Nuclear power should be used despite setbacks

Gabrielle Okun ('13)/Eastside staff

At Centraco Nuclear site in Paris; located near the Mediterranean Sea, there was a nuclear waste explosion.  Though, “the accident was under control in an hour” said agency; the explosion killed one person, severely burnt another and hurt three other workers.  The agency said that “the explosion happened in an oven to melt radioactive metallic waste with little radioactivity, with no leaks outside of the site.”  The injured nor the outside building were not contaminated with radiation either.  Another major nuclear explosion happened at Fukishima power plant earlier this year.

French environmentalists are promoting an end towards the country’s nuclear program.  However, France is the world’s most pro-nuclear country, proven by the 58 nuclear reactors.  France largely exports nuclear power; treating nuclear waste from around the world.  The prominence of this pro nuclear policy, contrasts the new measures enforced by Germany; shutting down eight of their older reactors and voting to shut down the nine remaining nuclear plants by 2022.  This was prompted by the disaster at the Fukushima power plant.  These new measures didn’t influence President Nicolas Sarkozy pro-nuclear policy; insisting that France will stick to their plan of investing euro1 billion ($1.37 billion) in future nuclear reactors.

However, whether or not to have nuclear power plants is not as simple as countries strive for.   Though countries are shutting down these plants as the growing hysteria of nuclear proliferation increases, one must also recognize the positive aspects plants have currently.  This being a positive alternative source for no greenhouse gas emissions; making the US and other countries less reliant on the Middle East for oil.  Nuclear power plants generate a huge amount of energy in proportion to a small amount of fuel.  Still, the earth has a huge amount of waste amassing and one cannot abruptly stop a plant, and planting windmills; for wind power which would be costly and take up much space for the same amount of power as a plant.  Then there is the possibility of building more dams for hydropower, which would also be damaging to the environment; changing the ecosystem for animals habiting in the lake.  An example is Glenn canyon; a beautiful natural canyon sunken in a dammed area of the Colorado River.  When questioning what is a better solution a windmill, dam or smokestack, environmental lawyer, John D. Echeverria says, “Any kind of energy development is going to have environmental impacts that are going to concern somebody- or the aesthetics of this environmental alternative. “Windmills are large and hideous” said environmentalist Vincent Collins.  Could the problem concerning the best option for environmental sustainability be achieved by comparing the aesthetics of each environmental alternative?

Environmentalists will always seek be perfection, yet, when is there ever a perfect solution for an unnatural problem.  Idealists strive for this perfect society, but this can’t be attained, new events always cause people to rethink old solutions.  Just as each part of the earth is beneficial for different causes, same is attributed to renewable energy.  In our modernizing world, one cannot ignore the lasting effects nuclear power has on our globalizing society by creating a sustainable world for the future.