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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

The scare of powerplants

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Lately, I've heard a little here and there in the news, that there seems to be a renewed interest of rebuilding and using nuclear powerplants again. I'm against that, since I do remember two of the greater accidents, as well as have lived close to one. When I grew up in the south of Sweden, we first lived in Lund and then later in Eslöv, two small towns in the vicinity of the Swedish nuclear power plant Barsebäck. We were alerted every month with a automatic phone-call to our old landline, as the warning system of the time, would there be any meltdowns or other disasters. Later, with school, we got to visit Barsebäck, all dressed in white suits for our protection and checked for radiation with a special meter. It was very much like in the movie The China syndrome that we had seen on TV at home, with great suspense and fear.

In 1980, Sweden held a public vote, which resulted in a decision to close all nuclear power plants at no later than 2010, given their waste and their volatile operations. Even I, as a little girl, wore the badge on my jacket saying Nuclear power? No thanks, and took part of the demonstrations with my parents and my younger brother. Barsebäck later became closed, much thanks to the Danish people, who also was against it, and who are very close, with only a small sound of ocean in between.

Less than a decade after, in 1989, I was an exchange student and senior in High school in Ticonderoga, upstate New York. During spring, the American news reported of immeasurable amounts of contamination over Sweden, poisoning alll our reindeers up north and our fish. It really scared me, so of course I called home as fast as I heard about it. My mother calmed me down and said it wasn't at all such a big deal, and put some news-clippings in an envelope and sent me. Was the United States exaggerating or was Sweden downplaying the threat from Chernobyl?

Come 2011, when I lived in Honolulu, Hawaii, after having been a graduate student at Hawaii Pacific University, the powerplant in Fukushima broke down alongside with the tsunami. Contaminated debris and fish was found in Hawaii some 6 months later, bringing all of us to wonder if the whole of Pacific Ocean would be damaged.

Thus, I'm against nuclear power plants. Not to mention the same technique is used to create nuclear bombs. I don't want either. I want to live a life on-grid, comfortable in a city, but with all our expertise and already good start of building solar power, water power and wind power alternatives in society, I'd rather see more of that. And perhaps, is it impossible to harness heat from the earth itself? What if all that steam blowing up from the vents on Big Island, where the volcanoes are active, could be used? To that, I would say: Yes, please!

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