To properly discuss the impact of electricity produced by a nuclear power plant, one should include all activities which support that plant. We remember that uranium miners died of accidents or lung cancer from breathing air containing radioactive radon in the mine. The uranium ore is moved by trucks, which produce carbon dioxide. The uranium goes to a plant to partially separate the isotopes, producing one stream enriched in the 235 isotope, to be useful as fuel, and another stream diminished in this isotope. This plant receives much of its electric power from coal-burning powerplants.
The nuclear power plant itself discharges radioactive material into the air and water as part of normal operations. The health impact of these releases will never be known. At present, the large quantities of radioactive spent fuel, which must be secured for many years, are stored in or near its plant. We have not found a solution to this problem, thus the final health impact is unknown.
As a person of faith, I cannot accept leaving this legacy for future generations. The operational safety of these plants depend on the ability of the designers to plan, in advance, for everything that could happen. The Fukushima Daiichi plants in Japan were designed to survive strong earthquakes, but the march 2011 earthquake exceeded the maximum design. We also remember the deaths of three men in a nuclear accident at the SL-1 reactor in Idaho on Jan. 3, 1961. Nuclear power is polluting, not safe.
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