Nuclear Power AFF

I affirm the resolution that: “Countries ought to Prohibit Nuclear Power”.
My value in today’s debate is Quality of Life. Quality of Life is defined by Collins
Dictionary as the general well-being of a person or society, defined in terms of health and
happiness, rather than wealth.
My value criterion is the minimization of suffering. Minimization of suffering refers to
lowering the amount of suffering a person must go through. Suffering is defined by the
Oxford Dictionary as, “The state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship,”. If I can
prove that nuclear energy causes, pain, distress, or hardship in a person’s life, than I
should be declared winner of the debate.
Country is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “An area of land that is controlled by its own
Ought is defined by Oxford Dictionary as, “to indicate duty or correctness, typically when
criticizing someone's actions.”
Prohibit is defined by Cambridge Dictionary as, “to officially forbid something.”
Nuclear Power is defined by Oxford Dictionary as, “Electric or motive power generated
by a nuclear reactor.”
Contention 1
Nuclear Power is Dangerous
The impacts of nuclear accidents are immense and the risk of their occurrence
are expected to increase due to global climate change. PSR, 15. (Physicians of
Social Responsibility)
Despite proponents’ claims that it is safe,
the history of nuclear energy is marked by a number of
disasters and near disasters. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine is one of the most
frightening examples of the potentially catastrophic consequences of a nuclear accident. An estimated
220,000 people were displaced from their homes, and the radioactive fallout from the
accident made 4,440 square kilometers of agricultural land and 6,820 square kilometers
of forests in Belarus and Ukraine unusable. It is extremely difficult to get accurate information about the health
effects from Chernobyl. Government agencies in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus estimate that about
25,000 of the 600,000 involved in fire-fighting and clean up operations have died so far
because of radiation exposure from the accident.(4) According to an April 2006 report commissioned by the
European Greens for the European Parliament, there will be an additional 30,000 to 60,000 fatal
cancer deaths worldwide from the accident.(5) In 1979, the United States had its own disaster
following an accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Reactor in Pennsylvania. Although
there were no immediate deaths, the incident had serious health consequences for the surrounding area. A 1997
study found that those people living downwind of the reactor at the time of the event were two
to ten times more likely to contract lung cancer or leukemia than those living upwind of
the radioactive fallout.(6) The dangers of nuclear power have been underscored more recently by the close call of a
catastrophic meltdown at the Davis-Besse reactor in Ohio in 2002, which in the years preceding the incident had
received a near-perfect safety score.(3) Climate change may further increase the risk of nuclear
accidents. Heat waves, which are expected to become more frequent and intense as a
result of global warming, can force the shut down or the power output reduction of reactors.
During the 2006 heat wave, reactors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Minnesota,
as well as in France, Spain and Germany, were impacted. The European heat wave in the
summer of 2003 caused cooling problems at French reactors that forced engineers to tell
the government that they could no longer guarantee the safety of the country’s 58
nuclear power reactors.(3)
This card shows that nuclear reactors can have explosive and dangerous meltdowns,
leading to radioactive fallout, displacement of people, long term illnesses that cause
suffering, and eventually death. Even a heat wave can cause nuclear reactors to be shut
down as a safety measure, which causes people to not have power for their homes, thus
affecting their quality of life.
Next, after the electricity is gone, nuclear waste remains, FOE, 13. (Friends of the
In addition to the environmental and health hazards posed by reactor accidents, there remains no solution
for how to deal with spent nuclear fuel (nuclear waste).The typical nuclear reactor produces
20 metric tons of lethal high-level radioactive waste every year, with 69,720 metric tons
already piled up at reactor sites across the country.12 Most of the current nuclear waste
is packed into pools at reactors, which pose the risk of a catastrophic spent fuel pool
fire.13 There is no silver bullet “fix” for the significant problem of radioactive waste. The Yucca Mountain project was
riddled with technical problems and has rightfully been scrapped.14 “Consolidated storage” of nuclear
waste would spread the problem by hauling highly radioactive spent fuel across the
country on trucks, trains and barges to dump sites that are likely to become de facto
permanent above ground storage sites. Consolidated storage also opens the threat that
spent fuel will be reprocessed. Reprocessing spent fuel separates weapons-usable plutonium from the
other elements in the fuel and the resulting stockpiles of plutonium are a
proliferation risk. Reprocessing is also extremely dirty, creating new highly radioactive waste
streams that we don’t know how to manage. In fact, radioactive waste from reprocessing during the Manhattan
Project still threatens the Columbia River in Washington State and the Savannah
River between South Carolina and Georgia. The best immediate way to address currently overpacked cooling pools
is to transfer spent nuclear fuel into “dry casks,” a system called Hardened On-Site Storage. Casks at each reactor
site must be hardened against terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Ultimately, the only solution to nuclear
waste is to stop creating it.
This card shows that nuclear waste is lethal and highly radioactive and that the ultimate
solvent for it is to stop creating it with nuclear power.
Because nuclear power is dangerous to not only the people, but also the environment,
we should prohibit nuclear power to keep people safer and happier, voting for the neg is
a vote for damaging and harmful nuclear waste, energy insecurity, risk of catastrophic
nuclear accidents, and a decrease in quality of human health, happiness, and safety.
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