Radiation in Mass. Water: Discussing nuclear power safety

§ March 28th, 2011 § Filed under Current Events, English Language Arts, High School, Media criticism, Science § No Comments

More than two weeks after Japan’s natural disaster that triggered a near nuclear disaster, radioactive rainwater has been discovered in Massachusetts. But according to today’s Boston Herald article “Radioactive Rain in Mass.,” the level of radiation found in Massachusetts water is low and cannot harm humans.

Activity
Read the Boston Herald story “Radioactive Rain in Mass.” by O’Ryan Johnson. Then discuss the article with your class, as well as the safety of nuclear power plants in our country.

For additional information about nuclear power, including a list of nuclear power plants in the United States, visit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s website.

Key Discussion Questions

  • Do you feel comfortable drinking tap water? Will you continue to use it after today’s findings?
  • Do you think people will rush to stock up on bottled water even though only low levels of radiation were found in Massachusetts?
  • Why do you think experts are not releasing the city where they found the radioactive water?
  • Did you expect the nuclear situation in Japan to affect Massachusetts?
  • After the disaster in Japan, some people are questioning the safety of nuclear power plants in the United States. Do you think we should review the safety of our nuclear power plants and determine if we need additional protection against natural disasters?
  • Do you think we should use nuclear power? If not, what other source of energy should we use?

This activity is designed for students in grades 9-12. It can complement science, English Language Arts, media criticism, and current events classes.

Please review the article prior to sharing it with your students, as the Boston Herald is written for all audiences.

Contact Julie Burridge if you need help finding the article for discussion.

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