Nuclear Power: Problem or Solution

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Nuclear power is complicated. A nuclear power plant provides energy that does not contribute to global warming. Climate concerns have seen a rise in the construction of new reactors to address growing demands of electricity worldwide. Currently the United States and Canada receive 20% of their electric power from nuclear plants. The rest of the world is at 6% but rising. The benefits drive the nuclear energy movement and continue to do so and the proponents of nuclear power see this as an indispensable solution in reducing the consumption of conflict-ridden fossil fuels. Opponents of nuclear power also make a strong case citing cost, safety and justified global concern of waste storage and the potential for nuclear weapons in areas where terrorism is a major concern. These plants provide the uranium and plutonium regarded as critical components of nuclear weapons. This will be discussed in depth in this paper. This paper will also detail the benefits and detriments of the future growth of nuclear power plants across the globe. The first uses of nuclear technology were the bombs dropped in Japan in the 1940’s. In the 1950’s physicists and engineers harnessed this power and presented it as a less costly and an alternative form of energy. Nuclear power plants were built with an eye to safety; this was the main concern early on. The 103 reactors in the U.S. today supply 25% more electricity than 109 reactors did a decade ago. This has been achieved through improvements in management, reliability and productivity. In 2010, Taking Sides, Clashing Views on Environmental Issues states that favorability to nuclear energy was running at 67% of Americans in favor of using this technology. The gap of people against this was closing. These companies were being seen as valuable and all operating licenses were being renewed. Impressive gains in output and reliability at many nuclear power plants have the industry looking to build more plants. Nuclear power is


References: Cunningham W.P. & Cunningham M.A. (2008). Principles of Environmental Science: Inquiry & Applications (4th Ed.). McGraw-Hill Inc. Easton, T.A. (2010). Taking Sides, Clashing Views on Environmental Issues (13th edition). McGraw-Hill Inc. Miller, G.T., Spoolman, S. (2009). Sustaining the Earth: an integrated approach, What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy. Cengage Learning, Inc. Hutzler, C., & Yamaguchi, M. (2011). End to Japan Nuclear Crisis is Years, a Fortune Away. The Associated Press. Retrieved on April 9, 2011 from http://www.aolnews.com/2011/04/09/end-to-japan-nuclear-crisis-is-years-a-fortune-away/ The Council on Foreign Relations has an interactive Nuclear Energy Guide that was retrieved from http://www.cfr.org/interactives/IG_Nuclear/index.html?gclid=CMfBud7thagCFUiK4Aod6kY-pA* Lai, L. & Morrison, K. (2011). Nuclear Energy Fact Sheet. Retrieved on April 25, 2011 from Sheethttp://www.wagingpeace.org/menu/issues/nuclear-energy-&-waste/nuclear-energy-fact-sheet.htm

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