Nuclear power is one of the main sources of electrical power generation in use today, and by all accounts it is also some of the safest and most environmental friendly. Coal, for example, producing the majority of electrical power we use today, but it also producing carbon emissions as dramatically high rates. Wind and solar power, while on the rise, don’t come near to producing the amount of energy necessary to support our large nation.
Even with the safety record of nuclear power in the United States, one doesn’t have to go far to see examples of disastrous outcomes following meltdowns and other disasters across the world. It is important to keep a level head when approaching the topic of nuclear safety and not choose one side staunchly over another. Opponents will site the disasters that have occurred throughout the world, such as Chernobyl and, more recently, Fukushima, but may not offer viable options to producing the amount of energy necessary to support the general public. Proponents will likely claim it is the safest form of energy in use today, while not giving credence or voice to the legitimate concerns around disaster.
Washington State is home to Columbia Generating Plant (formerly known as WNP-2) which is the last surviving of 5 power plants originally planned for use within the state. It is licensed to operate through 2023, and the use of it’s energy has grown steadily over the past decade to now approaching 10 Million Mega-Watt Hours. It’s obvious that this is a large part of the states energy infrastructure and it isn’t going away anytime soon, so residents need to be aware and comfortable with its presence as well as it’s safety concerns.
There are many ways in which the safety of the workers, employees and general public is insured when it comes to nuclear power facilities. There are many different nuclear power outfitters that provide safety equipment and high grade tools to help handle the radiation levels that are present when dealing directly with the reactor core, in addition to providing safety throughout the premises in order to avoid potential problems with overheating, etc.
It’s important to realize the Fukushima was the result of a natural disaster, and while this isn’t a comforting thought to most, the reaction from the professional community has been a good one. More preparation for potential outlier events such as earthquakes, tidal waves or other acts of God have started to make their way into the standard operating procedures for nuclear power facilities. This provides much needed peace of mind with regard to the safety and security of the nuclear reactors in our State and throughout the USA.
While the presense of nuclear reactors and the use of nuclear energy is still occuring throughout the US, the rise of alternative energies such as solar and wind is also on the rise. This will likely surmount nuclear, coal and other fossil fuel energy sources in the coming decades.