A NUCLEAR-FREE FUTURE
Written by: Regina Dideles
Less than a century ago, nuclear power was invented. In the 1930s, Enrico Fermi, a physicist, discovered that neutrons could split atoms. Less than a decade later, the Manhattan Project was founded to produce nuclear weapons during World War II. More than 20 years later, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or USACE built Camp Century in Greenland, posed as a scientific expedition. Still, it is also a testing site for nuclear missiles for the Cold War within the underlying terms. Nuclear is recent history, but climate change is not. How is the nuclear threat different from others? Why is it a problem that only a few people know and acknowledge?
Nuclear power is in the countries with the most resources, like the USA and Russia. North Korea is also included as it is a country known for having nuclear tests broadcasted on national television. These countries hold a lot of power with the changes that happen in the world. Then again, not every person knows how to be responsible with the power that they hold. That is what happened during the building of the Camp Century in Greenland.
Camp Century was disguised as a scientific expedition to further our knowledge about living terms in a cold place. But, it was during the Cold War, the war between the Soviet Union and the USA. It was then found out that it was also used as a secret testing site for nuclear missiles. Then, the US military abandoned the site. Now, it was deep in the ice in Greenland. What will happen if the permafrost and the ice thaw?
Here is a list of countless possibilities that can happen if the permafrost and ice thaw:
Sea levels will rise, and countries will slowly be submerged in the water.
No habitat for animals like polar bears and penguins.
It will release the unknown bacteria to humankind that may unleash an epidemic or, worse, a pandemic that will harm everyone’s lives as the COVID-19 has brought us.
Nuclear waste will once be exposed to the air and can disrupt ecosystems and biodiversities that sprung up for the past 60-70 years after the abandonment of Camp Century.
There are radioactive contents within the ice that are harmful once exposed to air and can harm every life. Yes, this includes humans.
Political disputes will happen over the waste cleaning in the military base.
So, what now? Let’s try not to melt the ice just to clean up the nuclear waste. Countries involved in this project should clean it up and team up with scientists who are experts on atomic things. If it is not resolved now, it will lead to a much more severe problem in the future.