Robots have been envisioned as “warriors” of the future. There are countless movies and cartoons that depict robots as being all powerful and invincible. So what happens when today’s robots are not able to stand up to this expectation?
They die. Literally. Their parts malfunction and fail, just as at the end of our lives our organs fail to provide the processes necessary for living.
Japan’s earthquake in 2011 was short and long-term devastating. Short-term, thousands of people lost their lives and homes. Long-term, the tsunami triggered by the earthquake destroyed Fukushima’s nuclear reactor plant and large amounts of radioactive material and waste (as a result of nuclear fission) are being handled and stored. This article shows our ultimate fear: robots rendered useless in the face of highly radioactive material.
What’s the big worry? First let’s define some terms.
Nuclear power plant: A plant where nuclear fission is used to create heat (a coal power plant burns coal, which produces large amounts of CO2, to create heat).
Nuclear fission: This is the process of splitting an atom. This split produces heat; this is the heat that nuclear plants use. This process produces radioactive material.
Radioactive: This describes an element that emits ionized (an amount of electrons different from the natural amount of electrons) particles. When these ionized particles come into contact with life forms like humans, the particles disrupt the amount of electrons within all the atoms that our bodies. This disruption can either cause mutations in our DNA or kill cells on direct contact.
When the processes of a nuclear plant, like Fukushima’s, are disrupted, the nuclear fission process and radioactive material management get out of control and can produce irreversible amounts of damage. Why should we depend on these damaging processes for electricity? Let’s abandon turbines needing steam and use natural winds to turn turbines. Let’s abandon burning coal for heat and capture the sunlight that we wake up to every day. Let’s use the movement, not the steam, of the water that covers 98% of Earth and power generators to give us electricity.
For more in depth detail on nuclear plants and nuclear power, you can read the article “How Nuclear Power Works.” For more information on how radioactive materials can harm our bodies, you can read the article “How Does Nuclear Radiation Harm the Body?“