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N UCLEAR E NERGY A background to the Nuclear debate and the Rainbow Warrior.

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Presentation on theme: "N UCLEAR E NERGY A background to the Nuclear debate and the Rainbow Warrior."— Presentation transcript:

1 N UCLEAR E NERGY A background to the Nuclear debate and the Rainbow Warrior.


3 HISTORY The pursuit of nuclear energy for electricity generation began soon after the discovery in the early 20th century that radioactive elements, such as radium, released immense amounts of energy, according to the principle of mass–energy equivalence. However, means of harnessing such energy was impractical, because intensely radioactive elements were, by their very nature, short-lived.


5 HISTORY Just before the outbreak of WWII, nuclear development had advanced to where they knew of its military and practical uses. The Manhattan Project - made enriched uranium and built large reactors to breed plutonium for use in the first nuclear weapons, which were used on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Question: why did the Americans use Nuclear Bombs on Japan instead of more conventional tactics?




9 HISTORY After World War II, the prospects of using "atomic energy" for good, rather than simply for war, were greatly advocated as a reason not to keep all nuclear research controlled by military organizations. Because of this the Governments took strict control over nuclear operations, making sure it was used safely. Electricity was generated for the first time by a nuclear reactor on December 20, 1951 On June 27, 1954, the USSR's Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant became the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid. Usage snowballed from there.



12 C HERNOBYL (U KRAINE ) DISASTER - 1986 Fire and explosion in silo. Four hundred times more radioactive material was released than had been by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The radiation infiltrated waterways, flora and fauna. There were hundreds of mutated births amongst humans and animals with approx 4000 of the 5 million people infected, dying of thyroid cancer

13 OPPOSITION There has always been a caution over the use of nuclear technology The public became concerned about nuclear weapons testing from about 1954, following extensive nuclear testing in the Pacific. In 1961, at the height of the Cold War, about 50,000 women brought together by Women Strike for Peace marched in 60 cities in the United States to demonstrate against nuclear weapons. First major success in Whyl Germany, where nuclear project stopped (1970’s) Opposition increases after Chernobyl.

14 W HY ARE YOU SO OPPOSED ? Nuclear accidents: a concern that the core of a nuclear power plant could overheat and melt down, releasing radioactivity. Radioactive waste disposal: a concern that nuclear power results in large amounts of radioactive waste, some of which remains dangerous for very long periods. Nuclear proliferation: a concern that the facilities and expertise to produce nuclear power can be readily adapted to produce nuclear weapons

15 High cost: a concern that nuclear power plants are very expensive Nuclear terrorism: a concern that nuclear facilities could be targeted by terrorists or criminals. Curtailed civil liberties: a concern that the risk of nuclear accidents, proliferation and terrorism may be used to justify restraints on citizen rights.

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