Geologic Journal 1

Geologic Journal 1 - Peter Rehder GEOL 101.002 Yellow...

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Peter Rehder GEOL 101.002 Yellow Journal Entry #_ Humans, Nukes and Risk Assessment: A Dangerous Mix Kluger J. 2011 March 22. Humans, Nukes and Risk Assessment: A Dangerous Mix. Abstract This article by Jeffrey Kluger addresses the safety of nuclear power in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Naturally, the difficulties faced by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan caused many people to worry about the safety of nuclear power. This article addresses some of these fears and what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the United States is doing about safety. According to Kluger, the NRC is “set to vote on a 90- day review of the health of America’s entire nuclear grid” (2011). This review will allow the NRC to determine whether any updates to plant safety need to be made, in light of the recent tsunami in Japan. Kluger also points out that it may not be a good idea to make sweeping regulatory changes in a time of emergency, but that it is a good time “to examine some of your bedrock assumptions” (2011). The article makes a point that it is necessary to be cautious about earthquake activity as it relates to nuclear safety, but also remember that the likelihood of some nuclear disaster is small. Relate This article highlights a few important current issues in geology today, such as plate tectonics, earthquakes, and energy resources. However, it focuses mainly on energy. As the world’s main sources of energy, fossil fuels, continue to dwindle, it is essential that alternative energy sources are developed to replace them. Since the 1950’s, nuclear power has been in the discussion as an efficient energy source that could potentially replace fossil fuels. However, many people, especially in the United States, have concerns about the safety of nuclear power. Nuclear power seems to be an excellent alternative to fossil fuels because of its high efficiency. According to Marshak, one gram of nuclear fuel produces as much energy as 2.7 barrels of oil (2008). That being said, nuclear power provides a promising amount of energy with a smaller amount of input than fossil fuels. Additionally, nuclear fuel does not give off pollutants or carbon dioxide when used, resulting in a cleaner environment. Currently, 20% of the electrical power in the United States comes from nuclear power plants around the country (Marshak 2008). However, a number of potential problems are associated with the use of nuclear power. Because unstable, radioactive materials are used to produce the nuclear energy, there is a risk of nuclear meltdown and the spread of radiation. With the tsunami in Japan causing problems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, these risks have become more real in the minds of many people. If radiation were to spread from a nuclear power plant, radiation sickness could kill countless numbers of people. As a result, the scare in Japan has revived many fears associated with nuclear power. Although nuclear power is an efficient alternative energy source to fossil fuels,
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Geologic Journal 1 - Peter Rehder GEOL 101.002 Yellow...

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