Many nuclear disasters have happened in the past 35 years or so, and people still continue to support nuclear energy. In this blog, I will discuss 4 different nuclear disasters and how they still impact the environment to this day.
The first disaster happened on March 1979 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Three Mile Island happened due to a series of mechanical malfunctions and human errors. In this disaster, there were no real serious health effects, but this did lead to immediate shutdowns of several plants. There was radioactive gases that were released into the air and this lead the governor to evacuate pregnant women. The amount of radioactivity released was deemed not a health threat by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but many antinuclear activists and many local citizens disputed this.
The second disaster was discussed in class, happening on December 2, 1984 in Bhopal. This disaster lead to more than 600,000 people being exposed to a deadly gas cloud which cause people’s throats and eyes to burn, made people have nausea, and caused many deaths. Toxic material remains to this day and for those women who were exposed to the toxin have given birth to physically and mentally disabled children. Survivors have been trying to get the site and area cleaned up but there has been slow to little effort when Michigan-based Dow Chemical took over Union Carbide in 2001.
The third disaster is a very well known accident which happened in 1986. Chernobyl was the result of a flawed reactor design which was operated by an inadequate trained personnel. Two workers died on the night of the accident and 28 more people died within a few weeks as a result of radiation poisoning. Nobody off site suffered from the radiation effects. Large areas of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia were contaminated in varying degrees.
The final disaster was a more recent and well known. Fukushima accident happened on March 11, 2011. After a major earthquake, a 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, which caused the accident. There were no deaths due to radiation sickness, but over 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
83% of people who live near power plants favor the use of nuclear energy. But every plant makes massive amounts of radioactive waste. The accident of Chernobly accident cost over 350 billion dollars.