Essay Example on Nuclear Waste Problem

Published: 2018-04-23
Essay Example on Nuclear Waste Problem
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Ecology Technology Energy
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 585 words
5 min read

Power Plants and Nuclear Power

According to supporter’s argument, making it easier for power plants to dispose of low-level radioactive waste will allow the nuclear industry to focus its cleanup efforts on more dangerous high-level waste. Various safety measures are undertaken to store and dispose of all types of radioactive material, ensuring that it does not contaminate the environment. However, the opponents argue that fewer restrictions for nuclear waste disposal are harmful. There is no scientific evidence showing that radioactive material which can remain lethal to humans for thousands of years, can be safely stored underground for such a long time. The potential leakage of radioactive material into the environment could sicken people contaminate ground water and could destroy a whole community.

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Nuclear power has become an important component of the nation’s domestic energy production since its first commercial application in 1950s. There has being no proposed plans to construct more nuclear power plants for 30 years. One reason is that nuclear plants is costly to build and maintain than other types of power sources, such as commercial wind farms or coal-burning power plant. Another reason is the ongoing concern over the safety of nuclear-power generation. Nuclear power creates radioactive by-product known as “nuclear waste,” that are potentially dangerous to humans for tens, hundred and even thousands of years.

The U.S produces 2,000 tons of nuclear waste annually. According to the nuclear waste policy act of 1982, the government mandated the creation of permanent, large-scale underground deposit for the radioactive waste generated by the nation’s nuclear plants. The waste on site is either stored underwater, in steel-enforced vaults, or in dry concrete and steel container that meet the requirement of Nuclear Regulatory Commission. However, critics complain that radioactive waste near population creates a health risk.

Problem of Storing Nuclear Waste

Supporters fell there is no risk when buried underground, standing on concrete and surrounded by steel. Critics, on the other hand, have their concern of leakage into the water, which causes long-term effects and they want all threats buried. The issue to where to store the nuclear waste was a problem and security experts warned that the nuclear power plant could be a target for terrorists. The concern for terrorist created issues on how the waste would be transported to Yucca Mountains as it would pass through populated areas creating a potential health risk.

The nuclear waste was reclassified from high-level to a low level by the senate. Defense Department authorization bill was sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham. Proponents of Grahams classifying the sludge as low level would save time and money by allowing a nuclear plant to bury it on site underneath and instead focus their disposal efforts on the more radioactive high- level waste. Construction of more nuclear reactors will increase domestic energy supply.

The real issue, proponents assert, is that no state wants the bulk of other country waste stored in its backyard. Supporters content that classifying as either low-level or high-level waste will help prioritize the removal of hazardous material. Proponents also reject the argument that on-site storage facilities allow nuclear waste to contaminate surroundings soil or water. Some concede that nuclear waste is an issue that needs to be addressed, but they stress that steps are being taken to solve the problem. There is a lot of waste piling up at reactors all over the country. The French does it very successfully and very safely so we need to do the same thing.

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