Rutherford was aware of the nuclear energy trapped in the atom. He thought the energy could not be utilised efficiently and he hoped that methods would not be discovered until the man was at peace with his neighbours.
In this essay, I am going to discuss Rutherford’s impact on science and nuclear energy. Also share some of my opinions about the usage of nuclear power.
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Ernest Rutherford was a physicist and a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry. He became known as the ‘father’ of nuclear physics. He is best known for being the first man to split the atom and the discovery of the proton. Another important fact about Rutherford’s scientific career was that he mentored 9 students who went onto win Nobel Prizes later on in their life. He has left behind quite a legacy too; an element is named after him also a crater on Mars and the moon is named after him.
I think what he said about the use of nuclear technology was very insightful as what he foresaw happening if the technology was indeed harnessed was correct. He was right to say that the energy could not be ‘utilised efficiently’ as they ended up making a devastating bomb and led to the end of the second world war but the peace was short-lived as it transformed into the cold war which involved a nuclear arms race where America and the Soviet Union made nuclear bombs bigger and better. But luckily this mass pile-up of nuclear explosives did not result in war because attacking the opposing country would mean that the destruction of the attacking country also, this was called mutually assured destruction (MAD).
My stand on nuclear energy is that I disagree with the use of it. Nuclear energy is not a good choice as an energy source because of the various disadvantages of this source of energy.
One of the problems with nuclear power is that the difficulty with the management of radioactive waste is still unsolved and this highly dangerous material has to be carefully looked after for more then 8000 years which could be hazardous for future generations as well unless we can come up with some solution in the near future. Also there is the prospect of an accident which would be very dangerous for the surrounding populated areas (for example: The Chernobyl accident in April, 1986, in Russia).
Moreover the technology used for nuclear power is the same sort of technology used for making nuclear weapons which is very dangerous to the already rickety political climate of the world.
This brings up the point that if an attack by a terrorist organization on a nuclear power plant of the magnitude of the 9/11 attack would be devastating. The power plant would not be able survive an attack of that magnitude and it would shake up the already unstable political climate. This might also trigger a nation with nuclear abilities to take evasive actions and even declare war. This could obviously have many lasting effects on the whole world. Other concerns nuclear power raises are that nuclear power is not a renewable energy because the element that’s needed for nuclear reaction is Uranium which is scarce resource on Earth and uranium will not last long if nuclear power becomes more mainstream depending on what the needs are that is. It is much better to abide in other resources for energy such as solar power, hydro-electric power and wind turbines this is because these resources are renewable and because they have no carbon emissions at all.
The statement that some people make on nuclear energy is that it will reduce the effects of global warming, now let me say first of all that these greenhouse gases which are causing this global warming predicament has an average lifetime of 75 to 200 years in the atmosphere so if we try and reduce global warming the effects of it will not minimize in about 10 – 20 years. Though nuclear power has fewer emissions then the fossil fuels it is still not advisable to use it because of that reason because when you look at the disadvantages of nuclear power it doesn’t look like that great of an option.
My take on all of this is that Rutherford’s statement was very wise because I also think that nuclear energy should not be used until the technology can be used efficiently and without the thought of military use of this technology in mind. Nuclear energy I think personally should be used more widely if some of the problems mentioned are solved.
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