Risks Associated With Nuclear Power Plants

Start a discussion group on nuclear power and it will grow heated very quickly. No pun intended. Objectively, there are a few definitive risks associated with such plants.Risks Associated With Nuclear Power Plants.

A nuclear power plant is a unique bit of technology. The goal of the design and technology is twofold - to maintain control of a nuclear molecular reaction and to harness energy from it. Surprisingly, the design of most reactors is fairly simple, but much thought is given to safety issues. Despite these efforts, the nature of nuclear fission is such that it can be very dangerous.

There are a variety of risks associated with a nuclear power plant. The biggest can be summarized as meltdown, nuclear waste and attractiveness as a military or terror target. Each is a valid issue, so let's take a look at them.A meltdown at a nuclear power plant was historically considered a possibility, but not a particularly likely event.

Then Chernobyl suffered a meltdown in 1986 and the property, health and scope of damage opened the eyes of many skeptics. The risks associated with a meltdown are the introduction of massive amounts of radiation to the surrounding areas and atmosphere where it is carried for hundreds or thousands of miles to slowly fall on population centers.In the case of Chernobyl, the meltdown produce more than 300 times the radioactive fallout of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The fallout spread as far as Western Europe.

The devastation led to the evacuation of 300,000 people, and some estimates attribute over 270,000 cases of cancer to the fallout. Birth defects in the areas hit by radioactive fallout are incredibly high.Nuclear waste is another risk associated with plants. The simple problem is there is no way to safely dispose of it. This leads to tremendous arguments and litigation over locations where it can be stored.The third area of risk associated with nuclear power plants concerns intentional acts to damage them.

Simply put, nuclear power plants are large, stationary targets. Given the devastation caused by a meltdown, as seen with Chernobyl, these plants make great targets for both military and terrorist attacks. Keep in mind that the population centers around Chernobyl were relatively small. In the United States, millions of people live close to most plants, which means a meltdown would result in far more damage on just about every level.

The risks associated with nuclear power plants are pretty scary. The situation with Chernobyl makes that clear enough.

.Richard Monk is with - a site with facts about everything.

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By: Richard Monk

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