While my opponent¶s value is certainly one way to interpret the resolution, my partner and I believe that the Value
of Human Rights is a more important value, and a better way to frame this debate. To understand how Human Rights can be measured within this round, we will use the Criterion of Equality. We will define equality from Dictionary.com as ³correspondence in rank or ability´. Increasing nuclear power in the United States would not uphold this value. As we will show, increasing investment in nuclear technology will disproportionately hurt the poor and minorities. Our first scenario is that of increased prices. Joe Romm, an analyst at the Center for American Progress in 2008, points out a common misconception about the coast of nuclear power: that you can ignore capital cost when calculating the cost of energy. He states, New nuclear power now costs more than double what the MIT report assumed in its base case, « Compare this to nuclear plants, which are probably the most capital-intensive form of energy there is; also, they run on expensive uranium and must be closely monitored minute by minute for safety reasons. Moore is comparing old nuclear plants that have already been paid off with new coal, gas, wind, and solar plants. Why? Because the price of new nuclear power has risen faster than any other form of power. Comparing new nuclear plants would be no contest²they are easily the most expensive kind of electricity plant to build today. These increased costs are difficult for all Americans at this time and should be considered a disadvantage under any value. However this is particularly problematic because of its disproportional affect on the poor. While the wealthy and middle classes can cut back on unnecessary spending because of increased energy costs, the poor will have no way to heat their homes and keep their lights on. To simply say that they can¶t keep their families warm because they can¶t afford the new energy source doesn¶t make sense. The second serious issue is the US government¶s current policy of dumping radioactive waste in the area of Yucca Mountain, a sacred Indian burial ground. The Nuclear Information and Research Service in 2009 states that, According to the 2000 U.S. Census (the very time period when the U.S. nuclear establishment intensified and accelerated its targeting of Native American communities with high-level radioactive waste dumps, as shown below), over 31% of Native Americans living on reservations had incomes below the federal poverty line.3 After centuries of oppression and domination, stripped of their lands, resources, and traditional governments, these communities lack political power, and desperately need economic development. The ³tribal sovereignty´ of Native Americans, which makes their lands exempt from state law and many environmental regulations, only increases their attractiveness as targets for facilities unwanted elsewhere. Native Americans have already disproportionately borne the brunt of the impacts from the nuclear fuel chain over the past 60 years.4 In the case of radioactive waste storage and disposal, the nuclear power establishment in industry and government is simply taking advantage of these vulnerable communities, attempting to hide from
critics nonetheless remain vociferous. Scientific opinion
. and emit very low greenhouse gas byproducts. people die en masse. good/bad dichotomy. But what is most striking in this controversy is the ³missing nuclear debate. writes that:
Tensions within Chancellor Angela Merkel¶s administration over Germany¶s energy policy cut to the heart of a contentious. known as the closed fuel cycle. the dangers of transporting nuclear fuel and fears of proliferation ² along with the vexing problem of how to deal with the long-lived nuclear waste ² as reasons why it should be curtailed. When nuclear materials aren¶t properly handled. which are then re-entered into the fuel cycle. Behnam Taebi. you must consider the fact that this decision will impact more than just the immediate future. one key element in harnessing energy from the atom is being neglected: the link between the different methods of producing nuclear power and the nature ² and longevity ² of the radioactive waste that each method leaves behind.
While an increasing number of states are being swayed by the fact that nuclear power can enhance domestic energy security. Nuclear power is dirty in the worst way imaginable because radioactive release is the worst kind of pollution imaginable. For the last several decades. or nuclear fuel cycles. Rather than reducing nuclear power to a simple yes/no. worldwide debate over the future of nuclear power. Nuclear power leaves a long term burden that affects both the environment and our children for many generations to come. ³There have been many more releases of radioactive materials besides Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. though those two are the most infamous. US nuclear policy has been to abuse the status of Native American reservations and disrespect for their culture. In the so-called open fuel cycle
(common in the United States. Sweden and some other countries) spent fuel is generally disposed of as waste that will remain radioactive for 200.
Judge. One of the key differentiating features between the various production methods is the nature of waste that is produced after irradiating fuel (uranium oxide) in a reactor. everything below the earth still belongs to the US government.environmental regulation and widespread public opposition behind the shield of tribal sovereignty.000 years.
But as politicians. In the alternative. we need to focus first on the advantages and disadvantages of each nuclear energy production method. Every time there is a release. benefits and costs ² have been raised to the forefront. In the closed fuel cycle. there is the important issue of safety and the effects of a nuclear accident.´ Little is said about the major distinctions between the various production methods.´ It continues.000 years. This in turn raises the issue of intergenerational justice: The technical choices we make today will determine the extent of the burden humanity will face in containing contaminated byproducts that can remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years. the lifetime of radioactive waste is reduced to about 10. all life forms are harmed. energy experts and the general public weigh the pros and cons. Proponents like to use averages when discussing nuclear safety issues. or European method. Those people continue to pay the ultimate price for radiation exposure. While Native Americans control the surface of the reservations. The result is hundreds of metric tons of radioactive waste being dumped near their homes and sacred areas. Third. Approached from the framework of intergenerational justice. Radioactive materials used for nuclear fuel are the most lethal substances in existence. Finally. Increasing the United States¶ investment in nuclear technology would only condone and exacerbate the serious rights violations occurring in the status quo. investment in nuclear energy is more than just a short-term economic decision. An NGO called Energy Consumer¶s Edge goes into further detail on their home page: ³Nuclear power always carries the risk of radioactive release. spent fuel is
reprocessed in order to extract the redeployable uranium and plutonium. Nuclear power creates a burden that many subsequent generations will be forced to bear. around places like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. an ethics professor at Delft University. They are unique in that they are the only toxic materials that can kill without contact. there is a strong case for arguing that the people living today should deal with the burdens of nuclear power because we will enjoy the lion¶s share of its benefits. Averages don¶t mean anything to people who live. including the burdens and benefits they pose now and in generations to come. They cite the continued risk of reactor accidents. The old controversies over nuclear reactors ² their dangers. and die. produce large amounts of energy.
it only becomes more likely as the number of plants increase.
. while the risk of accident is low. Even more important is that.´ The issue of the effects of a nuclear accident cannot be ignored. With all of the devastating implications of a disaster and the effects that it can have on the populace. the problems of nuclear power are too great to risk.worldwide now agrees that any exposure above normal background levels can be extremely dangerous. even lethal.