Nuclear energy doesn’t stand alone as unsafe US resource

By Trevor Wallace
March 22, 2011

In light of the recent blasts at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, many Americans have voiced their opinions about the United States’ own nuclear power plants.

Nuclear energy provides 20 percent of the United States’ electricity and is the number one source of emission-free electricity. The issue at hand is whether nuclear energy and the storage of that nuclear waste is worth the possibility that the United States could suffer it’s own nuclear disaster.

The fact of the matter is that the United States has already suffered an accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. Although there were no deaths or injuries that resulted from the accident, the event led to great reform within the areas of nuclear power plant operations in order to prevent and inform engineers and the public in case another accident occurred.

With 104 operating nuclear reactors, 35 boiling water reactors and 69 pressurized water reactors, 31 states in America have active reactors. Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut and South Carolina each had over 50 percent of the electricity generated from nuclear power. So it’s not to say that nuclear power can’t work, it’s just dangerous.

But then again, what about all the coal miners that have lost their lives to cave-ins or explosions from hazardous gases within the mines? In America alone, over 100,000 miners have been killed in accidents over the past century. That’s not to count how many have died from diseases such as pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung.

What about the oil and drilling rig accidents that have claimed other lives of workers and destroyed marine and coastal life?

There’s nothing wrong with questioning the integrity of something as powerful as nuclear energy and when something like the disaster at Fukushima power plant occurs, it is necessary to question the stability of such a resource.

What the Loquitur believes should be done is not to belittle nuclear energy and dismiss its unlimited supply of energy, rather events like the Fukushima power plant explosion should bring about discussion of alternative resources that will one day overhaul the oil industry.

With only 50 years left on the oil supply timeline, it’s time to begin relying on geothermal energy, wind and tidal energy, solar and even biomass energy, which takes corn and wheat and converts it into fuel for our cars and homes.

Americans have the freedom to discuss matters like this in an open forum and it’s important to see all sides on the issue. But we must not argue in a purely present state of mind. When planning for the future, be wary of the past or else it is doomed to repeat itself.


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Trevor Wallace

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