The Environmental Harm of Nuclear Energy
One big thing impacting our planet today is nuclear energy. Some may argue that the nuclear energy plants aren’t nearly as bad as other kinds of plants in the world. However, even though nuclear power plants don’t directly emit carbon dioxide, there are some other factors in play as to how it harms the environment.
Nuclear power plants create a major environmental concern with the radioactive waste such as reactor fuel and uranium mill tailings. EIA reports that once released, these wastes can remain harmful for thousands of years. There are two classifications to radioactive wastes, high-level waste and low-level waste. Nuclear waste’s radioactivity will decrease over time through radioactive decay. The radioactive waste that is considered having a short half-life is typically stored prior to disposal decreasing doses of radiation the workers will come in contact with.
Conserve Energy Future describes the effects of radioactive waste to be cancerous. If not disposed of properly. This could harm millions of humans and animals. While plants do follow the safety guidelines of disposing of the radioactive waste, accidents can always happen. History goes to show that there have been times where it was not disposed of properly resulting in the waste being carried through storms and causing contaminated water.
These wastes are stored in metal bins but if a leakage occurs, it could seap into the ground. With the life span of this waste, it could eventually end up in water or come in contact with a living being and cause serious health problems. Not only are the effects from this waste harmful, the cost to clean it up is pricey was well and once it is cleaned up, it could take over ten years for the environment to thrive in that spot again.
Examples in history this has become a problem with nuclear energy, 1979 Three Mile Island Incident, 1986 Chernobyl Incident and the 2011 Japanese tsunami which happened shortly after the release of radioactive materials. All of these events caused thousands of dollars in clean up and in some places, it is still considered radioactive. Luckily these events went public as to warn people about these areas, however the environment and habitat to many animals will forever be ruined.
Nuclear Energy, while deemed safe if taken care of and disposed properly, can have some major effects on not only the environment. When a habitat is ruined for an animal, they will search for a new habitat, but if the environment all around the area is ruined, that will be a slow demise to the nature living around there. This will slowly start affecting humans since if many of these animals were to go extinct, it would directly affect the way humans live. For example, if the bees were to completely disappear, they would no longer be able to pollinate plants which in turn there would be less plants and less oxygen in the world. Everything on the planet, that is not man made, serves a purpose for balance and survival. Everything is connected so affecting one thing could potentially be disastrous for everything else.
Authors: Kylie is the editor at Green & Growing. She enjoy the outdoors, especially when she can go on a fun hike or adventure. She likes to focus on the perks green living. She feels it is so important to take care of our earth and hope to spread more awareness as she edits and writes.