In March 2011, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake hit the pacific coast of Japan, generating up to 133ft tall tsunami waves, which obliterated everything up to 6 mi. inland. According to the NPA (National Police Agency) of Japan, 24, 656 people were affected by this catastrophe, which include the deceased, injured, and missing. The tsunami also affected three of the six nuclear reactors of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant causing leakage of radioactive material. Many workers and even civilians worked hard to contain the harmful material for it to stop contamination in other areas, but it already spread. A The Associated Press news writer states, “The massive amount of radioactive water is among the most pressing issues affecting the cleanup process, which is expected to take decades. There have been other leaks of contaminated water at the plant, and some of it is entering the sea.” Today, the radioactive material has spread out and covered almost all of the Pacific Ocean, harming wild life and contaminating our food. Why do governments and corporations make and allow this technology to be used if it can contaminate our world and us? There are better and more beneficial sources for renewable energy other than nuclear power.
Technology has advanced tremendously in the past hundred years. We have created massive destruction weapons, medical equipment, electronics, Internet, etc. I would consider renewable energy sources to fall into this list. Some renewable energy sources would be solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity, and nuclear power. There has been much debate between whether nuclear power should be considered a renewable energy source or not. Some people argue it shouldn’t since “it produces harmful waste byproducts and relies on extractive industries to procure fuel like uranium” (Kanter). Unlike nuclear power, other renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity, don’t radiate harmful material to our environment. Then there are others who argue it should be considered a renewable resource. New York Times journalist indicates, “pro-nuclear officials from countries including France have been trying to brand the technology as renewable, on the grounds that it produces little or no greenhouse gases” (Kanter). I personally do not consider nuclear power a renewable resource.
The use of both nuclear and renewable energy has expanded largely compared to what it was 50 years ago. Most countries like USA, France, and Russia use nuclear power to produce most of their electricity. Countries like Norway, Iceland, and Paraguay mostly use renewable energy sources to produce their electricity and they notice the great impact this technology does towards the reduction of CO2 in our atmosphere. 90% of Paraguay’s electricity is provided from the Itaipu dam. The dam removes 67.5 million tons of CO2 a year. Iceland’s electricity supply is 100% renewable energy and its sources are both geothermal and hydropower. There is so much geothermal capacity that there is discussion about whether or not an interconnector can be built into the UK grid. Norway’s top three sources of electricity are hydroelectric, geothermal, and wind sources. Norway serves the export market by selling their renewable energy to other countries since they only use 24% of 98% generating capacity. These are countries that are making a change in the environment. Solar power is being used very much today.
Most of the housed in LA, California have some sort of solar panel. Houses are getting their own little renewable energy machine that saves the household money each month, since most don’t even pay electrical bills from excessive energy. When I found out about this, I told my stepfather we should research on getting solar panels for our house. The cost for solar panels varies from 3,000 – 5,000 for 12 panels. The cost of the panels plus the installation would be too much for most people; that’s why solar paneled houses are rarely seen. Trying to be eco-friendly isn’t cheap. People are recently realizing that we have been getting our planet contaminated all these years and that we have to do something about it now. Flyers, ads, and people are telling us we need to stop littering and recycle to clean and care for our planet.
Those things do help, but I think there are worse things our planet is being exposed to than just trash. Nuclear power plants, that we created, are being used for energy all over the world and we are not thinking about the repercussions they might bring. We are gambling with our sensitive planet and our lives. What if something like Fukushima happens again, and even worse, what if it happens like in Chernobyl? Do we as the human race want to take that chance? What could this do to our health? The author of “Nuclear Power is Not the Answer” states, “no dose of radiation is safe, and all radiation is cumulative. Each dose received adds to the risk of developing cancer or mutating genes in the reproductive cells” (Caldicott, 44). Caldicott also thinks, “80% of cancers that we see are caused by environmental factors, whereas only 20% are inherited” (Caldicott, 44).
All governments and all corporations around the world need to put a stop to harmful material being created and exposed. It needs to be stopped not only for our plant, but also for our lives and health. We will destroy our planet if we keep creating things like nuclear power plants. Are we going to wait for an earthquake, hurricane, or even terrorist attack to happen for us to realize the negative effect nuclear power can cause? Some countries realize this and that is why they use 100% renewable energy from non-toxic sources and machinery like hydroelectricity, wind power, and solar power. Those harmful chemicals don’t just hurt our planet, but they hurt our health as well. We need to realize what we are doing wrong and put a stop to it, before it’s too late for everything. There are better and more beneficial sources for renewable energy other than nuclear power.
“Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures associated with 2011 Tohoku district.” Chart. National Police Agency of Japan. Emergency Disaster Countermeasures Headquarters, 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. “Japan Nuclear Plant Suffers Worst Radioactive Water Leak.” The Associated Press (2013). CBC. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. Kanter, James. “Is Nuclear Power Renewable?” New York Times. New York Times, 9 Nov. 2003. Web. 10 Apr. 2014
Caldicott, Helen. Nuclear Power is Not the Answer. Melbourne: The New Press, 2006. Print.