Nuclear power greener/A critique of Risks of nuclear power

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

(Review Paper) Cited in Nuclear power greener/A critique of Risks of nuclear power

Points Made[edit]


Nuclear power technology produces radiation that is known as "radioactive". This type of radiation can cause serious effects if exposed in the wrong circumstances. Exposure to radioactive materials is likely to cause an increased adverse effect on human health now and in the future.

Although reactor accidents have a low probability of occurring, the outcomes are quite extensive in nature. There is serious potential risk for surrounding areas that inhabit life. It has been determined that high exposure to radiation can destroy parts of the body increasing the chances of death.

Radioactive waste is confined from the population for a very long period of time. Essentially this waste is converted to a rock-like form and placed deep within the earth. It is expected that a rock in this type of environment will live for one billion years. If the radioactive waste acts in the same way as a rock, this will result in one death from every 50 years of operations[1].


Everyday, human beings are exposed to 15,000 particles of natural radiation every second from natural sources. It is estimated that this type of radiation causes about 1% of all cancers. When humans come into contact with radioactive radiation, the exposure rate increases to about 0.2%, thus increasing cancer risk by 0.002% which essentially reduces life expectancy by one hour.

A mathematical calculation called "probabilistic risk analysis" (PRA), was conducted to forecast the probability of a reactor accident. These were the results: "A fuel melt-down might be expected once in 20,000 years of reactor operation. In 2 out of 3 melt-downs there would be no deaths, in 1 out of 5 there would be over 1000 deaths, and in 1 out of 100,000 there would be 50,000 deaths. The average for all meltdowns would be 400 deaths".

Based on the rationale of radioactive waste as stated above, it is determined that the risk of death is very low from the operation of one power plant (one death per 50 years of operation)[1].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Cohen