Nuclear Energy Pros And Cons List
The United States is currently home to over 100 nuclear power plants. These power plants are responsible for the generation of over 20 percent of the nation’s energy. Nuclear energy has great potential, but with that potential comes certain pitfalls. The following is a deeper look into the pros and cons.
List of Pros of Nuclear Energy
1. Lower Costs
While the initial investment required to build a nuclear power plant is considerable, as well as the costs of processing the fuel, nuclear energy is quite cost effective when compared to other forms of energy, such as coal and gasoline. The electricity generated in a nuclear reactor is much less expensive than electricity generated from other sources.
2. Less Pollution
In terms of pollution, other forms of energy should be replaced with nuclear power. Nuclear energy has a much less profound effect on the environment as compared to more widely used forms of energy and should be considered an ally during our current climate crisis.
Uranium is the primary source of fuel for nuclear power plants and we currently have enough in reserve to last for several decades to come. However, thorium is also believed to be a useful source of fuel for nuclear power plants and is a much greener alternative. Countries all over the world, including Russia and China, are already making plans to use thorium to fuel their reactors.
Nuclear energy also has the ability to be the wave of the future when it comes to harnessing renewable forms of energy. Scientists are bullish on the prospect of using nuclear fusion and if they are able to control atomic fusion, we could be left with an inexhaustible energy supply for future generations to enjoy.
List of Cons of Nuclear Energy
1. Increase In Accidents
The presence of nuclear power plants leads to accidents, which can cause serious problems for the areas where nuclear power plants are located. When humans are exposed to nuclear radiation, the effects are typically long term, as we all saw during the Chernobyl incident. It is believed that close to 30,000 people perished during Chernobyl, with untold millions continuing to experience side effects today.
Japan also recently experienced an accident with one of their nuclear power plants. While civilian casualties were limited, the resulting effects on the surrounding environment were disastrous. There is no foolproof method to prevent these calamities.
2. Radioactive Waste
While a nuclear power plant does not release large amounts of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere, the process of turning the nuclear power into fuel can lead to an increase in radioactive waste. Mining and enrichment can cause certain issues. Management of the radioactive waste can also be problematic, as there is no way of guaranteeing its complete removal.