Advantages and Disadvantages Nuclear Power:
The advantages and disadvantages the nuclear power have made these alternative energy source one of the most controversial in the market today. Advocates for and against nuclear power are equally passionate about their cause.
Understanding the pros & cons of these energy sources can help you make more informed decisions about your own energy use.
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What Is Nuclear Power?
Nuclear energy or power is created by splitting uranium or plutonium atoms through chains of reactions in nuclear reactors through processes called nuclear fissions. The energy released from splitting atoms is used to heat the water into steam.
This steam is then turned into a turbine, which creates usable electricity. Researchers have recently discovered that thorium’s another fuel that can be used for nuclear power. It is already being used in countries like India and Russia. Now that we know what nuclear power is and how it can be used let’s take a closer look at its pros & cons.
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Advantages of Nuclear Power:
The generation of electricity through nuclear power reduces the amount of energy generated from fossil fuels (coal and oil). Less use of fossil fuels means reducing greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 & others). Currently, fossil fuel is consumed fasters than they are produced, so in the next future, these resources may be depleted, or the price may be inaccessible to most of the population.
Another advantage is the amount of fuel required: less fuel provides more energy. This represents a significant saving on raw materials, but also in the transportation, handling, and extraction of nuclear fuel. The cost of nuclear fuel (total uranium) is 20% of the cost of the generated energy.
The production of electrical energy is continuous.
A nuclear power plant generates electricity about 90% of the time annually. It reduces the volatility of the price of other fuels like petrol. This continuity benefits electrical planning. Nuclear powers do not depend on natural aspects. It is a solution to the main disadvantages of renewable energy, such as solar power or eolic energy, because sun or wind hours do not always coincide with more energy-demanding hours.
It is an alternative to fossils fuels, so fuel consumption such as coal or oil is reduced—this reduction in coal and oil consumption benefits in the face of global warming & global climate change. By reducing the consumption of fossils fuels, we also improve the quality of air that affects disease and quality of life. We come straight to the point without wasting any time.
In these sections, we are going to get acquainted with the seven most important benefits of using nuclear energy and expand our pieces of knowledge in this regard. Quick Google searches reveal that there are many others advantages to using & harnessing nuclear power. Buts in this article, we will only focus on the most important of these pros.
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#1. Nuclear Power Is a Clean Energy Source
Nuclear powers are the largest sources of clean energy not only in the United States but also in many European countries. Nuclear powers generate more than 800 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year in the U.S. and produce more than 55% of the nation’s emissions-free electricity.
This avoids over 470 million metric tons of carbon each year, which is equivalent to removing 100 million cars from the road. Thermal energy forms nuclear reactors can also be used to decarbonize other energy-intensive sectors such as transportation – the biggest contributor to carbon pollution.
#2. Nuclear Power Is Reliable
While some energy sources are dependent on weather conditions, such as solar and wind power, nuclear power has no such constraints. It doesn’t matter if the wind is not blowing or if the days are cloudy. A nuclear powers plant is essentially unaffected by external climatic factors and produces predictable and stable energy.
A nuclear power plant in a full-swing operation can produce energy for a full year without stopping, which gives a good return on investment as there is no delay in power generation.
Nuclear powers plant is also reliable because we have enough uranium on the planet to generate energy for the next 70-80 years. While this may not sound like a long time, it is longer than many fossil fuels, and other nuclear power sources are being explored to power nuclear power plants.
#3. Nuclear Power Has Zero Carbon Emissions
Nuclear power reactors do not emit any carbon. These are a huge advantage over traditional sources of energy such as fossil fuels, which release tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Excess carbon dioxide is one of the major causes of climate change. Therefore, the fewer carbon and greenhouse gas emissions an energy source has, the better. In fact, according to the Atomic Energy Institute, nuclear power generation prevents the release of 528 million metric tons of carbons dioxide into the atmosphere annually.
#4. Nuclear Power Is Promising Futures Energy Supply
Nuclear fusions are the holy grails of harnessing energy. If we could learn to control the nuclear fusion, we could have practically unlimited energy.
At the moment, these methods have some serious challenges that need to be worked outs if we are to start using them on the larges scale. However, it is important to take its potential into account when thinking about future energy production.
