The most important safety issue with nuclear power is making sure that the radiation from nuclear power plants does not leak into the environment around it. This can be done through physical barriers, monitoring the plant, shielding workers with special clothing, and utilizing remote-controlled equipment in the plant’s core. It is also necessary to make sure the nuclear reaction powering the plant does not get out of hand and cause a meltdown. This is done by cooling the core of the nuclear power plant with water or sodium and having control rods ready within a few seconds to reduce the amount of neutrons being emitted by a nuclear reaction. Even in the case of a meltdown, plants are designed to only affect the area within the plant.
Economical and political debates aside, there is really no question that nuclear power is dangerous. Even if there is not a disaster, radioactive particles escape into the air. This is because some gases are not considered dangerous enough to worry about, and although studies have proven otherwise, the nuclear industry is not required to contain all of them. The second unavoidable problem is storing radioactive waste. Right now it is accumulating in temporary storage facilities because the federal government hasn’t found a place safe enough to keep it for hundreds of years.
These are problems that occur even if things go according to plan. If not… well there are several examples of that: Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.
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