"The splitting of the atom is arguably one of humanity’s greatest technological achievements. The atom was long thought to be the smallest possible unit of matter, its name deriving from the ancient Greek for "uncuttable." Then, in the early 20th century, scientists found a way to divide large atoms by bombarding them with wayward neutrons, releasing a colossal amount of energy. Not only can this process generate large amounts of heat and power, but it can do so without emitting climate-warming gases.
Unfortunately, almost as soon as this breakthrough was achieved, it was misused. At first, it was misused intentionally, as a means of violence. This summer marked the 75th anniversary of the United States’ bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 100,000 to 200,000 people in Japan. That was the only use of atomic weapons in a military conflict, but the specter of the atomic bomb has loomed large ever since, particularly during the Cold War.
Nuclear technology also has been misused unintentionally, due to negligence and poor design. Accidents such as Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima have raised doubts about nuclear’s potential as a clean and reliable power source."
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