ben eng 101 essay 3

Submitted By bwatts1592
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Watts 1
Benjamin Watts
Prof K. Oliveira
English 101 MW 11a
29 May 2012
Fate of Nuclear Energy The triple meltdown of nuclear power plants at Fukushima in May, 2011 was the world’s worst nuclear accident since the disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986. Nuclear energy was once thought of as a dream source of energy that was the answer to our energy needs. Today nuclear power plants are exploding and melting down. This dream to some has turned into a nightmare for others. Over a year ago, for the citizens of Japan, the earthquake and tsunami turned their energy dream into a nuclear nightmare that is still terrorizing them today. The accident at TEPCO’s nuclear power plant in Fukushima Diaiichi has affected the physical health and financial standpoint of the Japanese citizens, it has aided the plummet in the Japanese economy, diminished relations with TEPCO shareholders, and has affected the future of nuclear power forever. Nuclear energy has been used by many countries across the world including japan, even though it is the only country to have ever had nuclear weapons used against them. Nuclear plants were and still are the most efficient way to produce energy. The 10 March 2012 Economist explains that “the ability to split atoms and extract their energy is one of the most remarkable achievements in the entire 20th century.” Atomic energy is both an incredible source of energy, as well as a very destructive weapon. The accident in Japan is a prime example of how nuclear power can backfire. The meltdown in Japan opened the eyes to the existing threat of nuclear plants around the world. Watts 2 Japan has been utilizing, and dependent on, nuclear energy as a major source of energy since they began using their first commercial reactor in 1966. Japan has been “nuclear” for over 40 years, and it would be a major shock if they were to change. Nuclear energy in the recent past, “In 2010 Japan generated 1080 billion kWh gross, 27% from coal, 27% from gas, 27% from nuclear, 9% from oil, and 7% from hydro, though some nuclear capacity remained shut down for checks following an earthquake in mid 2007” (wsws.org). Japan had nuclear energy accounting for a large 27% of their kWh (kilowatts per hour), which is 27% of the electricity. This means that if Japan had to switch to another form of energy, it would have to be efficient enough to make up for the extreme efficiency of nuclear energy. The failure of TEPCO's reactors has shown the importance and the risk of nuclear energy, and has given an opportunity to change their source of energy. TEPCO is a company known for its dishonesty and it's numerous repeated safety failures in nuclear power plants of Fukushima. This shroud of secrecy that surrounds the plant has proved that TEPCO should never have been trusted. According to the company’s record, “Of more than 200 proven falsifications of safety inspection reports are several relating to the stricken Fukushima Daiichi facility itself. In 2002, TEPCO admitted to falsifying reports about cracks that had been detected in core shrouds at reactor numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, as far back as 1993” (wsws.org). TEPCO has been lying about serious safety issues, and the natural disasters that took place exploited them. If TEPCO had followed proper safety procedures, it is possible that the reactors might not have failed, and the entire crisis may have been averted. The entire country of Japan has to suffer from TEPCO's negligence and cover-ups. The shareholders of TEPCO have been greatly reduced since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The disasters that destroyed the nuclear plants exposed the real side of TEPCO, which had not been…