Plutonium: 'Our Country's Only Feasible Solution'
Uploaded by Admin on Jan 22, 1999
Abstract: Should we begin to manufacture one of the most destructive and infamous substances on the face on the Earth once again? The engineers say yes, but the public says no. The United States stopped making this element with the ban on manufacturing nuclear weapons. But with the continuing problem with our ever diminishing energy sources, some want us to begin using more nuclear energy and less energy from natural resources. This paper is going to discuss what plutonium is, the advantages and disadvantages of its use, and why we should think about restarting our production of this useful element.
After the United States dropped "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" on Japan ending World War II, the public has had some type of understanding about the power of plutonium and its devastating properties, but that is all anyone heard.
After WWII, Americans started to think about what the atomic bomb could do to the U.S. and its people. When anyone mentioned plutonium or the word "nuclear" the idea of Hiroshima or Nagasaki being destroyed was the first thing people thought about. No one could even ponder the idea that it could be used for other more constructive things like sources of energy or to kept a person's heart beating. Then we started to build more reactors and produce more of the substance but mostly for our nuclear weapons programs.
Along with reactors, sometimes comes a meltdown which can produce harmful effects if it isn't controlled quickly enough. After such instances as the Hanford, Washington reactor meltdown and the accident in the U.S.S.R. at the Chernobyl site, no one wanted to hear about the use of plutonium. The United States government banned nuclear testing and also ended the production of plutonium.(Ref. 5) Now we are in a dilemma. We are in need of future sources of energy to power our nation. We are running out of coal and oil to run our power plants.(Ref. 7) We also need it to further our space exploration program. People need to understand the advantages to using plutonium and that the disadvantages are not as catastrophic as they seem. With the turn of the century on its way, the reemergence of plutonium production will need to be a reality for us to continue our way of life.
In 1941, a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered something that would change our planet forever. The man's...