By Alejandra Rojas
Staff reporter

Recent disasters have left the world questioning the safety of nuclear energy. This issue has been the topic of conversation since the Japanese electrical nuclear power plant was hit by the tsunami, Mar. 11, which caused the explosion, forcing a large area to be evacuated. The causes of the explosion lead to a first-time-ever nuclear emergency.

Other incidents include the Chernobyl disaster, which contaminated Russia, Scandinavia, Scotland, and Wales, in 1986 and the Three Mile Island accident of 1979, in Pennsylvania have left fear for residents surrounding the area.

Residing only 128 miles, is Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which is the first nuclear power generating station in Kansas and has been providing energy to residents in Kansas and Missouri since 1985. Since the explosion at Japan, Wolf Creek has made it a top priority to put safety first. In efforts to maintain a safe area, Wolf Creek is working with regulators and industry peers to protect the public’s health and safety. With this in mind, the plant is designed with detailed emergency procedures and provides protection from any earthquake or tornado.

There are advantages and disadvantages with nuclear energy. Some of the advantages include: nuclear power generation does emit relatively low amounts of carbon dioxide, which means there is little risk for global warming. The technology used is readily available and doesn’t need to be developed and it’s possible to generate a high amount of electrical energy in one single plant.

On the other hand, the disadvantages include: the problem of radioactive waste is still unresolved and the waste of the nuclear energy is extremely dangerous. There are high risks such as accidents that occur can devastate both human being and nature. Nuclear power plants could be preferred targets for terrorist attacks and the energy source for nuclear energy is Uranium, which is a scarce resource.

While nuclear energy is important and is necessary, the risks mentioned above can create a dangerous environment. Of course with safe planning and procedures living amongst a nuclear plant can be a breeze. With this mind, Kansas can rest easy, but are the efforts enough to keep this nuclear plant from one day exploding? Considering the tragedy that occurred in Japan any effort is questionable. Planning ahead may reduce the risk of a major contamination, but natural disasters are unexpected. It’s hard to predict what affect a natural disaster can have.

Alejandra Rojas is senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at alejandra.rojas@sckans.edu.