Nuclear power is often developed from the fission of nuclear elements to generate heat (Howtopowertheworld, 2010, p. 1). Over the years, developed countries have been at the forefront in the development of this source of energy, with current world statistics estimating that, there are about 31 countries which generate nuclear power.
Though nuclear power generation is slowly gaining prominence in the world, especially since the world is seeking more sources of green energy, nuclear energy is a unique source of energy because it bears unique characteristics which distinguish it from other sources of energy. For instance, nuclear energy has been identified to be a dangerous source of energy, especially if an accident happens (Howtopowertheworld, 2010, p. 1). This is the reason why several countries are opposed to its use.
For instance, developed countries such as Australia and Austria are firmly opposed to the development of nuclear energy (Breeze, 2005). The year 2011 saw the worst nuclear disaster in recent time, with radiation fears ripe, at Japan’s Fukushima plant, when the country was hit by a tsunami and earthquake, which affected the nuclear plant. In light of these concerns, several countries are slowly reviewing their nuclear power generation strategies.
This study points out that, developed countries, which have been at the forefront in the generation of nuclear energy, should stop doing so, because the disadvantages of nuclear power generation greatly outweigh their advantages. This fact is supported by research studies suggesting that: nuclear energy has the potential of being used for terrorism; nuclear energy produces dangerous radioactive waste and nuclear energy is highly costly, and in case of a nuclear disaster, the consequences may be very severe.
Radioactivity is the major concern associated with nuclear power generation. In fact, in the recent Fukushima nuclear power generation disaster, residents were advised to vacate surrounding regions (around the nuclear power plant) to reduce the chances of being affected by radioactivity. The danger of radioactivity is severe because it may take tens of thousands of years to reduce radioactive rays to safe levels (Howtopowertheworld, 2010, p. 1).
This fact means that, if a nuclear disaster ever happens, generations of human lives may live with its consequences and this will obviously have an adverse impact on humanity. The effects on humanity can therefore not be underestimated because studies have shown that, nuclear power radioactivity may have severe effects on the human’s reproductive system, and it also has the potential of causing burns, diarrhea, vomiting and other severe health effects.
This is part of the problem associated with nuclear power generation because with radioactivity, it may be very difficult to detect radioactive waves, even after several years (Furry Elephant, 2011). Though radioactive waves produced from nuclear power generation may not be directly absorbed through the human skin, it is highly likely that, human beings may ingest certain radioactive nucleus, in items such as foods, which are contaminated with the substance.
The manner in which radioactivity affects people are numerous and this is why most countries banned the important of food from Japan when it experienced its nuclear disaster. When these radioactive elements are ingested into the human system, it becomes very difficult to control them, let alone get rid of them, because they can possibly affect the human DNA, due to their high ability to ionize.
This may therefore cause cancer, among other detrimental health effects, which also have the ability of causing death. Considering radioactivity has a high potential of affecting all aspects of life, it beats sense, tolerating activities which may possibly lead to the occurrence of such a disaster. If such a disaster strikes, humanity will possibly not be the same and from this understanding, it does not make sense for developed nations to expose humanity to such sort of fatal effects.
Potential Terrorist Applications
The immense power nuclear power generation has; makes it a prime tool of terrorism. Nuclear power generation can be used to create nuclear bombs, which are very lethal and can be used to wage terror on a given nation. For instance, there is enough evidence advanced by scientists to suggest that, nuclear power can be used to flatten an entire city, killing millions of people at a go (TMIA, 2011).
Recent times have seen the US claim that, several countries across the globe, such as Iran and Iraq are making nuclear bombs, which may have an effect on world peace. Whether these allegations are true or not is not the subject of this study, but the situation exposes how nuclear power can be used to cause a lot of unrest, and possibly destabilize world peace.
However, recent studies expose a more devastating threat to a country’s peace after it was affirmed that, an attack on a nuclear power plant by terrorists, is also another strategy to wage a nuclear war against a nation (TMIA, 2011). Obviously, the truth behind this assertion stems from the fact that, an attack on a nuclear power plant would amount to an emission of radioactive rays which would affect a nation’s population.
This terrorist strategy is easier than assembling a nuclear bomb or having to deliver a nuclear bomb to a terrorist target. Moreover, this kind of attack is very deadly and its effects on human lives are unimaginable. From this analysis therefore, we see that, if developed nations continue producing nuclear energy and building more nuclear plants, they increase their vulnerability as a target of terrorism, and obviously exposing their citizens to the adverse effects of nuclear power generation.
High Cost of Building Nuclear Facilities and the Small Possibility of Accidents
The cost of building new nuclear power plants to generate electricity, or provide alternative sources of energy is staggering and out of reach for many countries.
With a poorly performing world economy and with increased debt burdens for some major world economies such as America, it makes no sense for developed nations to continue developing nuclear power – channeling a lot of resources to such projects, while other sectors of the socioeconomic aspects of the economy such as health, education and such like factors remain underfunded.
In the US, it is estimated that, the cost of power, generated from nuclear plants is triple that of the normal rates paid for electricity made from other alternative sources of energy such as hydroelectricity (Yanak, 2009, p. 1). It is further estimated that, the cost of paying for nuclear energy is ten times the cost of efficiency derived from such an energy cost.
The high rates to be paid for nuclear energy obviously emanates from the high costs associated with nuclear power generation, and investors or governments need to pass this cost down to the consumers to recover such high costs. This kind of scenario only exposes citizens in developed nations to high costs of energy.
When compared to other alternative energy production methods, nuclear energy stands out as the most expensive energy source ever invented by mankind. The production of nuclear energy therefore not only stands as a matter of critical economic importance, but also a matter of ethical concern, considering a diversion of immense financial resources to energy production, amounts to a deprivation of other socioeconomic duties which governments in developed countries ought to provide.
Nuclear power generation in developed countries, though a good idea at face value, is marred with a lot of controversy regarding its safety and impact on human lives.
Though its immense financial costs can be shouldered by several governments in developed countries, it should be understood that, there needs to be a cost-benefit analysis to quantify the cost and possible benefits that come from nuclear power generation. With several more important duties that governments have to perform, it is not ethical to divert a lot of state resources to produce nuclear energy, at the expense of other state priorities.
Regardless of these concerns, nuclear energy has been turned to a political issue, with countries trading accusations and counter-accusations regarding the production of nuclear weapons, because it is known that, nuclear energy can be used to promote acts of terrorism, thereby destabilizing world peace.
The effect of a nuclear terror act is enormous and unimaginable. Radioactivity is also another reason why developed countries should stop producing nuclear energy since they expose their citizens to the risks of radioactivity if a nuclear accident happens.
Collectively, the elements identified in this study expose sever negative effects of nuclear power generation and from the entire analysis, it is impossible for any government to exist if such calamities ever happen to their citizens. To protect citizens from such adverse effects, it is important for developed countries to stop nuclear power generation.
Breeze, P. (2005). Power Generation Technologies. New York: Newnes.
Furry Elephant. (2011). Why Study Radioactivity? Retrieved 2 June, 2011, from:
Howtopowertheworld. (2010). Disadvantages of Nuclear Power. Retrieved 2 June, 2011, from: http://www.howtopowertheworld.com/disadvantages-of-nuclear-power.shtml
TMIA. (2011). Nuclear Terrorism. Retrieved 2 June, 2011, from:
Yanak, J. (2009). The Staggering Cost of New Nuclear Power. Retrieved 2 June, 2011, from: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/01/nuclear_power.html