Can Nuclear Power Ever Be Safe? A Comprehensive Look

For over six decades, nuclear energy has been a reliable and safe source of electricity. The risk of accidents at nuclear power plants is low and is decreasing, and the consequences of an accident or terrorist attack are minimal compared to other commonly accepted risks. Despite public concerns, the data clearly show that nuclear energy is a much safer source of energy than fossil fuels. The danger of nuclear power sources comes from the particles of radiation and energy released from unstable molecules that try to calm down. These radioactive missiles can impact the human body and damage cells or DNA, according to David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety project at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Too much radiation can cause cancer or genetic mutations, or even kill directly. Study after study in major scientific journals have found that nuclear power plants are by far the safest way to produce reliable electricity. So why are we so afraid of them? The risks associated with nuclear energy are no greater than those associated with other major modes of energy production. Recent innovations could soon reduce risks even further. For example, modern reactors such as the pebble bed reactor and careful selection of plant sites can make accidents like Fukushima impossible. Long-term storage of nuclear waste is proposed to be buried in carefully selected deep geological deposits. In addition, it has been discovered that a Nobel Prize-winning American scientist committed scientific fraud to exaggerate the risks of nuclear radiation to human health.

This scientist's status as a powerful figure allowed him to establish his falsified theory as the scientific basis for regulating nuclear power plants in the coming decades. Today, many nuclear power plants have been closed and dismantled, but this might be a poor assumption as nuclear power is expected to be safer. Japan has restarted 9 of its 35 reactors and expects to return to a 20% nuclear energy portfolio soon. It's incredible that nuclear energy has the lowest CO2 of all commercial energy sources because it is much cleaner than previously thought. Even if solar and wind power could match the potential of nuclear energy, the associated problems are currently enormous. Some 50 third-generation nuclear power plants are already in operation or under construction worldwide, and another 150 to 200 plants are in the planning or preparation phases. However, with improper disposal of nuclear waste, thousands of poor people (because nuclear power plants will almost certainly be built next to poor neighborhoods, not the rich) will be displaced and possibly develop some form of cancer.