Nuclear Legacy Essay, Research Paper
Nuclear Legacy”There is 10 thousand tons of nuclear waste on Earth.” Many scientist are insearch for new and efficient ways to dispose of these lethal by-products which candestroy life itself. Radioactive products can be either beneficial or devastating. It alldepends on how we use them. In the field of medicine, some benefit from radiationinclude, radiation therapy for cancer patients. Not all uses of radiation prove to bebeneficial. Many use the power of the atom for destructive purposes, introducing anage of nuclear warfare. It doesn’t matter if we use radiation for good or bad purposes,they all contribute to the growing rate of “unwanted nuclear waste.” The issue now is,how do we dispose of these nuclear wastes?Scientist have thought of several methods to dispose the nuclear by-products.They tried to chemically treat the waste and reuse it, but “that would cost a fortune”. They thought of launching the waste into outer space but it too will cost a fortune. They tried to dump barrels filled with nuclear waste into the ocean but they startedleaking. As you can see, there is a great need for a nuclear waste disposal site. Thesesites may sound frightening, but it may be the only way for us to dispose thedevastation we had longed to create. In 1986, the decision for a nuclear wastedepositary proved to be “the most frightening decision of the decade.” Of these sites,three were chosen to be the “most suitable” for the disposal of nuclear by-products.These three sites consisted of Hanford, Washington; Yuka Mountain, Nevada; andDefsmith, Texas.Hanford, Washington is a low populated U.S. city, and is owned by theDepartment of Energy. A low populated city is an ideal site for radioactive disposal.Although the city of Hanford is sparsely populated, geologists fear the possibility of anuclear seepage into the Colombia river. The Columbia River is an important factor forthe U.S. production of wheat. “This makes it the worst of site,” says the geologist. Ifthe Colombia River is contaminated with nuclear waste, it will lead to the contaminationof land surrounding the large body of water, thus making land unusable. Radioactivecontamination of the Colombia river will affect both America’s economy andagricultural production. Yuka mountain, Nevada is a heavily guarded desert region of America. It is faraway from any lakes, rivers, or oceans, and its repository is located above ground waterlevels. These geological conditions make Yuka mountain an almost perfect place fornuclear waste disposal to take place. This is due to the possibilities of earthquakesoccurring quite frequently within this area. It is said by the geologist that “if anearthquake was likely to occur, it will only shake the nuclear materials, not enough tomake them leak.” Yuka mountain is unfortunately located 70 miles from Las Vegas,Nevada, a widely known tourist attraction. Thus making Yuka mountain an unsoundplace for nuclear disposal.Defsmith, Texas is known as the “most productive city in Texas”. The farmersfrom Defsmith rely on the Ogallala aquifer as a source of water for agricultural growth.
If a radioactive disposal site is created in this city, a large pipe extending through theOgallala aquifer will have to be built, thus threatening the rich and fertile farmland. Theconstruction of a disposal site will also affect the genetic pureness of the seeds whichfarmers waited so long to obtain. So much value will be lost if a disposal site were to becreated in Defsmith, making it not worth completing. If I was a member of the Department of Energy and had to choose one of thesesites, I would have to choose Yuka mountain, Nevada for its ideal geologicalconditions. This area is widely uninhabited and does not pose a danger to the groundwater supply. If earthquakes occur, not much would happen, as the geologist stated.Although Yuka mountain is 70 miles from Las Vegas, I would try to have the cityevacuated and moved to a more safeguarded location. thus making Yuka mountain the”most reliable” nuclear waste disposal site of the three. If I was a member of the Department of Energy and could not in goodconscious choose one of these three sites, I would propose a plan to launch nuclearwaste-filled lead capsules into an area in outer space with high levels of naturalradiation. Although it may cost a fortune, any price is worth saving the Earth. I believethat by launching these capsules into space, our Earth will be left unaffected and freefrom the possibility of leakage. (As by creating disposal sites, the Earth is still at riskfrom a possible radioactive leak). If we launch these pellets to areas in space with highnatural radiation, a leak in the pellet will not be as disastrous as a leak occurring onEarth. The radiation being emitted from the capsule will then combine with the sourceof natural radiation, resulting in a neutral reaction, and will not have an affect on ourplanet. If I were a member in one of these communities, I would take the Departmentof energy to court, because they have no right to take away any of the rights we areentitled to as citizens of America. Second of all, I would petition to the governmentthat we have the construction of these disposal sites to be halted, as they endanger thelives of many Americans. Lastly, I would ask the Department of energy to find anothersolution to this “Nuclear Legacy”. I have learned that we must always take responsibility for our actions. In thiscase, those who have decided to create radioactive products lacked the responsibility todispose of them. The consequences resulting from our lack of responsibility is utterlydevastating. It is frightening how our new creations and discoveries can be sodestructive despite their benefits. I was indeed inspired from this video. I will do all I can to help reduceradioactive pollution by the source. Through the video, I saw how dangerous nuclearwaste can be to the environment, and how it affects our entire planet, not simply asindividuals. The debris left from the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan had a great impact onme. I was heartbroken by the sight of the many people who were killed and those whowere left to die. It is thoroughly frustrating to see how one discovery, the discovery ofthe atom, had changed the way we view the world today.