The discovery of nuclear power had brought mankind to one of its greatest success throughout history. Nuclear technology is considered as a “gift” from the Italian-American physicist, Enrico Fermi, who was given the title as the “new Promethean”, similar to the ancient Greek mythological figure. Extending this analogy, it was the Prometheans who gave the entire human race a type of fire within the atomic nucleus. Angelo related that on December 2, 1942 at the University of Chicago, Fermi and his team of scientists operated the first nuclear reactor ever built (1).
Pioneering this experiment has started the new era of technology, in where the human race can harvest energy wisely and in a controlled manner within the atomic nucleus. Effects In the discussion of the effects of using nuclear power technology, it is only fair and proper to present both sides of the argument. The benefits of embarking on such projects will first be discussed. A major premise for the use of nuclear power will be that it is cheaper than alternative sources for the production of electricity bulk.
In the past sixty years, humanity has seen the successful transformation of the atom from a military weapon to a vast source of electricity that benefits the public’s lives, powering everyday activities from using washing machines to surfing the Internet. Expansions in the use of advanced nuclear reactors for power generation had increased global convenience without emitting noxious chemicals such as carbon monoxide, the gas which endangers the Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, nuclear technology does not contribute to the increasing catastrophe of the greenhouse effect.
On the other hand, no technology can completely escape the circumstances under which it was first developed, and nuclear power reactors cannot avoid some of the negative reaction aimed at the technology. Building a nuclear power plant always lead to the enormous amount of materials, land and energy needed to utilize the construction, so feeding a plant requires the mining of a large amount of uranium ore. Decommission of an aging power plant additionally requires large quantity of energy and materials.
Also, during a power plant’s operation, the use of water needs to be in a large quantity for the cooling process of the plant itself, thus releasing great amount of heat waste. Short-Term Consequences It is undeniable that people benefit from the electricity generated by nuclear power plants to facilitate their everyday life. More and more, people are dependent on electricity that these plants have proven to bring. The widespread use of radioactive isotopes and X-rays is still benefiting the practice of medicine.
Also, the use of such energy is already contributing to the decrease of the emission of noxious gases to the atmosphere, thus somehow preventing the pending disaster of the greenhouse effect. Believers in nuclear technology, to the degree that they recognize these hazards, dispute that nuclear technology carries advantages that more than give back for its intrinsic dangers. From a scientific perspective, when used wisely and carefully, the various forms of nuclear technology have and will provide great benefits. Long-Term Consequences
Investment in the construction of well-contained nuclear power plants is very expensive on a first glance, but the long term advantage of humongous savings on electricity generation can potentially alleviate the current economic crisis that the world over is experiencing right now. Supporters of nuclear power contend that nuclear electricity offers the only realistic prospect of sustained economic growth once fossil fuels begin to run out or cause unacceptable environmental problems. On the flip side, using a large amount of resources for keeping a nuclear power plant alive can lead to environmental degradation in the long run.
Likewise, the release of a great amount of heat waste disrupts nature as well as animals by this extreme thermal pollution. The continuous expansion of mankind through the use of nuclear technology to sustain global achievements might also increasingly leave a mark of disruptive wastes. Future Developments Human civilization is at an important crossroads with respect to nuclear technology. If people fail to use nuclear technology wisely, the magnificent accomplishments of the human race could easily crumble into radioactive dust.
Current and future generations of humans can productively harness the energy locked deep within the atomic nucleus to achieve sustainable global civilization. A societal decision to harvest only the beneficial aspects of nuclear technology is also a manifestation of the ultimate good that can arise from the creative spirit of the human mind. In this context, nuclear technology might come to be viewed in the future as that uniquely powerful technology that serves as protector of Earth. Conclusion The discussion of nuclear power has been lengthy because of the potential importance of nuclear energy in controlling the atmospheric greenhouse.
Nuclear power is out of Pandora’s Box: it offers enormous benefits; there are enormous risks. More than any kind of energy and type of technology we are using, nuclear technology is indeed the most influential force in this changing world. Integration of all technological aspects would be much difficult than any other kind of technology, thus there is a continuous seeking for its options and analyzing the consequences and benefits as well. Nuclear technology has brought confusing questions in which historians and experts made a remarkable debate.
Would this modern technology lead the human race to a more sustainable economic growth; or does this clean and quite, yet extremely destructive power will consume the planet? There are a lot of questions that can not be answered accurately, but for the betterment of the entire human race as well as for our future generations, living with this extraordinary technology, if used in a contained and humane manner, would be the right decision to make.
WORK CITED Angelo, Joseph. Nuclear Technology. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2004.