Benefits of Nuclear Power, by Christina Novila Soewono, Tokai University

The nuclear accident that occurred at Fukushima, Japan, has brought people's attention to the risks of nuclear power. While there had not been direct human cost in deaths because of the nuclear accident itself, people once again are faced with the question whether nuclear power benefit is worth the risks. It is natural to fear what you cannot see and many people do not find enough reassurance in being told that they are not at risk from the radiation that had been released.

With the rate of increasing demand of our current energy needs and the ineffectiveness of current methods, I will say that nuclear power is worth the risk. By agreeing that nuclear power is worth the risk, I am not saying that nuclear is completely safe nor that there are no alternatives, but I agree that nuclear is the better alternative and therefore worth it.

So far there have been no confi casualties of deaths directly attributed to the Fukushima nuclear accident. This showed us that despite the old age of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor, nuclear power plant safety has been greatly improved since the Chernobyl accident. There were 64 confi deaths from radiation and a prediction of 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of fallout from Chernobyl. Though it is hard to predict the number of cancer deaths caused by radiation exposure, since precautionary action had been taken to protect the public, I believe that the predicted number of cancer deaths is going to be a lot fewer than Chernobyl.

The Fukushima nuclear accident has induced fear and inconvenience to the public, especially those who lived near the Fukushima site. The feelings of insecurity, unsafeness, inconvenience, and other effects are diffi to measure. The interesting part is that so far I think that coal power is far more dangerous to human life and long-term health issues than nuclear power. A coal powered plant releases more radioactivity than a well maintained nuclear power plant. In addition to that, a coal powered plant releases more pollutants, especially gases which contribute to global warming. Since coal is likely to be more hazardous than nuclear we should fear coal more than nuclear. And yet, people seem to be more comfortable with coal power plants than nuclear power plants.

Due to its effectiveness in producing energy on a large scale and ensuring energy security, I think that nuclear power plants are economically worth the risk. Japan did not have enough natural resources, which was the reason why Japan developed nuclear as an energy source during the postwar period in the first place. The energy availability in Japan supported industries which then led Japan to be the first Asian developed country that succeeded in catching up with Western countries.

Nowadays people have started to develop renewable energy that not only can be used to produce electricity but also is environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, if renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are used as energy with current technology, they are not only unreliable, but also not useful in some geographic areas due to weather patterns. Since not many people are familiar with the use of renewable energy, the cost of generating electricity is relatively high. I do believe that in the future we can overcome this problem faced by renewable energy and fi have a clean energy source. Until then, however, it is good to use nuclear power which I think is more reliable and cost effective.

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