Dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel in order to develop the industry of getting minerals and digging tunnels; however, Dynamite is now widely used in military purpose. Similarly, nuclear energy is undoubtedly a powerful source of energy compared to other conventional fuels such as coal, oil and gas. However, nuclear energy also has a lot of disadvantages, such as nuclear wastes, nuclear plant accidents and nuclear weapons. So before widely use this technology, both pros and cons should be taken in consideration.
On one hand, nuclear energy is not renewable, so the problem of nuclear waste is still unsolved.
Nuclear waste is a waste produced by radioactive fissions. Unlike normal refuse, nuclear waste can be very harmful to all creatures. Radioactivity reduces over long periods of time, so the waste must be isolated until its radioactive isotopes to decay. For instance, a period of 10 to 50 years will make low-level wastes no longer dangerous. Moreover, wastes from the core of nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons emit large amounts of radiation and it take thousands of years for them to decay, some even longer than 100,000 years.
Nowadays, the main approaches to manage radioactive waste is to permanently isolate the nuclear waste from the human environment such as deep burial and space disposal. But none of these methods is permanent solution. (Warren S. Melfort) In addition, a study from a Germany university, the University of Mainz, shows that kids living within a 5-kilometer radius of nuclear power stations have a 60 percent higher risk of cancer, and radiation experts also believe that children living within 50 kilometers of nuclear power stations have an increasing risk of cancer.
Spix C, Schmiedel S, Kaatsch P, Schulze-Rath R, Blettner M) On another hand, using nuclear energy is high risky. Though it is generally safe to run a nuclear plant, accidents can always happen. The Chernobyl disaster would be a good example. It was a nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union on April 26, 1986. It is known as the most severe nuclear power plant accident in history. The radioactive pollution influenced large parts of the Soviet Union, and much of Europe.
Until December 2000, more than 350,000 people had been evacuated and resettled from the most severely polluted areas; furthermore, the World Health Organization believes that there will eventually be an amount of 4,000 deaths due to the accident because of long term disease such as cancer. (Richard Mould) Thus, even in situations where the nuclear energy is stable, accidents may occur. The Chernobyl disaster caused a huge danger to all of Europe.
If accidents like this occur at a bigger plant, then the world can be even more harmed. (UNDP and UNICEF) Last but not least, as mentioned, nuclear fission can create an enormous amount of energy: at an equivalent mass, the process of nuclear fission creates energy in excess of 10 million times that fossil fuel does. As a result, if nuclear weapons were widely used, you cannot imagine the consequences. For instance, during the World War 2, Hiroshima was an important Japanese military centre with a population of almost 300,000.
On August 6, 1945, this city was destroyed by a single atomic bomb named “Little Boy” and some 70,000 people died in the first seconds. Moreover, it is estimated that more than 200,000 people died in the following 5 years due to cancer and other long-term diseases. (F. G. Gosling) Furthermore, nuclear power stations would be perfect targets for terrorists. Although security is emphasized in these places, no nuclear power plants in the world could survive in an attack like 9/11 in New York.
The consequences of such an attack could be catastrophic for the world. (Rose Kivi) To sum up, along with all of the disadvantages of nuclear energy, there are some benefits as well, such as nuclear energy do not create carbon dioxide, thus it could be a solution of global warming. However, from what has been discussed above, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Therefore nuclear energy should better be reserved for the future, when the technology is more developed.