The Task

Groups working on this task are reminded that they must first offer an abstract or summary to introduce / induct the reader to the event before offering their answers to the questions.


1. Methods of deduction – implications?
2. Number of tests – consequences?
3. What do you foresee will be the greatest problem with having nuclear energy in the world?

Risks & Dangers of Nuclear Testing

Adapted from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Proliferation Risks

1) The technology for producing nuclear energy that is shared among nations, particularly the process that turns raw uranium into lowly-enriched uranium, can also be used to produce highly-enriched, weapons-grade uranium.

2) The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is responsible for monitoring the world’s nuclear facilities and for preventing weapons proliferation, but their safeguards have serious shortcomings. Though the IAEA is promoting additional safeguards agreements to increase the effectiveness of their inspections, the agency acknowledges that, due to measurement uncertainties, it cannot detect all possible diversions of nuclear material. (Nuclear Control Institute)

Risk of Accident

1)On April 26, 1986 the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl power plant (in the former U.S.S.R., present-day Ukraine) exploded, causing the worst nuclear accident ever.

2)30 people were killed instantly, including 28 from radiation exposure, and a further 209 on site were treated for acute radiation poisoning.

3)The World Health Organization found that the fallout from the explosion was incredibly far-reaching. For a time, radiation levels in Scotland, over 1400 miles (about 2300 km) away, were 10,000 times the norm.

4)Thousands of cancer deaths were a direct result of the accident.

5)The accident cost the former Soviet Union more than three times the economic benefits accrued from the operation of every other Soviet nuclear power plant operated between 1954 and 1990.

6)In March of 1979 equipment failures and human error contributed to an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the worst such accident in U.S. history. Consequences of the incident include radiation contamination of surrounding areas, increased cases of thyroid cancer, and plant mutations.

Environmental Degradation

1)The mining of uranium, as well as its refining and enrichment, and the production of plutonium produce radioactive isotopes that contaminate the surrounding area, including the groundwater, air, land, plants, and equipment. As a result, humans and the entire ecosystem are adversely and profoundly affected.

2)Some of these radioactive isotopes are extraordinarily long-lived, remaining toxic for hundreds of thousands of years.

3)A typical reactor will generate 20 to 30 tons of high-level nuclear waste annually. There is no known way to safely dispose of this waste, which remains dangerously radioactive until it naturally decays.

Latest Nuclear Tests


Telltale gas confirms Korean nuclear test news service
23 Oct 2007
Catherine Brahic

Unusually high levels of a radioactive noble gas detected in northern Canada are final confirmation that North Korea detonated a nuclear device underground in October 2006, say UN researchers.
The result demonstrates that a UN system to monitor nuclear explosions worldwide is up and running, and able to "sniff" such events from a great distance. Atmospheric levels of an isotope of the noble gas xenon suggest the test was relatively small and carried out underground.

On 3 October 2006, the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea announced that it was going to conduct a nuclear test.
On 9 October 2006, seismic monitoring stations detected a tremor, and the US Geological Survey determined that it had originated in North Korea, suggesting that the test had been carried out. Unfortunately, seismic data is not able to differentiate between nuclear and other types of explosion, such as those used in mining.

The North Korean government confirmed this, but scientists said they would reserve final judgement regarding the size and nature of the explosion, preferring to defer to seismic data combined with chemical evidence, rather than rely on the government's claims.

Nuclear Tests

What is it?

Nuclear tests are experiments carried out to determine the effectiveness, yield and explosive capability of nuclear weapons. Additionally, nuclear testing has often been used as an indicator of scientific and military strength, and many tests have been overtly political in their intention.
The Earth exploded into the nuclear age on 16 July 1945.On that day, the US tested a completely new type of weapon in the New Mexico desert. Crafted from a tennis-ball-sized plutonium sphere, the Trinity bomb produced an explosion equivalent to 20,000 tonnes of TNT.

Sixty years on, tens of thousands of tonnes of plutonium and enriched uranium have been produced. The global nuclear arsenal stands at about 27,000 bombs. Nine countries very probably possess nuclear weapons, while 40 others have access to the materials and technology to make them.

But nuclear technology has also been used for peaceful means. The first nuclear reactor to provide electricity to a national grid opened in England in 1956. Now, 442 reactors in 32 nations generate 16% of the world’s electricity.
Nuclear power has been championed as a source of cheap energy. But this was undermined at the end of the 20th century by high-profile reactor accidents, the problems of radioactive waste disposal, competition from more-efficient electricity sources and unavoidable links to nuclear weapons proliferation. Nonetheless, growing evidence for global warming had led some to argue that nuclear power is the only way to generate power without emitting greenhouse gases.