Nuclear Energy Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2543 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Energy  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The expectations of increased cost estimates and lack of adequate construction and engineering skills prove that building and maintaining a nuclear power plant is relatively a more expensive process that would require costly taxpayer subsidies. For example, the development of two new nuclear power plant reactors in southeast Florida cost between $6 billion and $9 billion for each plant. Therefore, the development and maintenance of nuclear power plants to produce electricity cannot be supported in terms of costs because it enforces an unacceptable high price of consumers.

Safety:

The second major point for determining whether we should adopt and depend on nuclear energy as a long-term viable alternative is safety or security. Proponents argue that nuclear power plants are safer than in the past though many people continue to live in the warped perspective of previous nuclear power accidents. The modern nuclear power plants are much safer because regulators used past accidents to enhance safety. This resulted in establishment of more safety features, improved training of plant personnel, and redesign of reactors to lessen chances of occurrence of accidents. Moreover, they state that the likelihood of hostile nations or terrorists to use nuclear material to develop atomic weapons will not be solved by turning away from nuclear energy.

Even though the safety of nuclear power plants has increased, many countries do not have strong mechanisms for regulating nuclear safety. In reality, the whole nuclear power industry is increasingly susceptible to safety standards. Moreover, the expansion of nuclear power plants could contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons since by-product of these power plants can be converted into nuclear bombs. Nuclear power plants are also likely to become the target of armies and terrorist because they contain plutonium, which is the most life-destroying component known to humanity (Williams, par, 5). The threats to safety emanating from nuclear proliferation is attributed to the fact that reprocessing, which is a crucial process in these plants, can produce separated plutonium that is easier to divert to or steal for production of weapons of mass destruction. In essence, there is an intimate and unavoidable link between nuclear energy and nuclear weapon. These safety issues prove that nuclear energy should not be considered as a long-term viable solution to the problem of climate change and increased need for energy security.

The absence of proper policies and measures to prevent risks associated with nuclear power plants makes it difficult to consider adopting nuclear energy as a long-term viable solution. There are several real-world examples showing these increased risks including the leakage of nearly 100 tons of highly radioactive water from a storage tank at Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. This incident followed another one in the same nuclear plant in which six employees were accidentally soaked in radioactive water. The other examples are the 1979 accident in Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear power plant and the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine in 1986.

Environment:

Waste disposal is a major issue for the nuclear industry because of its potential impacts on the environment. Proponents of nuclear power have suggested that the most effective way of disposing waste is deep underground where radioactive materials can be barred from having any contact and effects on the environment. Moreover, storage in deep pools next to the nuclear power plants is regarded adequately safe to meet the needs of the nuclear future well into the future. Therefore, nuclear energy is regarded as a better option for generating electricity without emission of huge amounts of toxic pollution or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It is regarded as a safer alternative to solve the problem of global climate change.

Despite claims that nuclear energy is clean air energy, nuclear power plants are not considerable improvement over traditional coal-burning power plants. Plant construction, uranium mining, leeching, decommissioning, and milling in nuclear power plants all generate considerable amounts of greenhouse gases. These power plants will contribute significantly to climate change and global warming because of carbon-equivalent emissions associated with the whole nuclear fuel life cycle. The increase in global warming from these plants will be brought by depletion of stock-piles of high-grade uranium. Nuclear power plants require large areas of land; its construction can influence local animals. The mining of nuclear resources also lead to potential environmental hazards since we cannot handle its waste perfectly.

Better Alternatives:

In addition to these factors, nuclear energy is not a suitable alternative for energy security and the problem of climate change because of the existence of better alternative i.e. wind and solar power. These alternatives are not only clean and renewable but they do not have problems associated with renewable energy sources including nuclear power. These better alternatives are cheaper and increasingly getting cheaper whereas nuclear power is more expensive and getting more costly. While these alternatives may not be available for 24 hours daily, the development of new technology is addressing the problem.

Conclusion:

While there are logical reasons and arguments to support development of nuclear energy, there is a strong case against such measures. There are several challenges and issues associated with using nuclear energy as a long-term viable solution to energy security needs and means of addressing the problem of climate change. Some of these reasons include the major issues facing the nuclear industry, potential environmental hazards, economics, and safety. Therefore, while nuclear energy offers a suitable alternative to address some of the existing problems in the energy sector, it is also associated with equal number of challenges and problems. There are better alternatives than nuclear energy that can address the current problems and needs.

Works Cited:

Adamson, Greg. We All Live on Three Mile Island: The Case against Nuclear Power. Sydney: Pathfinder, 1981. Print.

"The Case against Nuclear Power and the Case for Real Solutions to Energy Security and Climate Change." Greenpeace International. GREENPEACE. Web. 31 May 2014. .

Totty, Michael. "The Case For and Against Nuclear Power." The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 30 June 2008. Web. 31 May 2014. .

Williams, Chris. "The Case against Nuclear Power." ISR - International Socialist Review. The Center for Economic Research and Social Change. Web.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Nuclear Energy.  (2014, May 31).  Retrieved February 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/nuclear-energy/992793

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"Nuclear Energy."  Essaytown.com.  May 31, 2014.  Accessed February 16, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/nuclear-energy/992793.