Advantages And Disadvantages Of Nuclear Energy
Over the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the usage of energy. With the increase of population in correlation with the use of energy, scientists have tried to find new ways to effectively produce large amounts of energy required in the world. However, most energy produced from fossil fuels such as oil and gas, that isn’t renewable and diminishing the world supply quickly, is also damaging our environment. Therefore, the future is nuclear energy because it meets every criterion for sustainability. For example, nuclear energy is more efficient than any other renewable sources, while requiring less maintenance. Furthermore, accessible amounts of the materials used uranium and thorium are transported effortless and is also very cheap. Lastly, there isn’t discharge any ozone depleting substances, for example, carbon dioxide or methane. This prompts new ideas and perspective on the use of nuclear power because it’s an effective solution to all these problems.
To begin, one reason that political, business, and science leaders must consider is that we have made a dramatic switch to renewable resources because eventually we will run out of Earth’s natural resources and it’s cost-effective as well as safe. However, these renewable resources aren’t as efficient when providing energy compared to fossil fuels. Many believe, that we can become sustainable with just solar and wind energy, is not true when it comes to the growing interest in energy. According to U.S Department of Energy, it claims that “nuclear energy has the highest capacity factor of any other energy source.” Based on the data graph, it says “that nuclear energy is a more effective source producing 1.5 to 2 times more than natural gas and 2.5 to 3.5 times more than wind and solar a renewable source.” For example, a nuclear reactor produces 1 gigawatt of electricity, and we can compare this to an average silicon model panel size of 320 watts and the average utility-scale wind turbines size of 2.32 MW. Based on capacity factors, this can’t be easily replaced with a renewable plant or coal as it takes about two times with coal and three to four times with renewable plants. Additionally, when we consider various variables natural gas and coal capacities are lower due to their maintenance. “Nuclear power plants are typically used more often because they require less maintenance and are designed to operate for longer stretches before refueling (typically every 1.5 or 2 years).”(Energy of Department) Renewable resources are referred to as intermittent resource meaning that it isn’t continuously running and are limited. According to this information, you can see multiple drawbacks on the use of fossil fuels and even renewable sources as they lack in energy output and maintenance.
Furthermore, another critical problem that politicians, scientists, and business leaders must face are the economic factors when it comes to energy production. In the assessment of nuclear power, we must take into consideration the value and management of nuclear power materials. When it comes to the raw material a large quantity of thorium and uranium can be used. Nuclear power is relatively cheap compared to other renewable resources but coal is still used because it is the cheapest when directly used.. Coal is, and will continue to be the most attractive economically, when viewed by countries that focused on industrial. Although, nuclear power plants are expensive, they are relatively cheap to run lower than most fossil fuel competitors, and have a low risk of operating cost inflation. According to the World Nuclear Association they claim that “Uranium has the advantage of being a highly concentrated source of energy easily transportable. The quantities needed are very much less than coal or oil. One kilogram of natural uranium will yield about 20,000 times as much energy as the same amount of coal.” The point is that the raw material used for nuclear energy is a very portable and tradeable commodity making it widely available to multiple areas. In the Stewart Brand and Mark Jacobson TED Talk debate according to Stewart Brand he acknowledges“wind like solar is actually a relatively dilute source of energy.” According to this report, this requires various sites along with a decent area to build and implement wind farms and solar panels but are also taking a large footprint using an excessive amount of materials more than needed to produce large amounts of energy. Stewart bolsters his claim by giving an example of Denmark where they have run out of sites to build and have also peaked with the power lines overloading.
Another critical problem politicians, scientists, and business leaders must answer however, is the statistical data on the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that have led to environmental problems such as global warming. According to Florian Petrescu, a Polytechnic University of Bucharest, says “ yearly global carbon emissions from fossil fuels were near to 10,000 gigatonn in the last years and it is steadily increasing 1% per year. Nuclear fission power plants have secured a new large amount of energy needed by our blue planet “(Petrescu 2011). The purpose of this message was to show the direct measurement that can cause effects on our planet. These effects can lead to rising sea levels, warming of ocean surfaces, melting glaciers, and increase of temperatures across the globe. In this article it’s clear we can not take any risks when it comes to protecting are one and only Earth. This is the main reason why renewable sources such as wind and solar are becoming a lot more popular in avoiding carbon emissions. Furthermore, according to the Department of Energy 59 power plants in 30 different states “ accounting for about 60% of the country’s clean energy production.” When it comes to energy efficiency and safety measurements of pollutants released into the air, nuclear energy has shown to prevail. However, when it comes to the topic of nuclear waste most people disagree with the use of nuclear energy because radioactive waste that can be potentially dangerous anywhere if exposed. All forms of electricity produce waste but nuclear produces the most lethal. According to the World Nuclear Association it argues that “Major studies all conclude that nuclear is an exceptionally safe way to produce electricity on an industrial scale. Nuclear has the lowest number of direct fatalities of any major energy source per kWh of energy produced.” The World Nuclear Association believes that nuclear accidents aren’t a daily occurrence but are very rare to happen. Taking this into consideration there should be no worries when it comes to the safety of nuclear incidents.
In conclusion, as I suggested earlier, it’s evident in these sources that nuclear energy provides a future having a clean efficient energy source and is available in all parts of the world, cheap and easy to keep up and run as well as keeping our environment clean from the increase pollutants released into the air every year. Nuclear energy should be heavily looked as a solution for our problems economically, environmentally, and adequately for the future to become stable.