Chernobyl was the greatest nuclear disaster of the 20th century. On April 26th, 1986, one of four nuclear reactors located in the Soviet Union melted down and contaminated a vast area of Eastern Europe. The meltdown, a result of human error, lapsed safety precautions, and lack of a containment vessel, was barely contained by dropping sand and releasing huge amounts of deadly radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere. The resulting contamination killed or injured hundreds of thousands of people and devastated the environment. The affects of this accident are still being felt today and will be felt for generations to come.
Nuclear power has always been a controversial issue because of its inherent danger and the amount of waste that the plants produce. Once considered a relatively safe form for generating energy, nuclear power has caused more problems than it has solved. While it has reduced the amount of traditional natural resources (fossil fuels), used to generate power like coal, wood, and oil, nuclear generating plants have become anachronisms. Maintaining them and keeping them safe has become a problem of immense proportion. As the plants age and other technology becomes available, what to do with these “eyesores” is a consuming issue for many government agencies and environmental groups. No one knows what to do about the problem and in many areas of the world, another nuclear meltdown is an accident waiting to happen. Despite a vast array of safety measures, a break in reactor pipe or a leak in a containment vessel, could spell another environmental disaster
for the world.
In addition to the potential dangers of accidents in generating stations, nuclear waste
is a continuing problem
that is growing exponentially. Nuclear waste can remain radioactive for about 600 years and disposing these wastes or storing them is an immense problem. Everyone wants the energy generated by power plants, but no one wants to take responsibility for the waste. Thus far, it is stored deep in the earth, but these storage areas are potentially dangerous and will eventually run out. Some have suggested sending the waste into space, but no one is sure of the repercussions.
Nuclear power plants should be dismantled and replaced with safer energy generating sources. Solar power, wind power, wave power, water power, and conservation should be utilized to replace nuclear power plants and return the world to a society not threatened by radioactive disasters. Governments around the world need to acknowledge that there is no safe source of nuclear energy and the sooner they face this truth, the better off the world and all of its inhabitants will be. Nuclear power is costly to maintain and build. But, most importantly, they are dangerous and not necessary.