TOPIC BRIEFS

Addressing the effects of adopting Nuclear Power Plants as a source of electricity production causing disastrous radioactive waste

Addressing the issue o​f the increase in global temperatures on marine ecosystems and melting of polar ice.

 

Nuclear power plants are a type of thermal power station that uses the process of nuclear fission in order to generate. Nuclear power has been called a clean source of energy because the power plants do not release carbon dioxide. While this is true, it is deceiving. Nuclear power plants may not emit carbon dioxide during operation, but high amounts of carbon dioxide are emitted in activities related to building and running the plants. Nuclear power plants use uranium as fuel. The process of mining uranium releases high amounts of carbon dioxide into the environment. Carbon dioxide is also released into the environment when new nuclear power plants are built. Finally, the transport of radioactive waste also causes carbon dioxide emissions.

 

Nuclear power plants constantly emit low levels of radiation into the environment.  Consequently, scientific studies have shown an increased rate of cancer among people who live near nuclear power plants. Long-term exposure to low level radiation has been shown to damage DNA. The degree of damage low levels of radiation cause to wildlife, plants and the ozone layer is not fully understood. More research is being done to determine the magnitude of effects caused by low levels of radiation in the environment.

 

Radioactive waste is a huge concern. Waste from nuclear power plants can remain active for hundreds of thousands of years. Currently, much of the radioactive waste from nuclear power plants has been stored at the power plant. Due to space constraints, eventually the radioactive waste will need to be relocated.  Moreover, safety procedures are not being followed to ensure that nuclear power plants are safe. Even if all safety precautions are followed, it is no guarantee that a nuclear power plant accident will not occur. Therefore, as the energy demand is increasing worldwide, there is a growing urgent need to resolve this problem. 

    Global warming, the gradual heating of Earth's surface, oceans and atmosphere, is caused by human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels that pump carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  Since the industrial revolution, human actions have caused average global temperatures to rise by almost 1°C. Levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are higher than they have been at any point in human existence and are still increasing.  People and nature worldwide are already feeling the effects: water supplies are shrinking, extreme weather events increasing in frequency and intensity, forests burning, and coral reefs dying.

 

    As greater carbon dioxide concentrations released into the oceans, this results in increased ocean acidity. As ocean acidity increases, phytoplankton is reduced. This results in fewer ocean plants able to convert greenhouse gasses. Increased ocean acidity also threatens marine life, such as corals and shellfish, which may become extinct later this century from the chemical effects of carbon dioxide.

 

    One of the primary manifestations of climate change so far is melt. North America, Europe and Asia have all seen a trend toward less snow cover between 1960 and 2015.  Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. This includes mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering West Antarctica and Greenland, and Arctic sea ice. In Montana's Glacier National Park the number of glaciers has declined to fewer than 30 from more than 150 in 1910.  Much of this melting ice contributes to sea-level rise. 

Addressing the issue of industrial and household waste on the rise of global emissions 

    Virtually all residents, organizations, and other bodies around the world generate some type of waste. Many different types of waste are generated, including municipal solid waste, agricultural and animal waste, medical waste, radioactive waste, hazardous waste, and much more.  The amount of waste produced is influenced by economic activity, consumption, and population growth. Developed societies, such as the United States, generally produce large amounts of municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial wastes.  

 

    Generally, waste generation, in most cases, represents an inefficient use of materials. Tracking trends in the quantity, composition, and effects of these materials provide insight into the efficiency with which the nation uses materials and resources and provides a means to better understand the effects of wastes on human health and ecological condition.

 

    After the industrial revolution, technology, manufacturing, and science all began rapidly increasing, and continue to grow even today. Before the industrial revolution, industries remained small, and their primary pollutant was smoke. The industries had limited production, which meant pollution was minor. It was not until companies turned into huge plants and industries that the harmful effects of pollution became known.

 

    While there are many different types of pollution, industrial pollution refers explicitly to any contamination caused by industrial activities. Industrial pollution is a big issue because most pollution is caused by some industry, making it the most significant form of pollution on the planet.

The effects of industrial pollution are vast, causing water contamination, a release of toxins into the soil and the air, and it is the cause of some of the most significant environmental disasters of all time.