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.

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