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John Kropinski | Section 1

Melting Down Nuclear Fears

This is a paper I downloaded off the internet for the purpose of downloading an eBook.
I’m writing this so that it doesn’t detect it as the exact same file. Cheers.
Not all lessons are learned as easily as others. Everybody knows this from an early age.
Most children learn that it is not okay to curse through their parents simply telling them that
whatever word they said is, in fact, not okay to say. Other lessons, such as figuring out that
stealing or fighting is wrong, often are learned through receiving spankings or groundings. Such
lessons are taught to children in an attempt to ensure that they do more good than harm in
society throughout their lives. They are taught to them to ensure that they don’t continue to do
whatever they did, as it could lead them down the wrong path. That applies to nearly everything
children are punished for. It is important to note, however, that simply because a child is given a
stern talking to, or grounded, or even spanked, does not mean that they were already headed
towards a bad path in life. It doesn’t mean they are a menace to society, and it certainly does
not imply that they have, or ever will, contribute more harm than good to the world. Analogously,
the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima taught the world lessons about the
importance of safety procedures and having a functional infrastructure when working with
nuclear technologies, among many other lessons. In this analogy, nuclear technologies are the
child, and the two disasters are a couple of spankings the child needed to receive in order to
learn his lessons. Would you suddenly ignore all the good a child has done in his life, and give
up hope on all the great things he could do in his future, simply based on some mistakes he
made that got him spanked? Your answer should be no. Similarly, two tragic accidents shouldn’t
be able to ruin the reputation of nuclear technology. Nuclear technology has, and will almost
certainly continue, to do more good than harm in the world.
It is important, first, that what happened at each site is clear. First, the Chernobyl nuclear
disaster of 1986. The nuclear plant at Chernobyl lay approximately 120 km north of Kiev,
Ukraine, and 20 km south of Ukraine’s border with Belarus (Chernobyl Accident 1986). On April

John Kropinski | Section 1 25th. “to determine how long turbines would spin and supply power to the main circulating pumps following a loss of main electrical power supply.0 struck Japan (National Diet of Japan). and 4 of the Fukushima plant. A technological fix is defined by Thomas P. In the following month. an earthquake of magnitude 9. quantifiable simplification.2. to reduce the radioactive emissions. Water was pumped into the reactor core. The earthquake damaged the connections between the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and the Shinfukushima Transformer Substations. Due to the tsunami (which came as a result of the earthquake). since eventually.” (Chernobyl Accident 1986). something will probably have to be done about the nuclear waste inside of the concrete structure. The tsunami severely damaged buildings. The reactor exploded. causing mass power outages. had TEPCO (the company which ran the nuclear plant) had there been adequate . facilities were damaged which caused power to be lost to units 1. March 11. No adverse health effects on humans or animals can be attributed to the nuclear fallout with any degree of certainty. Unit 3 later lost all power. This is a valid point. killing two workers. It was then covered in concrete to reduce the radioactive emissions even further. A routine shutdown was scheduled for April 26th. Hughes when explaining James Scott’s ideology that a technological fix occurs when scientists use technology to reduce a complex. so the operator turned off the automatic shutdown feature. scattered debris everywhere. When the reactor operator was finally in place to shut it down. 28 more people died due to radiation poisoning. the reactor was already far too unstable to control. something went horribly wrong at the start of the test. as well as sand dumped over it by helicopter. Another design flaw of the reactor was that if only a few parts of the reactor were damaged. the day the test was to be performed. multivariable problem in nature “to an abstract.” (Hughes 166) with the result that more problems occur that require technological fixes. 2011. It was later found that the accident was extremely preventable. The method used to contain the nuclear waste at Chernobyl could be called a technological fix. and unit 5 lost AC power. Due to an obscure (at the time) design flaw in the reactor. The Fukushima disaster was quite different. and made dealing with the damaged nuclear facilities extremely difficult. the whole thing could be destroyed. a test was being prepared.

and no child is held to those standards. the loss of life involved in these lessons are what push many people to take their stances on the dangers of nuclear power. being a technological enthusiast.is that the direct causes of the accidents have never been repeated. and all nuclear reactors are held to much higher safety standards. I think that due to the circumstances. I don’t think my view is unreasonable. No deaths related to this incident officially happened due to radiation exposure. As awful as that disaster was. none of the advancements that have been made in the last century would have been possible. Chernobyl and Fukushima are so commonly cited as examples of reasons nuclear technology is a negative thing. Yes. and “measures against a severe accident” that met international standards. though. France. Admittedly. but so much was learned from them that it is almost certain that the same mistakes will never be made again. 1. mistakes were made in the past. Faulty reactor designs have never caused a major nuclear accident since Chernobyl.John Kropinski | Section 1 tsunami countermeasures. Going back to the child being punished analogy . or as an excuse for people to be scared of nuclear power.without coal.060 people died in a mine explosion in Courrieres. it is nonsense to look at it that way.possibly the most important of all . but some are of much more importance than others. A key similarity between the two disasters . I believe that the relatively small loss of life involved in the disasters was necessary to progress in the field of nuclear power. Nuclear technology shouldn’t be held to those standards either. nuclear disasters (which have a total death toll several orders of magnitude lower than coal-related disasters) are a necessary risk to push the . I am biased in this regard. In 1906. Likewise. The two disasters have many similarities and differences. and said standards are enforced.have you ever heard of a child who never did the same bad thing twice? A child who has never thrown two tantrums? A child who has never cursed twice? A child who has never gotten into two fights? Such a child doesn’t exist. Completely ignoring all of the great things that nuclear power does for the world. since Fukushima. look solely at these two accidents for now. mine explosions were a necessary risk for the world to progress to where it is today . workers dying in the mines was not at all uncommon. In the early days of coal mining.

