Is the world ready for green technology?
The world experienced a sudden shift in green technology awareness following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The double tragedy caused various malfunctions on several nuclear power plants that were operating in the hardest-hit region of the country. Fukushima Dai-ichi is one of the oldest nuclear reactors in Japan, that was severely damaged by the same catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that also wiped out several villages and towns in less than a day. The nuclear reactor produced discouraging reports of average-to-extreme radiation leaks, that had the potential to affect anyone within a wide area.
Looking back at the tragic earthquake and tsunami that ruined properties and resulted in massive number of deaths in Japan; while at the same time, the world glimpsed on how the resulting nuclear fiasco played right into the fine lines of the many benefits of green technology and it’s disadvantages. For many who are still against nuclear technology, the catastrophic release of high levels of radiation to the environment, especially its high concentrations in the surrounding area near the nuclear reactors, presented a glaring testament to the risks of nuclear technology regardless of the advancements and safety measures already in place. However, in retrospect, we can only surmise if Japan had been able to rapidly jump through the ranks among the world’s most economically competitive countries, had they not wholeheartedly embraced nuclear technology, that powered, and continues to provide for its millions of citizens.
The Benefits of Nuclear Energy
Among the green renewable technologies today, nuclear energy presents a cost-efficient investment that is pulling a lot of demand among consumers and manufacturers. The United States, France and Japan are but among the several nations in the World who are pushing for a safer and more responsible use of nuclear power. These countries are also among the biggest beneficiaries of nuclear energy. The fact that the whole of Japan is getting more than 30% of its power from its nuclear reactors, has encouraged many countries to embrace the use of nuclear technology, as a clean and as an efficient means to generate electric power for a considerably large number of homes.
The Disadvantages of Nuclear Technology
However, just like any form of energy, there are also trade-offs with nuclear technology worth noting. Nuclear power comes at the risk of high levels of radiation. There is also the possibility of nations turning their benign nuclear technology into a military-funded nuclear weapons program. In defense of nuclear technology however, it’s closest competitor, which are fossil fuels and solar energy, can’t provide the same level of output power as nuclear reactors. Fossil fuels also produce various airborne components harmful to the human body, including carbon dioxide, which is one of the leading greenhouse gasses.
Many environmentalists believe that greenhouse gasses are among the leading factors pushing climates and weather patterns to change worldwide.
Embracing green technology, or any type of new technology for that matter, will always have risks tied with them. Consumers will always have to walk a tightrope and make several compromises, with the best and most efficient sources of fuel, available today. When nuclear technology is made safer and the radiation properly sealed from the environment, only then, can the world truly understand and measure its benefits.
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