Nuclear Energy

Topics: Nuclear power, Nuclear fission, Chernobyl disaster Pages: 8 (3024 words) Published: June 23, 2013
Can Nuclear Energy Be the Answer?
It is only possible to mitigate global warming if the world-wide consumption of fossil fuels can be drastically reduced in the next 10 to 15 years. There is simply no room for a scenario as it is depicted by Lester R. Brown in the book Plan B 4.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization. The scenario plays out like a horror movie, poverty, depleted water supply, food shortages, terrorism, over population, disastrous floods, erratic changes in ocean currents and global warming. What is causing global warming? Carbon dioxide and other air pollution that is collecting in the atmosphere like a thickening blanket, trapping the sun's heat and causing the planet to warm up. Coal-burning power plants are the largest United States source of carbon dioxide pollution -- they produce 2.5 billion tons every year. Automobiles, the second largest source, create nearly 1.5 billion tons of CO2 annually. (Valentinas Mickūnaitis)

The good news is there are many technologies that exist today to allow cars to operate more efficiently and use less gas. In order to reduce the amount of toxins in the atmosphere, older power plants need to be modernized and we need to reduce our electricity by putting into practice energy efficiency, these are just some suggestions to lowering the levels of CO2, we have to make sure they are implemented. Politicians are especially attracted to the restoration of nuclear power as a possible solution to averting global warming. When the subject of global warming is discussed and the methods to reduce it, it is out of the ordinary that the focus is put on the pros of nuclear power generation, and its disadvantages are rarely mentioned. As the discussion of renewing nuclear power is examined, the subject over the pros and cons top the list of dispute. Regardless of the apprehensions and concerns over nuclear energy, there are many advantages in regards to the environment, the economy and our future generations. The use of nuclear energy is becoming more prevalent.

Nuclear energy is one of the most efficient sources of energy available. It produces more energy than any other fuel of the same mass or volume. (Hibbs) One of the many benefits of nuclear energy is that it emits very little pollutants that are harmful to the air. Nuclear energy could be the answer our planet is looking for to deter a potential disaster: cataclysmic climate change. With our need to satisfy the growing demand for power, it would seem that nuclear energy is the only comprehensive, economical source of energy to produce power which can also diminish carbon dioxide emissions

Nuclear energy is an idea that came from the Soviet Union in 1954 when the first nuclear power plant became operational. (Long) As of March 30, 2012 in 31 countries, 436 nuclear power plants were in the world. One hundred-four of those resided in the United States. Fifteen countries in the world receive at least 30% of their energy from nuclear power. France is the leader, receiving over 77% of their energy from nuclear power plants. Japan follows France with a 33% dependence on nuclear energy, 26% in the United Kingdom, and 20% in the United States. (Nuclear Power Plants, World-Wide) The nuclear industry reports construction costs in the range of $2,500 - $6000 per installed kilowatt (kW); the growing costs are being attributed to the corresponding rise in costs of steel, concrete and uranium. (David Haarmeyer) There are currently 30 new nuclear units planned to be constructed in the United States.

The estimates of construction cost for new nuclear power plants are unclear and have risen considerably in the past 10 to 15 years. Currently, total cost approximations of new nuclear units, including appreciation and financing costs, will be in the range of $5,500/kW to $8,100/kW or between $6 billion and $9 billion for each 1,100 MW plant. The Chinese Nuclear Power Industry has won contracts to build new plants of their own...

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