Now that they have happened.the team that causes the next big nuclear disaster and PR nightmare.000 people died in the aftermath of the quake and tsunami (BBC News).the cause of the reactor damage in the first place. While not obvious.000 people were left homeless. said. could have been easily prevented.whatever that may be. over 500. the disaster would have clearly been avoided. It is more than likely that from now on. Another similarity between the two nuclear disasters is their preventability. When that time comes. safety standards will be met. at the very least to avoid the public outrage that was aimed at TEPCO following the Fukushima accident. Also. didn’t have to happen at all. or at the very least partially avoided. BBC News reported that immediately following the tsunami. like two Chernobyls. Exaggerations in magazine articles and newspapers made TEPCO seem like public enemy #1. to some degree. protocols will be followed. While it is likely that the Fukushima disaster would have still happened (to a lesser degree). describing the Fukushima accident. if they wouldn’t have cut corners implementing safety procedures and complying with international standards. “Worst nuclear accident in history. The Fukushima nuclear disaster could have potentially been completely avoided. Energy News Magazine. Both disasters. The National Diet of Japan reported that over 150. the reactor meltdowns did virtually nothing compared to the earthquake and tsunami itself . I believe that this shows great promise for the future of nuclear power. No one working at a nuclear power plant will want to be a part of that team . and executives of power companies won’t be as incompetent as TEPCO.000 people were relocated as a result of the nuclear fallout. under the right administration. nobody will disagree that nuclear power was and is a good thing. This is a fate that no other power company would want to face.John Kropinski | Section 1 world into its next era . One key difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima is that Fukushima probably couldn’t have been completely avoided.allowing the reactor to automatically shut down before it got too unstable.” (ENE Magazine). . they weigh on everybody’s mind. and over 10. The Chernobyl disaster could have been avoided if the reactor operator had used the controls in the most effective way . if the reactor design simply wasn’t faulty. The disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima.

better place. Godzilla made a giant killer reptile seem almost like a realistic consequence of nuclear bomb testing(Godzilla). They made radiation seem like it could be the end of the world for people in Japan. or any other source of power. The media reporting on the Fukushima disaster took a small part of the problem (the problem being the 9. while the real killer was a simple natural disaster. Godzilla made unrealistic parallels to real life seem realistic through its thought-provoking nature and the general lack of knowledge about nuclear science in the general public. It is simply not fair to judge the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima as harshly as so many do. the only type of meltdown that is likely to happen in our future. News and Magazine articles such as the Energy News Magazine article fed off of the same type of fear that the movie Godzilla did to its viewers in theaters. which produces about 3 times as much of the world’s electricity as nuclear plants. and fed off of the public’s lack of knowledge about radiation. and there hasn’t been even 0. 10% of the world’s electricity production.9 percent of our electricity comes from nuclear power plants (Nuclear Energy Institute). and will continue to make the world a cleaner. . as we would have nearly unlimited power. natural gas.10.John Kropinski | Section 1 Despite this. The consequences of the mistakes that were made were very minimal compared to comparable situations in industries relating to coal. clearly doing more good than harm.1% as many deaths from nuclear disasters as those from coal. Nuclear technologies also have potential to bring the human race into an era of unimaginable progress if fusion reactors are made more efficient. Nuclear power provides unprecedentedly clean energy in very large proportions . while being disasters. The next step in progress for nuclear energy is the melt down the nuclear fear. the reactor meltdowns.0 earthquake). in the end. even though it has had almost no effect on anything in comparison to the earthquake itself. have helped put those in charge of nuclear plants on a good path. Nuclear power has lowered carbon emissions drastically in the last few decades. the nuclear fallout is what people to this day are afraid of. Chernobyl and Fukushima. oil.

John Kropinski | Section 1 .

" BBC News. World Nuclear Association. Print. like Two Chernobyls. 2015. "World Statistics. 07 Nov. 2015. A&E Television Networks." History. 07 Nov. 2011. Web. Web. 2015. Perf. Takashi Shimura.com. 07 Nov. Web.Nuclear Energy Institute.'" ENENews. 07 Nov. .BBC News." Chernobyl. Web.d. "Japan Earthquake: Meltdown Alert at Fukushima Reactor .” 2012. Thomas Parke. National Diet of Japan. "Magazine: ‘Fukushima Catastrophe Changed the World’. Web. Toho. 2015. n. Human-built World: How to Think about Technology and Culture. Godzilla. Dir. July 2015. Nuclear Energy Institute.d.060 in France. Chicago: U of Chicago. 1954. 14 Mar. ENENews. "Mine Explosion Kills 1. Ishirô Honda." . 2015.John Kropinski | Section 1 Works Cited "Chernobyl Accident 1986. 09 Nov. 13 Feb. 2015. Web. BBC News. 2004. 07 Nov. Hughes. 2015. DVD. Worst Nuclear Accident in History. n. “The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.