Nuclear Legacy Essay, Research Paper
“There is 10 thousand tons of nuclear waste on Earth.” Many scientist are in
search for new and efficient ways to dispose of these lethal by-products which can
destroy life itself. Radioactive products can be either beneficial or devastating. It all
depends on how we use them. In the field of medicine, some benefit from radiation
include, radiation therapy for cancer patients. Not all uses of radiation prove to be
beneficial. Many use the power of the atom for destructive purposes, introducing an
age 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 started
leaking. As you can see, there is a great need for a nuclear waste disposal site. These
sites may sound frightening, but it may be the only way for us to dispose the
devastation we had longed to create. In 1986, the decision for a nuclear waste
depositary 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; and
Hanford, Washington is a low populated U.S. city, and is owned by the
Department 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 a
nuclear seepage into the Colombia river. The Columbia River is an important factor for
the U.S. production of wheat. “This makes it the worst of site,” says the geologist. If
the Colombia River is contaminated with nuclear waste, it will lead to the contamination
of land surrounding the large body of water, thus making land unusable. Radioactive
contamination of the Colombia river will affect both America’s economy and
Yuka mountain, Nevada is a heavily guarded desert region of America. It is far
away from any lakes, rivers, or oceans, and its repository is located above ground water
levels. These geological conditions make Yuka mountain an almost perfect place for
nuclear waste disposal to take place. This is due to the possibilities of earthquakes
occurring quite frequently within this area. It is said by the geologist that “if an
earthquake was likely to occur, it will only shake the nuclear materials, not enough to
make them leak.” Yuka mountain is unfortunately located 70 miles from Las Vegas,
Nevada, a widely known tourist attraction. Thus making Yuka mountain an unsound
place for nuclear disposal.
Defsmith, Texas is known as the “most productive city in Texas”. The farmers
from 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 the
Ogallala aquifer will have to be built, thus threatening the rich and fertile farmland. The
construction of a disposal site will also affect the genetic pureness of the seeds which
farmers waited so long to obtain. So much value will be lost if a disposal site were to be
created in Defsmith, making it not worth completing.
If I was a member of the Department of Energy and had to choose one of these
sites, I would have to choose Yuka mountain, Nevada for its ideal geological
conditions. This area is widely uninhabited and does not pose a danger to the ground
water 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 city
evacuated 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 good
conscious choose one of these three sites, I would propose a plan to launch nuclear
waste-filled lead capsules into an area in outer space with high levels of natural
radiation. Although it may cost a fortune, any price is worth saving the Earth. I believe
that by launching these capsules into space, our Earth will be left unaffected and free
from the possibility of leakage. (As by creating disposal sites, the Earth is still at risk
from a possible radioactive leak). If we launch these pellets to areas in space with high
natural radiation, a leak in the pellet will not be as disastrous as a leak occurring on
Earth. The radiation being emitted from the capsule will then combine with the source
of natural radiation, resulting in a neutral reaction, and will not have an affect on our
If I were a member in one of these communities, I would take the Department
of energy to court, because they have no right to take away any of the rights we are
entitled to as citizens of America. Second of all, I would petition to the government
that we have the construction of these disposal sites to be halted, as they endanger the
lives of many Americans. Lastly, I would ask the Department of energy to find another
solution to this “Nuclear Legacy”.
I have learned that we must always take responsibility for our actions. In this
case, those who have decided to create radioactive products lacked the responsibility to
dispose of them. The consequences resulting from our lack of responsibility is utterly
devastating. It is frightening how our new creations and discoveries can be so
destructive despite their benefits.
I was indeed inspired from this video. I will do all I can to help reduce
radioactive pollution by the source. Through the video, I saw how dangerous nuclear
waste can be to the environment, and how it affects our entire planet, not simply as
The debris left from the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan had a great impact on
me. I was heartbroken by the sight of the many people who were killed and those who
were left to die. It is thoroughly frustrating to see how one discovery, the discovery of
the atom, had changed the way we view the world today.