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  • Writer's pictureBen Song

Nuclear Power Plants

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Chernobyl was an accident where the nuclear reactor exploded due to malfunctions. The technicians at reactor four tried a poorly designed experiment shutting down the regular and safety system the nuclear power plant usually runs. This caused the core to go out of control and melt which was the cause of this explosion. This not only caused extreme radiation within a thirty-kilometer radius but also caused mutations of biological creatures living within that area from the extreme radiation. A mutation is an inheritable change in the genetic material of an individual. After the explosion, the energy of the radiation broke the DNA of some of the plants and animals living within the area. Since the damage was severe and the DNA could not be repaired, this caused anomalous mutations in Chernobyl such as facial malfunctions, extra appendages, abnormal coloring, or reduced sizes of animals. Oxidative stress and the lack of antioxidants also caused the development of nervous systems to change which include reduced brain size and impaired cognitive abilities. The animals' deformities in Chernobyl were so severe they ended up living for only a few hours. Animals weren’t the only things mutated because of this accident. Humans, too, were mutated and some people even died. Because the nuclear power plant was only 10 miles away from the village of Chernobyl, people also faced severe amounts of radiation. This caused heart defects such as genetic mutations, cancer, down syndrome, and more.

Nuclear power plants, however, have benefits and accidents like this that occur rarely. They provide the world with most of the electricity. In fact, a small amount of nuclear fuel can produce huge amounts of electricity. Nuclear power plants also have flexible output controls and are neat, clean, quiet, and very economical. This is why people use nuclear power plants. They take up less space than other power plants but still manage to produce the most electricity than any other type. They are also very quiet unlike the steam power plants (thermal power plants) that most people use to produce electricity. Also unlike steam power plants, they use uranium as fuel and not coal. Coal is said to last for only 200 years and because coal is a limited resource, steam power plants will not last long. Other fossil fuels such as petroleum and natural gas will only last for 40 to 60 years. In comparison, uranium is also a limited resource but it is said to last for five billion years. This is why people use nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power plants are huge in scale, power, benefits, and disadvantages. This could cause huge consequences such as the Chernobyl accident which happened due to the carelessness of both the technicians and the workers. So, when using nuclear power plants for their many benefits, people have to be careful using them because major accidents could cause harm to the environment and humans.

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