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Nuclear Power: Risk perceptions and Reality - Essay Example

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Nuclear Power: Risk perceptions and Reality

Though, as with any topic the level of information and insight the average person has on these often differs from that of the experts and can consequently lead to a difference in opinions. The concerns about these issues mainly focus on the adverse or negative effects of them and what should be done to either completely curtail or control the factors which lead to them. The public risk perception and assessment of the issues visibly colors these concerns- sometimes distorting the actual facts which are present and relying on the phenomena of self-serving bias to firmly entrench the arguments. One such issue which always comes up when rationally discussing the perceived risk versus the actual risk factors is that of Nuclear Energy. Once touted as the ultimate solution to mankind’s energy crisis, today the use of nuclear energy is viewed with extreme caution and mistrust. Ongoing studies and certain disasters with nuclear energy facilities indicated to the population that nuclear energy was not without its risks and it would be prudent to do further research in the safety and viability of using nuclear reactions to provide energy to our cities before world-wide implementation of the process. Nuclear Energy was introduced as a cleaner and cheaper alternative to fossil fuels. Unfortunately the facts about the process are not so clear-cut positive, and many of the positive aspects are lost in communication to the mass public. Nuclear energy just sounds too related to dangerous radiation poisoning and the devastating effects of nuclear weapons for the average person to be completely comfortable with it. Even with an increase in safety regulations and the concerns about climate change connected to increasing usage of fossil fuels, mass opinion is decidedly negative towards nuclear energy. This opinion then influences government policies and structure leading to real world consequences. What has to be decided is that whether this opinion is based on facts or does it stem from emotions and misconceived conceptions which could cause harm to the society in the long term. Nuclear Power- The Facts: The use of nuclear reactions for electricity generation began soon after the discovery of radioactive elements and their power emission. It provided a viable method for countries to become self reliant on energy generation and people were enthusiastic about the potential of nuclear power plants. The immediate concerns about the adverse effects of radiation were discovered soon afterwards and the scientists strived to come up with relatively safer processes for harnessing nuclear energy while controlling the poisonous emissions. The development was not a straight forward process, lots of experimental mistake were made and several later resulted in large scale disasters. Then in the WWII the focus shifted from the development of beneficial energy to the development of more effective weapons using the nuclear process. The world got to witness exactly how powerful the radioactive elements could be as well as the devastation they could cause when used with the wrong intent. The after effects of the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki would go on to make future generations extremely anti-nuclear power and with very good reason. Afterwards any further research in developing nuclear energy plants was done so under strict governmental control and classification. The pros and ...Show more


Nuclear Power: Risk perceptions and Reality Introduction: There are certain issues pertaining to the modern society and the way of life which rise up heated debates on both sides of the argument…
Author : giles97
Nuclear Power: Risk perceptions and Reality essay example
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