I was shocked by the news about the explosions at nuclear reactors in Japan. I started to be concerned about the leakage of radiation and began to doubt the safety of nuclear energy. Those who support using it as a source of electricity claim nuclear energy is much cleaner than other types of energy. They also say nuclear energy will not run out, unlike other energy sources. But some people say it is very dangerous.
I don't support the use of nuclear energy because of the risk of radiation. It can cause severe damage to people and the environment. There were similar accidents before. All those accidents caused serious damage. I think we should not rely too much on nuclear power. Perhaps it is time we saved energy instead, so that we would not need to depend on new energy resources. Prevention is the best thing to do. We should take action now to conserve energy.
Kevin Lee, Ju Ching Chu Secondary School (Kwai Chung)
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Kevin. It is indeed scary to think of a nuclear disaster, and it's not unusual for many people to believe that nuclear power is not a good idea. But let us put this in perspective.
So far the worst nuclear disaster ever was the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor in Ukraine. As a direct result of that disaster, more than 50 people died, and a further 4,000 are believed to have died of cancer as a result of exposure to radiation. That is a terrifying thought.
Now let us think about this. The United States Environmental Protection Agency says every year 17,000 Americans die from air pollution-related causes. Chernobyl happened in 1986. Since then thousands of Hongkongers have died of air pollution-related diseases. Researchers at the University of Hong Kong say up to 1,200 additional deaths in the city each year result from air pollution, an ongoing threat.
The nuclear accident in Japan, on the other hand, was the result of almost unprecedented circumstances - a massive earthquake followed by a large tsunami.