Nuclear Energy and How it Works

Photograph by Emory Kristof
Lately I have been obsessed with Kurz Gesagt who is a YouTuber with his channel Kurz Gesagt – In a Nutshell. I recently watched his videos on Nuclear energy both explaining the pros and cons and overall how it works. This YouTuber gives you a great background of nuclear energy and breaks it down to have a greater understanding.

When visiting the website to this YouTube channel their was an interesting intro to this first video, “Nuclear Energy is a controversial subject. The pro- and anti-nuclear lobbies fight furiously, and it’s difficult to decide who is right. So we’re trying to clear up the issue – in this video we discuss how we got to where we are today, as the basis for discussion.”

 I like this YouTube channel because it gives you both sides of the story. He informs his viewers on both the cons but as well as the pros to using nuclear energy.

Nuclear Energy in my opinion is not the safest alternative or cheapest but it was great to learn of the beneficial factors that come into play when using this resource.

 The pros video focuses more on how nuclear energy is not as harmful as other sources of energy. The video is not saying this source of energy is a good thing but he focuses on how it’s better than the sources we use now; all is true. We do pump waste in the very air we breathe but I think when it comes to using something with a high risk of hazardous accidents we need to do more research on how to make the use if this energy as safe as possible. I believe that is what this YouTube user is trying to get across in each of these videos. Trying to educate us on both the pros and cons and how it is an awful energy source but not a complete lost cause.
In a National Geographic article they talked of how scientists worry that “storage facilities for radioactive was will leak, crack, or erode. Radioactive material could then contaminate the soil and groundwater near the facility. This could lead to serious health problems for the people and organisms in the area. All communities would have to be evacuated.” They then went on to talk of an incident in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986.

“A steam explosion at one of the power plants four nuclear reactors caused a fire, called a plume. This plume was highly radioactive, creating a cloud of radioactive particles that fell to the ground, called fallout. The fallout spread over the Chernobyl facility, as well as the surrounding area. The fallout drifted with the wind, and the particles entered the water cycle as rain. Radioactivity traced to Chernobyl fell as rain over Scotland and Ireland. Most of the radioactive fallout fell in Belarus. The environmental impact of the Chernobyl disaster was immediate.”

The pine forest dried up and died off; now known as the Red Forest due to the red color of the dead pines.

“Fish from the nearby Pripyat River had so much radioactivity that people could no longer eat them. Cattle and horses in the area died. More than 100,000 people were relocated after the disaster, but the number of human victims of Chernobyl is difficult to determine. The effects of radiation poisoning only appear after many years. Cancers and other diseases can be very difficult to trace to a single source.”

It is a scary thought that this source of energy has the power to both improve our planet but if handled carelessly it could be the thing to destroy it.

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” -Albert Einstein, 1932.

“I foolishly believed the myth that nuclear energy is clean and safe. That myth has completely broken down. Restarting nuclear reactors while we still have no place to dispose nuclear waste is a criminal act towards future generations.” -Morihiro Hosokawa, 79th Prime Minister of Japan.