Is nuclear power the answer to the energy crisis?
Submission Date: 29/8/2012
Required Length: 1250-1500
Actual Length: 1291
It is frequently said that nuclear energy is cheaper, safer and more efficient than fossil fuels, and without the effects on air pollution, so it is often seen as a solution to the energy crisis. In 2000, approximately a sixth of the global electricity power was provided by nuclear power. (Boyle, G et al 2003) However, over the last year, there has been the serious accident with a nuclear power plant in Japan, which has draw attention on the nuclear issue once again, as it recalled the devastating disaster of Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986. It needs to be asked whether it is safe enough to be the answer to the energy crisis. From my perspective, exploitation of the nuclear energy have done more harm than good so far. Therefore, how to approach the role of nuclear power in this energy crisis in future is the highest priority.
According to the Sustainable Development commission (2006), there is no energy technology can reach zero carbon emissions currently. Even renewable technologies will lead to carbon emissions during construction. Nuclear power plants are no different. With large demand of product of cement and metal during construction, mining the uranium ore, massive energy inputs on wastes disposal and the uranium enrichment facility, nuclear energy is definitely not green energy like people say so. Moreover, as the by-product during the uranium enrichment processes, HCFC (hydro chlorofluorocarbon), the major contributor of depletion of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, which more or less discharged to the atmosphere though after treatment. Due to the limitation of efficiency, approximately 33% heat utilization ratio (From IAEA 2012), the light water reactor have, a large amount of waste heat are discharged by nuclear plant .For typical nuclear systems, in order to ensure that the...