Disaster in Japan should inspire a transition away from nuclear energy

After the March 11 tsunami in Japan, there has been extreme concern about high levels of radiation in the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant. This concern has captured viewers around the world, nervous that the reactors will blow, creating a nuclear meltdown similar to the disaster now known as Chernobyl, which occurred on April 26, 1986. After this immense, and the now impending, disaster I am baffled as to why countries—including our own—are still reliant and insistent on using nuclear energy.

I understand that with our immense burning of fossil fuels, we should work toward finding a new sustainable energy source, but nuclear energy is not the answer. It is highly dangerous and can have disastrous effects if it is not properly controlled. Even when it is properly contained, Mother Nature can cause problems, such as the earthquake and tsunami Japan suffered earlier this month.

According to timeforchange.org, “It is technically impossible to build a plant with 100 percent security. A small probability of failure will always last.”

This is an unnerving thought that we have seemingly tossed aside in the quest for a new energy source. However, in light of this recent disaster, we need to re-evaluate our energy options so that we aren’t doomed to the same fate as Japan.

Additionally, a surge of nuclear power plants across the United States could inspire another terrorist attack.

“No atomic energy plant in the world could withstand an attack similar to 9/11 in New York,” timeforchange.org wrote. “Such a terrorist act would have catastrophic effects for the whole world.”

Although any terrorist attack has the capability to have demolishing effects on our country, an attack on a U.S.-based nuclear energy plant would have the power to single-handedly end our world as we know it.

The most obvious issue with the use of nuclear energy is that the waste nuclear energy produces can be used to make nuclear weapons and increase nuclear proliferation.

Essentially, any country or individual who has the capability to enrich uranium has the capability to create deadly weaponry. The risk of these weapons—or the capability for them to be created—falling into the wrong hands is too high. It would be foolish of the United States to even entertain the idea of heavily relying on nuclear energy sources because it would only be detrimental to ourselves.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there are 104 nuclear energy plants scattered throughout the United States. If we were to increase our amount of nuclear energy plants, we would increase our risk of disaster—similar to what is  now occurring in Japan.

It is crucial for the United States to use the crisis in Japan as a learning tool and apply it to our own country so that we can avoid being stuck in the same deadly, dangerous situation at the hands of our own carelessness.
We need to search for more sustainable energy sources immediately so that we can stop dependence on nuclear energy to benefit not only our country, but the rest of the world.

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