My Senior Gift Pictorally: Brochures and Flyers

Nuclear Power Plant

During the Fall 2001 semester, I came across a post card in Pasqua, the Nuclear Engineering building that said that nuclear power was safe for the environment or helped the environment (I don't remember which one). To illustrate this claim, they had a drawing of a tree and some grass, and possibly the sun was shining too, I don't remember. So being who I am, I decided to investigate this claim and see if there was any truth to what they were saying. I decided to see what the "horse's mouth" had to say. I performed a search on "how is nuclear power safe," "nuclear power safety," and "nuclear power plants" and then looked at about 30-40 different Web sites to try and get as broad a perspective as I could.

I thought it would be easier said than done, however, it took me a long time to find the information that I was searching for. Each of the Web sites made me go through a lot to find out something that I felt should have been displayed prominently so that there was not a need to do a lot of searching on on how it's safe and/or helps the environment. I saw some interesting things in my search, especially on the topic of helping the environment or being safe. On one particular Web site, the production of nuclear power was compared to power derived from coal. The Web site claimed that nuclear power was safe for the environment because it (nuclear power) does not produce or emit any poisonous gases, but the conversion of coal to energy produces harmful gases. Their whole argument for nuclear power production rested on one comparison only: coal. I know that from the few science classes (and labs) that I have had that their claim can't hold water since they used only one alternative and didn't analyze further the effects of using nuclear power. In reality their conclusion was/is faulty. I was disappointed to only see the comparison with coal and not see any comparisons to wind, solar, hydroelectric, methane gas, etc.

On a couple of the Web sites, I was surprised to see "it," I had read about "it," but I never thought that they would mention "it" so the public could be made aware of "it." The it refers to the dangers associated with the production of nuclear power. On those Web sites, I read about some of the newest technology that had been been developed by nuclear power plants. The technology was created to try and eliminate the the human interaction that is typically involved in a nuclear power plant: checking, testing, maintaining, repairing, etc. the nuclear power reactor. Their (the plants) hope was that by limiting the human interaction it would make the work performed by their employees safer, but if "nuclear power" is so safe then there is no need for the creation and implementation of technology to limit the human interaction in a nuclear power plant, right?

Sign: Danger 
Radiation Caltech Radiation Safety Training and Reference Manual

Through the Web sites, I was also informed of the new safeguards that have been put in place to keep accidents like Chernobyl from happening again. I then began to think to myself, "DAMN, well how can they say that nuclear power is 'safe' if they need to have so many safe guards in place to keep the human interactions down to a minimum?!"

Some of the sites talked about how the used reactors were disposed of so that they (the reactors) would not contaminate the environment or ecosystem, but that didn't make sense to me since the sites and the post card made the claim that nuclear power was safe and/or helped the environment. If nuclear power (and reactors) are so "safe," then humans should be able to go to a reactor and play with it and not have any adverse effects occur, right? The same should be true for the disposal of used reactors; the disposal should be able to occur anywhere because the government and producers of nuclear power continually make claims about how "safe" nuclear energy is for the environment.

Maybe it's just me, but the reasons that they (the government + corporations = "corporament") give for needing to use and increase the use of nuclear power is very limited. It is limited because they compare nuclear power mainly to coal and other fossil fuels. I had hoped to read an in-depth discussion on research that had been conducted comparing nuclear power to all of the available alternatives for producing energy. What, you didn't know that there we had more than two choices? I wonder why that is.

Now, you have to make a decision, a smart one at that, will you go on believing everything that you hear from the "corporament" or will you begin to check their claims to insure that what comes out of the "horse's mouth" is true?

There are 103 nuclear facilities within the United States and there are probably more than 103 institutions and organizations that do research on nuclear electricity (power) and weapons of mass destruction that involve uranium and/or plutonium, including the University of Tennessee.

"Knowing is half the battle!" - G.I. Joe (a cartoon)

Below, is a list of the corporations that either research or produce nuclear power. The list was gathered from a bulletin board in Pasqua:

  1. University of Tennessee
  2. US Department of Energy
  3. US Department of Defense
  4. Harvard University
  5. Y-12
  6. Argonne National Laboratory - West
  7. Westinghouse Safety Management Solutions
  8. Salem Units I & II (PWR Plants)
  9. Hope Creek (BWR Plant)
  10. GE Power Systems
  11. National Research Council

Last Modified: 30 October 2007 EST