Essay about Nuclear Plants and Nuclear Waste Disposal

Essay about Nuclear Plants and Nuclear Waste Disposal

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The first nuclear power plants started operating in the 1950’s. Now, nearly 12% of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear power facilities. With all this power comes waste, and lots of it. The amount of waste from nuclear power plants annually is over 2,000 tons and there is over 270,000 tons of waste currently in storage. Where is all this dangerous waste stored? You might be surprised.

To give you a background on just what nuclear waste is, I’ll explain just how this hazardous material is formed. By splitting atoms scientists are able to harness large amounts of energy and power entire cities. They split these atoms by shooting neutrons at them in a process known as nuclear fission. After this process has run its course and can no longer be used to generate power a highly radioactive waste is left. There are two classifications of the waste, low-level and high-level wastes. Low-level waste is the garbage accumulated from cleaning and power plant maintenance. It is not that radioactive, but still dangerous to your health. High-level waste is the burnt out fuel cells that can no longer be used. They are the majority of the problem with waste disposal. This highly radioactive waste remains as such for over 50 years on average.

So if this waste remains extremely dangerous for 50+ years how do we handle the storage and disposal of this waste? The answer is so simple that some people might think you were kidding. We bury it. There are no high tech facilities with high security, simply a big hole in the ground. Now you might be wondering where these burial sites are, the answer might scare you. A mere 200 miles away from Reno, NV lies a mountain known as Yucca Mountain. What’s so special about this mountain? It’s planned to soo...

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...tle program that has been shut down for several years. The main opposition to this method is people who don’t want their tax money going to something that might not directly affect them. This opposition is narrow-minded and selfish. Limiting scientific exploration is robbing future generations of knowledge and technology.

The current status of our nuclear waste disposal is a global embarrassment. We need to commit to an effective method that provides more reasonable and less hazardous possibilities. Money should not be a concern, rather our safety and health if this storage facility were to have an accident. People say “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, but apparently the US has decided to do just the opposite with our waste disposal program. If a realistic solution isn’t found soon, future generations will have to suffer the consequences of our ignorance.

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