Nuclear Waste Paper
Mueller then goes on to support his own claim by providing statistical data and explanations of radioactive decay throughout the essay. Mueller uses a professional and informative tone throughout the essay while at the same time using langue and examples that are easy to understand and follow. Mueller uses logos and ethos to persuade his audience to a common consensus that radioactive waste can be contained safely and effectively while posing no threat to the population or environment. This essay is meant o analyze Mulled arguments provided throughout his article in order to examine his rhetorical strategies.
First Mueller evokes fear in his audience by reminding them of a few of the worst case scenarios that could possibly happen with the storage of nuclear waste. Mueller reminds his audience that the Yucca Mountain region where nuclear waste is stored “is seismically active. More than 600 earthquakes of magnitude 2. 5 and higher have occurred within 50 miles in the last decade alone,” (peg. 207). Mueller then goes on to state that Colorado, where water- lobule uranium naturally exists, has large amounts of ground water that will be used in the future for drinking and home use (peg. 12).
Mueller reminds the reader of these dangerous possibilities to grab the audience’s attention and ensuring that they will pay attention. He also informs the audience of the incredible amount of time it takes for this highly concentrated radioactive material to decay until it reaches its original radioactive levels. Later Mueller continues to evoke fear in the audience by stating the extreme solutions to he growing problem of nuclear waste outlandish solutions that seem to only come out some sort of science fiction novel. Alternative for storing the waste have been suggested.
Ideas such as sending the “waste in to the sun,” and, sinking the waste “under the oceans, in a region where the movement of Earth’s Cristal plates will subdued the material,” (peg. 208). Again Mueller continues to do this to put fear in to the minds of his audience while also making it seem as if there is no solution to the issue and that we are all inevitability doomed by our own creations. Looking deeper in to this strategy, while this is a very good way to keep the readers attention, by appealing to pathos, it is at the same time setting up the rest of Mauler’s arguments.
If the options discussed earlier are unrealistic or impractical, the question begs “what is the solution then? ” In the following section of the essay, this question is answered. After the reader has been overloaded with fear and their hopes of a solution have diminished, Mueller then goes on to state the facts and statistics of nuclear waste, its containers and radioactive decay. It takes 10,000 for the waste ‘to decay back to the radioactive level of the mined uranium,’ (peg. 209).
The reader is also informed that the waste is “carried in thick, reinforced concrete cylinders that can survive high-speed crashes without leaking,” (peg. 212). Providing data, Mueller is able to comfort his audience by playing on logos and is able to provide statistical data. He states that the nuclear waste that is contained, in fact has less potential for harm than what is already in the ground naturally (peg. 212). Just as long as the containers leak less that 0. % of their material per year, there is an overall lesser amount of radioactive material in the environment.
At this point the author does not Want to scare the reader too much and must reel them in and calm them down. While calming the reader this strategy also reinforces the author’s credibility to the audience. Without this section of the essay the reader is left to assume that the author has credibility but, by providing examples of radioactive decay and other data the author is able to show his knowledge of the subject. This reassurance of credibility further prepares the rest of the audience for Mauler’s solutions and ensures that they will seem more valid.
Lastly comes the main part of the article, which is, Mauler’s arguments on why nuclear waste is less dangerous then is commonly assumed. Mueller continues to refer to statistical data previously discussed to make his claim. It is proven that as long as the amount of leakage of the waste is kept below a certain percentage, the waste is in fact less dangerous and has less Of a possibility to cause harm than waste that is already in the ground. This being stated it is also made very clear that while nuclear waste is not as harmful as rebelliously thought, it is also something that must be managed appropriately.
Mueller references that al-Qaeda affiliates have in the past thought about attempting to steal some of this waste in order to create a dirty nuclear bomb (peg. 212). This is mentioned to reinforce to the reader that the waste can harm others. It also puts a small amount of fear in the audience ensuring that they are still paying attention. At this point Mueller is balancing a very fine line, he must keep the audience intrigued and does so by playing on fear and pathos.