Some thoughts on nuclear power.

Before recent events I can't say that I knew much at all about nuclear power. I had heard that it was a clean source of power, I knew that a lot of people were pushing to build more stations as a way to deal with global warming or climate change, and I knew that there was one station within 100 miles of where I live. 

Over the past week I've learned a lot more about nuclear power. Nuclear power isn't "green" or clean by any means. There's the issue of radioactive waste, which is basically hazardous for 240,000 years. And no, I didn't accidentally add some extra zeros in there. The argument of nuclear power vs. coal power seems like it could go on and on. Either way, the truth is they're both extremely harmful to the environment and there are renewable alternatives that will do the same job without any pollution and minimal change to the environment. 

I came across a link on NPR which led me to this report of people and communities affected by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.  I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing and reading. The effects of radiation are incredibly severe and last a long, long time. There are arguments that the technology of nuclear power has come a long way since then, but seeing what has been happening on the news lately, it's clear that it is far from being completely safe. 

I had known about the Davis-Besse nuclear power station in Northwest Ohio. I see it all the time when we go up to the islands on Lake Erie. I never thought much about it, but was a little terrified about what I learned from the Greenpeace website. This PDF explains more, but basically that nuclear station has had numerous "near misses" of a meltdown. And as you can see from the charts, it's definitely not the only station that has had problems. The life span of a nuclear power station is 30-40 years based on it's design. Davis-Besse came on line in 1978 and is scheduled to run until 2017. Just days ago another incident happened. And then I found out that we live within 50 miles of yet another nuclear station.

So now I would like to state that I am 100% against nuclear power. I'm not trying to force my opinion onto anyone and I know there are people that would argue my point of view for days. But the thing is, I didn't know any of this until this week and I want other people to be aware.

Oh and also, read this.

(Davis-Besse image found here)


  1. Other than wind energy, I'd like to know what other renewable energy options there are, or that you think are better. :)

    I've also heard (hear-say, great source, huh?) that wind energy is speculated to change the climate because it literally slows the wind and steals the energy.

  2. hey cheryl... go buy some potassium iodide supplements. they can help you against radiation. for reals. my dad is an incredible nutritionist and says it can protect your system.


  3. Aside from wind energy, solar power is an excellent alternative. In a lot of locations across the US you could put solar panels on your roof that would generate more power than you would actually use. That power can be sent back to the grid and used elsewhere. That would not likely be the case in all locations, but using some solar power each day over none is a huge improvement.

  4. The initial investment for personal solar power in your home is substantial, but not terrible (particularly if you're going to be in the home long-term) - within 4-5 years, you're likely to recoup all expenses easily (more quickly if you live in a consistently sunny area of the country - obviously, somewhere that's not Ohio) due to the checks you'd receive from the electrical company. It would be something to definitely check with such companies in your area prior to beginning the process (e.g. how they deal with power producers, rather than power consumers).

    Also, wind power is a viable option for the home, particularly if you live on a parcel of land with some substance to it. I believe that a beginning kit for a personal windmill system (which engages with power for your home) runs about $15,000.00. Again, that's not pennies, but you'll recoup that investment relatively quickly. For Ohio, I think wind would be a good way to go.

  5. Ironically, you did add an extra zero. It's 24,000. Either way, that's a long time.

    There is a guy who wants to put solar panels in space. I think that's the way to go, personally.

  6. I was doing some research for a student interior design project and was curious about using wind turbines on the tops of buildings to fuel them independently from regular power sources. Turns out, Cleveland's location on Lake Erie makes it one of the highest wind generating cities of the U.S. A perfect location for wind turbines. So, it just makes me wonder why in the heck you don't see more of them.

    Also, I watch the Chernobyl documentary with my dad when I was a kid, and as a result, have spent my entire life terrified of nuclear power plants. Is it bad that I try not to think about it? I guess I'm not much of an activist.

  7. Well, I've witnessed Chernobyl. I've met a few refugees from Chernobyl.. It's really scary.

  8. Ryan, this is where I got 240,000 from:

    "Plutonium 239 has a half-life of approximately 24,000 years. That means that after 24,000 years half of the radioactivity contained in the plutonium will have decayed. However, the hazardous life of radioactive waste is at least ten times the half-life, therefore these wastes will have to be isolated from the environment for 240,000."

    It's in one of the Greenpeace articles I linked to.