Nuclear Legacy


Nuclear Legacy Essay, Research Paper

There is 10 thousand tons of nuclear waste on Earth.” Many scientist are in

search for new and efficient ways to dispose of these lethal by-products which can

destroy life itself. Radioactive products can be either beneficial or devastating. It all

depends on how we use them. In the field of medicine, some benefit from radiation

include, radiation therapy for cancer patients. Not all uses of radiation prove to be

beneficial. Many use the power of the atom for destructive purposes, introducing an

age of nuclear warfare. It doesn’t matter if we use radiation for good or bad purposes,

they all contribute to the growing rate of “unwanted nuclear waste.” The issue now is,

how do we dispose of these nuclear wastes?

Scientist have thought of several methods to dispose the nuclear by-products.

They tried to chemically treat the waste and reuse it, but “that would cost a fortune”.

They thought of launching the waste into outer space but it too will cost a fortune.

They tried to dump barrels filled with nuclear waste into the ocean but they started

leaking. As you can see, there is a great need for a nuclear waste disposal site. These

sites may sound frightening, but it may be the only way for us to dispose the

devastation we had longed to create. In 1986, the decision for a nuclear waste

depositary proved to be “the most frightening decision of the decade.” Of these sites,

three were chosen to be the “most suitable” for the disposal of nuclear by-products.

These three sites consisted of Hanford, Washington; Yuka Mountain, Nevada; and

Defsmith, Texas.

Hanford, Washington is a low populated U.S. city, and is owned by the

Department of Energy. A low populated city is an ideal site for radioactive disposal.

Although the city of Hanford is sparsely populated, geologists fear the possibility of a

nuclear seepage into the Colombia river. The Columbia River is an important factor for

the U.S. production of wheat. “This makes it the worst of site,” says the geologist. If

the Colombia River is contaminated with nuclear waste, it will lead to the contamination

of land surrounding the large body of water, thus making land unusable. Radioactive

contamination of the Colombia river will affect both America’s economy and

agricultural production.

Yuka mountain, Nevada is a heavily guarded desert region of America. It is far

away from any lakes, rivers, or oceans, and its repository is located above ground water

levels. These geological conditions make Yuka mountain an almost perfect place for

nuclear waste disposal to take place. This is due to the possibilities of earthquakes

occurring quite frequently within this area. It is said by the geologist that “if an

earthquake was likely to occur, it will only shake the nuclear materials, not enough to

make them leak.” Yuka mountain is unfortunately located 70 miles from Las Vegas,

Nevada, a widely known tourist attraction. Thus making Yuka mountain an unsound

place for nuclear disposal.

Defsmith, Texas is known as the “most productive city in Texas”. The farmers

from Defsmith rely on the Ogallala aquifer as a source of water for agricultural growth.

If a radioactive disposal site is created in this city, a large pipe extending through the

Ogallala aquifer will have to be built, thus threatening the rich and fertile farmland. The

construction of a disposal site will also affect the genetic pureness of the seeds which

farmers waited so long to obtain. So much value will be lost if a disposal site were to be

created in Defsmith, making it not worth completing.

If I was a member of the Department of Energy and had to choose one of these

sites, I would have to choose Yuka mountain, Nevada for its ideal geological

conditions. This area is widely uninhabited and does not pose a danger to the ground

water supply. If earthquakes occur, not much would happen, as the geologist stated.

Although Yuka mountain is 70 miles from Las Vegas, I would try to have the city

evacuated and moved to a more safeguarded location. thus making Yuka mountain the

“most reliable” nuclear waste disposal site of the three.

If I was a member of the Department of Energy and could not in good

conscious choose one of these three sites, I would propose a plan to launch nuclear

waste-filled lead capsules into an area in outer space with high levels of natural

radiation. Although it may cost a fortune, any price is worth saving the Earth. I believe

that by launching these capsules into space, our Earth will be left unaffected and free

from the possibility of leakage. (As by creating disposal sites, the Earth is still at risk

from a possible radioactive leak). If we launch these pellets to areas in space with high

natural radiation, a leak in the pellet will not be as disastrous as a leak occurring on

Earth. The radiation being emitted from the capsule will then combine with the source

of natural radiation, resulting in a neutral reaction, and will not have an affect on our


If I were a member in one of these communities, I would take the Department

of energy to court, because they have no right to take away any of the rights we are

entitled to as citizens of America. Second of all, I would petition to the government

that we have the construction of these disposal sites to be halted, as they endanger the

lives of many Americans. Lastly, I would ask the Department of energy to find another

solution to this “Nuclear Legacy”.

I have learned that we must always take responsibility for our actions. In this

case, those who have decided to create radioactive products lacked the responsibility to

dispose of them. The consequences resulting from our lack of responsibility is utterly

devastating. It is frightening how our new creations and discoveries can be so

destructive despite their benefits.

I was indeed inspired from this video. I will do all I can to help reduce

radioactive pollution by the source. Through the video, I saw how dangerous nuclear

waste can be to the environment, and how it affects our entire planet, not simply as


The debris left from the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan had a great impact on

me. I was heartbroken by the sight of the many people who were killed and those who

were left to die. It is thoroughly frustrating to see how one discovery, the discovery of

the atom, had changed the way we view the world today.

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