Thursday, April 10, 2014

Emperor & Chernobyl Diaries: Nuclear Power Threats

I truly recommend Emperor. I love the story and the acting. Chernobyl diaries is just a thriller that uses the nuclear power accident in Chernobyl as a reason for startling the audience. Both scenes are great!

I. Half of the class (A)  reads the pros and the other half (B) read the cons of nuclear power use and investment. Then students A and B pair up to share what they read. Pairs must decide, then, whether nuclear power plants are worth-investing in. They must be able to justify their answers.


  • Lower carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) released into the atmosphere in power generation.
  • Low operating costs (relatively).
  • Large power-generating capacity able to meet industrial and city needs (as opposed to low-power technologies like solar that might meet only local, residential, or office needs but cannot generate power for heavy manufacturing).
  • Existing and future nuclear waste can be reduced through waste recycling and reprocessing, similar to Japan and the EU (at added cost).


  • High construction costs due to complex radiation containment systems and procedures.
  • High subsidies needed for construction and operation, as well as loan guarantees.
  • Subsidies and investment could be spent on other solutions (such as renewable energy systems).
  • High-known risks in an accident.
  • Unknown risks.
  • Long construction time.
  • Target for terrorism (as are all centralized power generation sources).
  • Uranium sources are just as finite as other fuel sources, such as coal, natural gas, etc., and are expensive to mine, refine, and transport, and produce considerable environmental waste (including greenhouse gasses) during all of these processes.
  • The majority of known uranium around the world lies under land controlled by tribes or indigenous peoples who don’t support it being mined from the earth.
  • The legacy of environmental contamination and health costs for miners and mines has been catastrophic.
  • Waste lasts 200 – 500 thousand years.
  • There are no operating long-term waste storage sites in most countries. 
  • Shipping nuclear waste internationally poses an increased potential threat to interception to terrorism (though this has not happened yet with any of the waste shipped by other countries). Increasing the amount of waste shipped, particularly in less secure countries, is seen as a significant increase in risk to nuclear terrorism.

II. Watch the segment from the movie Chernobyl Diaries and discuss the questions.

1. Describe the scene.

2. What happened in Chernobyl? Why are these tourists there?

3. Would you like to visit such a place? Why (not)?

4. Is it a good example of what can happen with nuclear power plants or was it just an accident that will not happen again?

III.  Watch the segment from the movie Emperor and discuss the questions:

1. Describe the scene.
2. What happened in Japan?
3. Would you like to visit such a place? Why (not)?
4. Is it a good example of what can happen with nuclear power use or was it just a moment in history that will not happen again?
5. What can be done so that nuclear power is not used for war purposes?



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