By Isabella Nilsen, politics student
With the ever more acute threat of climate change, it is tempting to call for technological ‘quick fixes’ which can allow us to continue living just as we are today. Of course tackling climate change will need technological solutions; however we must distinguish which ones are merely false ones, and that causing a greater damage to our environment.
Nuclear power is a false solution – it carries the threat of accidents with consequences difficult to foresee, and there is also not yet a clear plan for where to store the radioactive nuclear waste. Furthermore, the mining of the nuclear fuel causes both disease among the miners, and damage to the environment. With renewable alternatives available, which often are cheaper to install and might provide more jobs, investors should choose the real solutions and not invest into nuclear power.
In the process of generating electricity from nuclear power, radioactive decay is also created, which needs to be stored safely for a very long time. For example one bi-product, Technetium-99, has a half-life of over 200,000 years. In comparison, our species, the Homo Sapiens, evolved around 200,000 years ago. Thereby, nuclear energy causes not only risks for species living today – but also for those to come to existence. The storage of the radioactive waste is therefore one of the greatest difficulties associated with nuclear power. It has also led to controversy since understandably, few people want the dangerous waste to be stored close to their houses. This has led the UK’s Radioactive Waste Management having trouble to find a safe space where they can dispose the waste, and at the moment most of it is stored at ground level, in vaults at Sellafield in Cumbria.