Inside the Danger Zone

Newsweek, April 11 2011

On 11th of March, the infamous tsunami and earthquake struck Japan, and caused huge damage to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The damage has been extremely widespread, and the situation is as bad as the Chernobyl incident. Japan has set an exclusion zone 20 kilometres from the power plant, and do not allow anyone to enter. It has been measured that the area within this 20 km has radiation 4 times the level that is considered safe for human beings. Although no one has been killed by the radiation, the seas and the ground have been poisoned. This has led to worries of the people that their dietary staples- fish, produce and drinking water will be unsafe for consumption.

Many countries are now venturing into the area of using nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels, as the amount of energy produced is huge, and the nuclear power plant can operate 24 hours a day. Unlike fossil fuels, most of the waste can be recycled, and the byproducts do not harm the environment. However, I think that using nuclear power should be discouraged. This is because, although the accidents are rare, the amount of damage caused by one incident is so huge that it is not safe to even risk it once. For example, in the case of Japan, the land and water in the surrounding area has been polluted, and will affect the produce and the fish caught, endangering the lives of the citizens who eat these poisonous foods. Although one might continue to argue that it would be okay to set up a nuclear power plant in countries that are less prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, it is still unsafe even with these security measures. Japan’s government made sure that the nuclear power plant was built in a “non-earthquake prone place, yet the earthquake still struck the power plant.

In addition, the waste disposal methods are dangerous. When the waste is disposed, it is possible for the radiation to leak out, polluting the ground and waters again, thus affecting the lives of the people. The radiation is not only widespread, but also long-lasting. If any waste leaks, then the amount of damage done will not only be high, but will also last for many years, affecting the people and the country in the long term.

Thus, I think that countries should try not to invest in nuclear power, and instead focus on using other alternative sources, such as solar, geothermal and hydroelectric power.

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.