#5. Nuclear Power Creates Jobs
The nuclear industry supports about half a million jobs in the United States and generates jobs in the U.S. each year. Contributes an estimated $60 billion to billion to U.S. gross domestic products each year. U.S. Nuclear the plant can employ up to 700 workers with salaries 30% above the local average. They contributed billions of dollars annually to local economies throughs federal & states tax revenues.
#6. Nuclear Power Is Supply of Energy with Good Availability
Like fossils fuels, the uranium used to supply nuclear power plants is in limited supply. However, our uranium reserves are projected to last for the next 80 years, whereas fossil fuels have a much more limited lifetime.
Since the Industrials Revolution, we have been steadily and steadily depleting our fossil fuel reserves. If we continue to consume fossil fuels & increase our consumption as the world population grows, it is estimated that there will be shortages of oil by 2052, gas by 2060, and coal by 2088. Of course, we have yet to discover more fossil fuels, but they are few and far between and will eventually run out.
Switching to uranium may give us additional time to find better and cleaner renewable energy resources. In addition, some countries such as India, China, & Russia are already working towards using greener & more abundant thorium’s to power nuclear reactors.
If we switch to the thorium, we will have more than 80 years of fuel available. However, if a scientist can turn nuclear fusions into reality, we will theoretically never run out of electricity. To convert nuclear energy into sustainable energy, we need to use breeder reactors and nuclear fusion to sustain us for the foreseeable future.
#7. Nuclear Power Possesses High Energy Density
In our list of the pros and cons of nuclear power, this advantage is quite surprising. Nuclear fission, a process used to generate nuclear power, releases much greater amounts of energy than simply burning fossils fuels such as gas, oil, or coal.
How much more efficient? Nuclear fission is about 8,000 times more efficient in producing energy than conventional fossil fuels. This is a considerable amount of energy density. Since nuclear power is more efficient, it requires less fuel to power the plant and, therefore, also produces less waste.
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Disadvantages of Nuclear Power:
Previously discussed the benefit of using nuclear power to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. Organizations often use these arguments in favor of nuclear power, but it is only partially true.
Most of the fossil fuel consumption is due to road transport, which is used to heat engines, cars, trucks, etc. The savings in fossil fuels for electricity generation are quite small. Despite the high degree of sophistication of the protection systems of nuclear power plants, the human aspect has always had an impact.
Facing unexpected events or managing nuclear accidents, we have no guarantee that the decisions we make are always the best. Chernobyl and Fukushima are two good examples. The Chernobyl nuclear accident is the deadliest nuclear accident in history. Isolated wrong decisions during the management of the nuclear plant led to a major nuclear explosion.
Referring to the Fukushima nuclear accidents, the operations carried out by the staff were highly suspicious. The Fukushima nuclear accident is the second largest in history. One of the main disadvantages is difficulty in managing nuclear waste. It takes many years to eliminate the radioactivity & risks. Manufactured nuclear reactors have an expiration date.
Then, they would have to be dismantled so that the main nuclear power-producing countries could maintain the number of reactors operating regularly. They are to build about 80 new nuclear reactors during the next ten years. Nuclear plants have a limited life.
The investment for the construction of nuclear plants is very high and must be recovered at the earliest, hence increasing the cost of the electricity generated. In other words, the energy generated is cheaper than the cost of fuel, but the recovery of its manufacture is much more expensive. Nuclear power plants are the objects of terrorist organizations.
Nuclear power plants generate external dependencies. Many countries do not have uranium mines, and not all countries have nuclear technology, so they have to keep both things abroad.
Current nuclear reactors work by nuclear fission reactions.
These chain reactions occur when case-control systems fail, producing continuous reactions that lead to a radioactive explosion that would be nearly impossible to contain. From the costs of manufacturing types of equipment to the devastating effects, it has on our living environments. Let’s take closers look at some of the most important ill effects of nuclear power in our lives.
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#1. It Has Environmental Impacts and Consequences
Although nuclear power plants emit zero carbon emissions, nuclear power still has a significant impact on the environment, primarily through the mining and water discharge. The uranium used to produce nuclear power has to be mined.
Any kind of mining damages the surrounding area. Uranium mining is particularly known for releasing arsenic & radon. These have had negative impacts on the healths of people living near the uranium mines, which largely include members of the Navajo Nation.
