PROs and CONs of nuclear energy

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PROs and CONs of nuclear energy by Christian J. Krause Introduction After the catastrophes of Three Mile Island (near Harrisburg, USA) and Chernobyl, nuclear energy is a very controversial topic. Some people and organisations such as Bündnis 90 Die Grünen demand the immediate decommissioning of all nuclear power plants. Most people ask if that is really appropriate. Is it? Health As long as operated correctly, the German power plants are relatively safe. However, when discussing the cons of nuclear energy, people often state that one could die from cancer. Even under `normal` circumstances, it is said that people living close to a nuclear power plant suffer from cancer more often than other people. In fact, everyone is exposed to radiation almost all the time for example while we are sitting in class. About sixty per cent official numbers of the Federal Republic of Germany as published in `Umweltdaten Deutschland 1995`, Umweltbundesamt, Berlin, Statistisches Bundesamt, Wiesbaden of all rays harming us are of natural origin such as cosmic rays and radioactive isotopes. Only the remaining forty per cent of rays are composed of man-made risks. And medical applications such as X rays contribute to our exposure 150 times as much as nuclear power plants These power stations cause only 0,25 of our exposure to radioactivity. Meltdowns and the East But when operated incorrectly, an occurring nuclear meltdown would be disastrous. When talking about a possible meltdown in Germany, ...

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