Is Nuclear Clean Power?

There is much debate over whether or not nuclear energy is a clean form of power.

The debate lies in the trade off between nuclear plants providing less of a carbon foot print as some other forms of energy. However, there are obvious impacts on both the environment and general health of beings nearby nuclear power plants.

Other arguments include the large amount of water consumed to operate nuclear power plants, along with leaks and other water issues, and then the endangerment of several species of plants and animals.

Water Hog

  • Nuclear power plants obtain water from lakes, rivers, aquifers, and the ocean.
  • This is a closed system because a lot of the water is lost to evaporation and is not recycled.
  • Nuclear plants draw nearly eight times the freshwater of natural plants per unit of electricity that they generate. This is 11% more than coal plants.

Species in Danger

  • Salmon in the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest have been known to get sucked into power plants while trying to swim upstream during mating season.
  • Endangered sea turtles of the coast of Florida have also been impacted by Florida Power & Light’s St. Lucie plant on Hutchinson Island.
  • The plant’s intake has brought in more than 16,000 sea turtles since 1976.
    • This plant has also faced issues including harm to swarms of jellyfish.

Leaks and Other Water Issues

  • Nuclear power plants periodically leak pollutants such as radioactive elements such as tritium.
  • Plants near big cities such as New York City and Miami have found traces of tritium in their drinking water at levels above regulation by the EPA.

 

Resources:

NESMITH, SUSANNAH. “Is Nuclear Clean Power?.” Planning, vol. 82, no. 8, Aug/Sep2016, pp. 36-39. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=vth&AN=117223522&site=ehost-live.

Confronting Risks: Regulatory Responsibility and Nuclear Energy

The Nuclear Option

  • Nuclear energy was once hated radically by environmental activists.
  • Today nuclear power is being rethought due to its promise as a more climate-friendly energy option.
  • Overall safety and cost-effectiveness of nuclear power are still considerable arguments in the contrast between the impacts of nuclear power and coal.
  • Even though nuclear power plants have the potential to cause catastrophic accidents, their downsides and risk are worse, but less probably than those of coal.
  • Questions arise such as is the “nuclear option” worth the potential major downsides. Scientists and researchers are also figuring out how to compare the risks associated with nuclear power plants compared against the risks and danger of climate change.

Alternative Solutions

  • There are obviously severe negative and positive aspects to both the continuation and implementation of nuclear power plants along with issues that arise from alternative sources of energy.
  • However, of the safety and cost-effectiveness of renewable forms of energy are accurate than alternative forms of energy are the more ideal solution.
  • Renewable energy options may someday replace fossil fuels entirely. But in the meantime, some scientists argue that the continuation of nuclear plants compared to coal-fired plants are the more ideal solution until renewable forms of energy can meet the world’s needs.
  • We should simply try to live more sustainably in order to act fairly towards one another on this planet earth.

 

Resources

Vanderheiden, Steve. “Confronting Risks: Regulatory Responsibility and Nuclear Energy.” Environmental Politics, vol. 20, no. 5, Sept. 2011, pp. 650-667. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/09644016.2011.608532.

Nuclear Power: A Panacea for Future Energy Needs

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions

  • Nuclear reactors don’t emit carbon dioxide to produce electricity because their fuel is uranium-based
  • However carbon dioxide is emitted during uranium mining, milling and fuel fabrication processes
  • Still, nuclear power displaces large volumes of carbon dioxide in comparison with fossil fuel plants.

Security

  • One of the biggest security concerns with nuclear power is its connection to nuclear weapon development
  • International agreements such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) have been created to guarantee that countries that don’t have nuclear weapons are still allowed nuclear technology, but for the sole purpose of energy production
  • The general problem is that the fuel for nuclear power plants is the same fuel for nuclear weapons. Aka highly enriched uranium or plutonium

Environmental/Health Impacts

  • Waste from nuclear power is relatively small compared to that of other energy sources like fossil fuels.
  • Emission from nuclear plants are in the form of both gases and liquids.
  • Most of the problems arise from the origin of nuclear power. Stemming from mining and uranium ore fabrication into fuel.
  • Radiation is a concern involved with mining uranium.

Prospects for the future

  • Even though nuclear power plants themselves produce less carbon emissions then other forms of energy plants, the creation and upkeep of new and former plants would take a number of years to build and maintain.
  • These processes would also emit a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere.
  • Nuclear power plants also have a stigma of “doomsday” scenarios. Especially because of the horrible accident  occurring at Chernobyl in 1986

Resources:

MacFarlane, Allison. “Nuclear Power – a Panacea for Future Energy Needs?.” Environment, vol. 52, no. 2, Feb. 2010, pp. 34-46. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eih&AN=49125462&site=ehost-live.

Nuclear Power an Overview

What is nuclear power?

– Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat.

  • Frequently, the nuclear energy is used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant.
  • Nuclear power includes nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion
    • It’s worth noting that nuclear fission produces the majority of energy in direct service to human needs

– Currently, there is much debate about nuclear power and the future of this form of energy compared to other more renewable energy sources.

  • Organizations such as the World Nuclear Association and Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy argue that nuclear power is a safe and sustainable source of energy that reduces carbon emissions.
  • In contrast to this, other organizations such as Greenpeace International and the NIRS contend that nuclear power poses many threats to the people and the environment.

– Other arguments on this case is that renewable energy argue that wind power and solar power are already cheaper and safer than nuclear power.

Resources:

Wikipedia Contributors. “Nuclear Energy.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 25 Jan. 2018. Web. 25 Jan. 2018. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power>

Superbowl Prediction

Soup or Bowl?  Are there giant bowls of soup involved?

Alas, I am only joking…

And my prediction is that the Eagles are going to win the Superbowl and that there will be extreme emotional turmoil on campus.

#superbowl #bowlsofsoup

St. Lawrence University