencing problems just being able to receive the materials and/or buy the actual materials necessary to make the power plant. The back and forth, unnecessary travel, only adds to people’s carbon footprint. We need to stop this. As of 2008 (noted in an online article by the Center for American Progress), only one company could make the bottleneck for the inside of the nuclear reactors containment vessel, and it was located in Japan. The reason this company is so important is due to the fact the inside it manufactured was made to help reduce radioactive leakage.

Another point I would like to talk about is the danger of radioactive materials in the environment.Radioactive materials have such long half-lives that they don’t get recycled out of the environment fast enough. This can have negative effects on humans who are exposed to it. Exposure to radioactive materials can cause hair loss, brain damage, and the damage of you reproductive organs. There are more body parts that can be affected, but these are just a few examples.

All in all I believe that nuclear power should not be a power source for anyone, we should look for another power source that does not have such dangerous threats to people and the environment.

Eryka M-USA
Comments (3)
  • Marissa B-USA Marissa B-USA Nov. 14, 2012
    I totally agree with you! Our world has so many threats and nuclear bombs and energy are a huge part of those threats. Another huge defect of nuclear energy is how expensive it is! According to RT's website, over 55 billion dollars are spent on developing nuclear weapons for the United States. This is such a huge price to pay for a horrendous thing. I believe stopping the development of this energy could lead to a safer and less violent world.
  • Eryka M-USA Eryka M-USA Nov. 14, 2012
    My point exactly! It is nice to see that people are starting to realize the obvious threats that nuclear power has towards humans, and not just that. Imagine all the other animals that could be affected by the dangers of nuclear power. When you put it into a world perspective, anything that can harm a human can also harm any other living thing.
  • Kaitlin S-USA Kaitlin S-USA May 14, 2013
    I agree as well! It's not worth it to use nuclear energy as it is so unpredictable and highly dangerous. Also, it's not renewable as the uranium needed has to be mined, so eventually we will run out of that resource as well.

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