Nuclear Energy and Its Aftereffects: Should We Be Worried?

by Josephine Hoyois ’26

Source: Fox Metro News

Published Nov. 5, 2022

The Chernobyl disaster is thirty-six years behind us, and since then, many precautions to prevent such incidents from happening again have been developed and ensured.  

According to BBC, when the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine exploded in 1986, it killed an average of 50 people both immediately and months later. The immediate deaths were the plant’s nearby operators and firefighters. The remaining were people that weren’t as close to the reactor, but who were also affected by the radiation.

At the time, a nuclear plant reactor explosion was unheard of. As such, no one was prepared for the tragedy.  

However, because of what happened, better nuclear safety precautions were developed, bringing awareness to the dangers of radiation.

Today, there are systems in place that help combat the unique situations as those in Chernobyl. On the twenty-first of September, 2022, a printer caught fire in a nuclear plant in the south of France. As soon as the fire began, the power plant disaster prevention systems started, shutting down any nuclear activity and evacuating all employees.

One of the biggest concerns about nuclear power plants today is the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine. Due to the Russian-Ukrainian War, this nuclear plant is under tight scrutiny. It was previously under attack from the Russians, and though it is now under their control, that area is still extremely dangerous.

If the plant were to explode, the damages would likely be greater than Chernobyl. Soldiers and civilians within a 30 km radius would suffer from radiation poisoning, and immediate help would likely not be able to reach the area in time to aid those in need.

We, as a society, have become so dependent on nuclear power plants that regardless of our past experiences with them, we have shaped our lives around them. While numerous precautions following Chernobyl have been developed, the potential for destructive nuclear disasters still looms large.

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