Question Of Nuclear Energy

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 We live in an age in which information can be obtained in a matter of seconds. News outlets seem to get their story as it’s happening, and the world is a little smaller because of it. However, with the advantage of having information at our fingertips comes disadvantages. It appears anyone with access to the internet is an automatic expert in the subject they wish to talk about, but that doesn’t come without biased opinions and incomplete information being thrown into the mix.

 With just anyone having the capability of publishing information online, basic things such as citations and quotes get left out; and because of society’s sheep mentality, most of the public trusts what they read without question, without truly understanding. When the public refuses to ask questions and question their own knowledge, polarization can occur; creating a battle between emotion and fact. This is especially true for scientific subjects such as Nuclear Energy. On the quest to find general articles for this subject, I came at a crossroads between factual, unbiased journals and completely biased and emotional pleas to end the use of Nuclear Energy.

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According to the highly emotional and biased short article by GreenPeace, Nuclear energy has no place in a safe, clean, sustainable future. The article states that this anti-nuclear movement has been going on since 1971 and offers a wide array of articles based on other earth damaging processes such as the use of oil, as well as ways to participate in their movement towards eliminating all forms of nuclear energy use.

Another point that was brought up was that Nuclear waste is still a long way from being safely disposable; Radioactive waste leaks into the surrounding environment, making it hazardous and inhabitable. The author also brings up that with all these risks, there is a threat of nuclear weapons that could affect our national security as well as the safety of the entire world.

The article brings up the obvious Fukushima and Chernobyl, which states that they released enormous amounts of radiation into the surrounding communities, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate. Many of them may never come back. If the industry’s current track record is any indication, we can expect a major meltdown about once per decade.  The last sentence of this quote was highlighted and when clicked on, links you to another article completely dedicated to the Fukushima disasters. Which includes facts, data and a wide array of citations, many of the facts include real threats such as food shortages, emergency evacuations, radiation poisoning and decontaminations.

 This sub article also uncovers what seems to be conspiracies against the Japanese electric company, TEPCO (Tohoku Electric Power Co), which has multiple accusations of falsifying information inspection records, concealing knowledge of future disasters if a tsunami were to hit and creating a false sense of security when it came to nuclear safety; which in turn put workers and the public at risk. The rest of the article goes on to talk about not having an effective way of safely eliminating nuclear waste as well as the impact is having on our environment and how un-cost effective it really is. The theme of this article is very one sided and passionate about implementing clean energy, but from this article, it offers no real solution other than hopes and dreams.

While the outside link to the article about Fukushima offered more tangible evidence for the dangers of nuclear energy, the author of the original article that is being presented today, did not give any solutions for alternative sources of energy other than a giant Take Action at the end of the article.

Other than that, the article doesn’t seem to offer too much data or citations, it’s more of compelling rhetorical questions that offer no real solution to the problem being presented.   This seems to be the problem with most articles on controversial subjects, which is disappointing because this is an issue that affects all of us as well as our planet. These articles are also easy to access, even for the most technologically impaired.

I feel as though this article is of lower quality, as there is very little evidence provided and it seems to just go on tangents that spew facts without providing any form of tangible evidence other than passionate statements. And while there is nothing wrong with this, this type of writing is becoming the most popular way people are getting their information and it provides a very surface level of understanding towards a subject. This article also doesn’t seem to provide a name of the author that wrote it, because of this, I am led to believe that this was done by someone who doesn’t really know an expansive amount about the subject, or it was a collaborative effort. Either way, the lack of citations and authors is off putting, and I would not consider this as a trustworthy source.

On the other end of the spectrum, an article written by Karl Grandin, Peter Jagers and Sven Kullander goes through the history, statistics and future of Nuclear Energy.

The article starts off with a basic abstract that goes through the benefits as well as examples of apprehension from the public when it comes to the use of Nuclear Energy. As you go through the article, the authors discuss the priorities of Nuclear Energy according to the Energy Committee which includes Safety, Nuclear Waste, Non-Proliferation, Fuel Availability, Life-Cycle Analysis and Economic competiveness. It is mentioned several times in this article, the importance of constant studies and research to be done; safety seems to be the main concern and is almost promised to be integrated into future designs for the reactors. And the fate of nuclear energy lies in research of our current 2nd generation of generators to create the 3rd and 4th generations of reactors.

However, according to the article, the fission seems to be the future of energy, as it has no long lasting radioactive waste like it’s counterpart. Fusion is thought to be the energy source of the cosmos and is sustainable and environmentally friendly, as fusion is material efficient.

 Not all is so promising though, with the good outlook on less waste, comes more studies to be conducted to ensure all issues are solved. To test this, a demonstration reactor called DEMO will be implemented around the year 2030. This reactor will test the technological aspects as well as the economy of the design, as the current model for energy is not cost effective

The theme of the paper is mostly research with data collected from a few reactors, but it seems as the rest of the data is hypothetical. The authors of this article also seem to be cautiously optimistic about Nuclear Energy and its future in fusion. This standpoint somewhat puts it in a positive light, but beyond hypothetical situations, there is no real tests of data to be collected.  

To be honest, this article has a lot of information in it that required additional research to be able to understand a little bit more. However, from my understanding, the that is somewhat misleading, as it says, nuclear energy. My search for peer-reviewed articles was already sparse, finding an article that is mostly broad and general is next to impossible. On the subject on trustworthiness and quality of this article, I feel it is unfair to judge it harshly, as it did not meet my criteria of being broad about nuclear energy in the first place.

However, there aren’t too many citations and references given in the article; and most of the citations are credited to one source of information. Which could mean that not too much research was put into this. It is misleading to believe that anything published or peer reviewed is trustworthy. A topic as important as nuclear energy should be thoroughly researched, looked at from both sides and with all this information, an individual should be able to question their own beliefs and form a strong rhetoric on the subject. When something is looked at too closely and not objectively, emotions get in the way of facts. The search for articles was proof of this. Finding an article that gave true facts was hard and quite frankly, sometimes presented in an unappealing manner, which might deter the average person.  Overall, I would not trust either of these sources alone. Additional reading would need to be done on my end to properly understand and form an understanding on the subject.

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