Nuclear power plants also produce something called ‘thermal pollution. The most nuclear power plant is located on a body of water like a lake or ocean. The power plant uses lake or ocean water, called cooling water, to condense the steam back into the water.
This process causes the temperature of the cold water to rinse, and then it is released back into the body of water. This warm water, typically around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, significantly alters the chemistry of the ocean or lake, making it habitable for most aquatic life.
#2. Nuclear Power Equipment Is the Expensive to Build
The Despites being relatively inexpensive to operate, nuclear power plants are incredibly expensive to build – and the cost keeps rising. The estimated costs of building nuclear plants increased from $2–$4 billion to $9 billion from 2002 to 2008, and power plants often exceed their cost estimates during construction.
In addition to the cost of building a power plant, nuclear plants must allocate funds to protect the waste they produce and store it in a cold structure with safety procedures. All these costs make nuclear power quite expensive.
#3. Accidents Are Likely
Nuclear powers plants have very strict safety measures in place. However, accidents can happen no matter carefully you are. Nuclear plant meltdown can have devastating effects on surrounding areas, which we know from events such as the Fukushima disaster, Chernobyl, & Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. In the event of nuclear meltdowns, harmful radiation can leak out, which can adversely affect the environment and human health.
The 1986 incident at Chernobyl eventually resulted in thousands of deaths, with an estimated 4,000 to 60,000 deaths as a result of the event. Not only this, more than two million people are still suffering from health problems related to Chernobyl.
Today, more than 30 years later, access is still limited within the 19-mile Chernobyl exclusion zone. However, important to note that this type of accident is rare. Furthermore, several studies show that the fossil fuel industry is significantly more lethal than the nuclear industry, even when you include a catastrophe like Chernobyl.
#4. Nuclear Power Carries Radioactive Waste
Although nuclear power generation produces no emissions, it does produce radioactive waste that must be stored safely so that it does not pollute the environment.
While radiation may sound scary, the air we breathe is constantly exposed to small amounts of radioactivity from cosmic rays or radon. In small amounts, the radiation is not harmful – but radioactive waste from nuclear power generation is incredibly dangerous. The storage of radioactive wastes is the major challenge facing nuclear power plants.
Because there is no way to destroy nuclear wastes, the current solution is to seal them securely in containers & store them deep underground where they cannot contaminate the environment. As technology improves, we expect to find better ways of storing radioactive waste in the future.
#5. It Is Non-Renewable
Renewable energy resources are defined as sources of energy that do not expire when used or which can be replenished within human lifetimes. Solar power is an example of a renewable resource because as soon as we convert solar energy into usable electricity, we do not reduce the power of the sun. On the other hand, nuclear powers are a non-renewable energy source.
This is because the fuels used in nuclear reactors, uranium, are a limited resource. As we mine uranium, we deplete the amount available, and no more will be produced in a human lifetime.
Right now, experts believe there are about 200 years of uranium available, assuming we remain at the same rate of nuclear production. But, if we become more dependent on nuclear power in the future, the supply of uranium will run out rapidly, which could cause problems in the coming years.
#6. It Can Be a Source of Security Threat
Nuclear power presents unique threats to our national security as it is powered by nuclear power. Terrorists can target nuclear power plants to create disaster, and the uranium used to generate electricity can be turned into a nuclear weapon if they fall into the wrong hands. For these reasons, the safety of nuclear materials and around nuclear power plants is of utmost importance.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Advantages and Disadvantages Nuclear Power
As with any energy source, renewable or non-renewable, there are pros and cons to using nuclear energy.
Advantages of Nuclear Power
- Nuclear Power Is a Clean Energy Source
- Nuclear Power Is Reliable
- Nuclear Power Has Zero Carbon Emissions
- Nuclear Power Is Promising Futures Energy Supply
- Nuclear Power Creates Jobs
- Nuclear Power Is a Supply of Energy with Good Availability
- Nuclear Power Possesses High Energy Density
Benefits of Nuclear Power
- One of the most low-carbon energy sources.
- It also has one of the smallest carbon footprints.
- It’s one of the answers to the energy gap.
- It’s essential to our response to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reliable and cost-effective.
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