Nuclear EnergyOn March 8, 2021 by Julia Weber
When you picture forms of alternative energy, you probably automatically imagine solar panels or wind turbines to be the best forms of renewable energy. Most people tend to steer away from thinking of nuclear energy as a reliable form of green energy. It is often demonized based on the one in a million disasters that happen and is thus not very popular among citizens. I think that this view is extremely dangerous, and nuclear energy needs to get some better press.
The way that nuclear energy works is a very complex thing. Electrons are fired at atoms in a particle accelerator. When the electrons hit the atoms, the atoms release a very small amount of energy. The atoms’ electrons are also knocked out of orbit and those continue to hit more and more atoms. This chain reaction grows exponentially and can continue as long as there is fuel. This is essentially the same thing that our sun is doing right now, just on a much smaller scale.
People don’t get nearly enough good information about the benefits of nuclear energy because “Nuclear Reactor in Tenessee Doesn’t Explode” is not a headline. The truth about nuclear energy is that it is a fantastic and extremely renewable way to power people’s homes year-round. It doesn’t rely on it being sunny or windy to work, and it produces no carbon emissions. There are many arguments against the use of nuclear energy, and I’m prepared to debunk a few of those.
Nuclear energy is dangerous due to threats of harmful radiation.
This claim is largely false, and if it were true, there is no way that nuclear energy would have even gotten as far as it did. The only time that people are exposed to harmful radiation is when either a plant collapses, or if the nuclear plant is not kept up to standards. As an additional point, the air pollution due to fossil fuel plants hurts and kills thousands more people every year due to poor air quality and CO2. Not to mention the fact that it is slowly killing off all sorts of species that are already endangered.
Do we really want a repeat of Chernobyl?
Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters were all caused due to a lack of responsibility. It hurts to admit, but most of those disasters were preventable if there had been more safeguards in place. I am all for keeping disasters like that to as much of a minimum as possible. I would also like to mention that coal and natural gas plants have meltdowns and oil spills much more often than nuclear plants, the only difference is that the nuclear ones look worse; we never see the effects of an oil spill in the middle of the ocean or a few workers being killed at a coal plant because those don’t make headlines. Think of it like this: If one in every hundred thousand cigarettes caused your head to violently explode rather than just give you lung cancer, how many people do you think would continue smoking?
Nuclear energy could give countries the ability to build nuclear warheads.
The materials used in nuclear reactors are technically the same as those used in bombs, however, it would be nearly impossible to turn one into the other. There are layers of security from other countries in almost every power plant, and this creates a sort of checks and balances system. Also, the amount of fuel from the plants you would have to sneak out is insanely big. As a final note on this subject, most countries that have nuclear power plants already have nuclear bombs, meaning that if they wanted another bomb, they would just make one from their bomb-making facilities.
Nuclear energy costs a lot more than other forms of renewable energy.
This claim is true. Nuclear energy is a little more costly than energies such as solar and wind, but I believe that is only due to the fact that we haven’t had the support to learn how to cheapen the process as much as other forms of energy have been able to. I also think that the more money and support we put towards nuclear energy, the better and cheaper it will become. It is almost definitely worth investing in because it does not rely on the weather to be good to work, and if we can reduce the production price, we will be one step closer to being able to use this in homes all over the world.
In conclusion, nuclear energy is one of the most promising forms of alternative energy on the planet. I believe that with the right funding and resources, it will grow into one of the most popular ways to fuel our homes and businesses. I hope that nuclear energy gets the start it needs to grow and adapt to our changing modern world, and propel us forwards, and not set us back.
To read about more forms of alternative energy, click here.