Which Is The Greater Threat: The Use Of Nuclear Weapons In War, Or The Peaceful Use Of Nuclear Energy? 

2 Answers

Oscar De La Huerte Profile
Nuclear disasters of whatever kind are always catastrophic, but I would argue that weapons specifically designed to cause devastation will always have more of an impact by their very nature.

Nuclear War VS Nuclear Accidents

The use of nuclear energy in warfare is truly devastating. You only need to look at the results of the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in World War II to see the effects nuclear weapons can have. On the other hand, nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and the recent Fukushima nuclear crisis have also affected millions of people.

The main reason I'd suggest nuclear weapons have the potential to be significantly more dangerous is because they are designed to cause maximum damage. Nuclear weapons are seen as a weapon of last resort simply because they are so devastating.

For example, the initial death toll from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings is thought to have reached up to 246,000.

In comparison, the world's worst nuclear accident (which occurred in Chernobyl in 1986) accounts for the death of just over 50 people (although a further 4,000 are thought to have eventually died from radiation-induced cancers).

Nuclear Energy: Pros and Cons
With all the misery and havoc that nuclear energy has caused, you may be wondering why we even bother developing nuclear capability.

Well here's the view from either side of the coin:

The Uses of Nuclear Power These are the benefits of nuclear power that I can think of - based on comparing them with other energy sources:
  • Nuclear energy costs less to provide in comparison to other sources such as fossil fuels
  • Nuclear power is seen as an effective solution for supplying energy to the masses. Other less risky sources like the use of solar panels and wind farms are not viable on a large scale.
  • Nuclear waste can be recycled to some degree
  • Producing nuclear energy doesn't release as much harmful carbon dioxide into the environment.
The Problems With Nuclear Power Whilst nuclear power is often seen as the most viable solution for dealing with the world's ever-growing energy demands, the following points highlight that it's not all plain sailing:
  • Nuclear facilities cost a lot of money to build
  • The risks that we do know have the potential to be catastrophic, and that's without us even fully understanding all the long-term risks associated with nuclear energy
  • Uranium, which is used to produce nuclear energy, is also finite, as are fossil fuels
  • We have yet to develop a safe and secure way to deal with the amount of nuclear waste that would be created by using this energy source on a larger scale

Arthur Wright Profile
Arthur Wright answered
Man has learned how to use nuclear power for both destruction and power, but has not yet developed excellent safeguards in case of an emergency - as we have seen in Japan with their major earthquake. So nuclear power either as a weapon or a power source could eventually destroy the earth if we don't learn how to safely harness it in an emergency so both could be just as fatal.

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