Nuclear power, a phrase that isn’t too far from its controversial disputes. nuclear powers debate began around the 1970s to late 1980s when American nuclear power plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania had a cooling malfunction that caused a part of one of its reactors partially melt inside the reactor core. Media outlets jumped onto this incident, and dramatizing the events that transpired; not intending to downplay the significance of the partial nuclear meltdown; this initial event cause many Americans to fear and stigmatize nuclear energy with a negative skew. Other incidents of nuclear power plants melting down such as Chernobyl and Fukushima only heightened the debate on nuclear power and whether it was worth the risk. But it is a well-known that nuclear power is actually far safer than other power sources such as fossil fuel, its low environmental impact and beneficial economic impact. Due the to social, economic and environmental benefits, nuclear power is the right choice for America’s energy needs in the future.
Social benefits are seen in nuclear power by improved safety compared to coal power plants and to reduce deaths caused by fossil fuel power pollution. For example, Patrick Moore’s article states “the multiagency U.N. Chernobyl form reported last year that 56 deaths could be directly attributed to the accident, most of those from radiation are burns suffered while fighting the fire. Tragic as those steps were, they pale in comparison to the more than 5000 coal mining deaths that occur worldwide every year. No one has died of a radiation related incident in history of the U.S. civilian reactor program.” (Moore, 2006, para 11) What we can take from this qoute is that the number of deaths caused by coal production and power is significantly larger than even the most significant nuclear disaster to date, showing that annually 5000 people to lose their lives from mining coal whereas a nuclear meltdown and explosion only caused only killed 56 people.
This information just shows that nuclear power plants have safety as their primary focus even in the worst possible situation. In addition, according to Mark Schrope, “using nuclear power in place of fossil-fuel energy sources, such as coal, has prevented some 1.8 million air pollution-related deaths globally and could save millions more lives in the coming decades, concludes a study.” (Shrope, 2013, para 1) Mark Shrope’s article shows that because of nuclear powers lack of air pollution; carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas; has saved 1.8 million lives since it’s existence. This is goes a show that nuclear power actually has the capability to save lives and help benefit society. Ultimately, the stigma associated with nuclear energy is out of place, with evidence presented nuclear power has far greater societal benefits than our primary means of producing power, as a result society would be a great benefactor of nuclear power.
Reduce cancer risks is it another societal benefit of nuclear power. To illustrate, according to a CNN article John sepulvado wrote states “The EPA has estimated the risk of people getting cancer around online and ash ponds were as high as 1 in 50 individuals exposed, slant notes. So, it’s extremely important to lying these ponds. It’s nine times higher than the risk of cancer from smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for your entire life. There are no regulations requiring liners at plant Scherer’s coal ash pond .”(sepulvado, 2012, para 8) Important information to take from this is that living near coal power plants could be potentially life-threatening if exposed it could drastically increase a person or towns cancer risk and with no regulation on coal ash ponds; which could be prevalent; because it shows that each plant needs its individual regulation on the covering of coal ash ponds. This information just shows that coal power plants may be far more dangerous than we previously thought, we may need to consider other energy sources for risks other than nuclear power.
Moreover, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute”(National Cancer Institute, NCI, 2011) in National Cancer Institute survey published in the Journal of American Medical Association, March 20, 1991, showed no general increased risk of death from cancer for people living in 107 U.S. counties containing more closely adjacent to 62 nuclear facilities.” The study states that there is no risk of cancer by living near nuclear power plants or research facilities. This information is in complete contrast to the previously stated example(sepulvado,2012). Consequently, living near coal power plant, coal ash ponds would cause 1 to 50 people exposed to the develop cancer, whereas nuclear power has no such cancer risk to the communities that live near it.
The economic benefits of nuclear power as an something to be unnoticed, nuclear power is cheaper per kilowatt and its price is far more stable. For example, the world nuclear Association published data that showed that nuclear power was 2.40 cents per kW/h , coal is 3.27 cents per kW/h and gas is 3.40 cents per kW/h (The power, 2014). This information shows that the cost of power from nuclear energy is comparatively less expensive than coal or gas power. This information because a show that nuclear power is far cheaper than the traditional power plants and would be a great economical benefit, lowering the price of power.
Additionally, the world nuclear Association points out that the prices of nuclear power are far more stable than gas or coal the article shows that the doubling fuel prices 2000 only cause nuclear power costs to rise by 9%, have risen by 31% and gas prices have risen by 66% (The power, 2014). What this means is that nuclear power has a far more stable price sensitivity than coal and gas, barely even rising in the 2000 fuel crisis where coal increased in price by 31% or a little over 1/3 and gas prices have increased by 66% or a little over 1/2. If nuclear energy with her more prevalent in the United States the economic downturn of 2000 and 2006 may have been averted or reduced its significance, a 30% to 9% difference is significant, a 66% to 9% difference is a drastically significant price variation. As a result nuclear power proves to be a stable, extremely resilient energy price and as well a very low costs, this can only be a benefit to our economy.
Nuclear power could improve economic growth and provide new job opportunities. For instance, according to the U.S. Department of Energy”studies of estimated the average nuclear plant generates total state and local tax revenue of almost $20 million each year-dollars a benefit schools, roads, and other infrastructure projects. And the average nuclear plant generates federal tax payments of roughly $75 million each year.”(U.S. Department of Energy, [DOE], 2008) The statement by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that nuclear power plants are beneficial to both federal and state governments by increasing the amount of tax revenue each takes in, benefiting the development of schools roads and other projects. Nuclear energy is not only cheap but as well provides revenue to federal and local governments, this helps improve the economy significantly by means of distributing money to local governments and as well alleviating costs on the community in which it is providing energy. As well as stimulate the economy, nuclear power plants help improve the infrastructure of its community, providing some economic stability.
Additionally, the clean and safe energy for the future coalition stated “currently, 17 companies and consortia are considering more than 30 new reactors in the United States. This new era of nuclear energy will translate to tens of thousands of jobs created to construct, maintain and support new reactors. Both construction and operation will create thousands of jobs in the communities surrounding the plant.” (Clean and safe energy for the future coalition, [CAS energy coalition], 2009) what this means is that there are multiple companies that are considering making new nuclear facilities which means increased job growth for America, they estimated 10,000 jobs per plant and 30 new reactors equaling around 300,000 new jobs are estimated to be created.
Beneficial aspects of job creation by nuclear power plants is not only that new jobs are being created but as well the most of the jobs require highly skilled workers and training, usually provided by the company leading to a large increase in highly skilled workers among United States. As a result, this increase in highly skilled workers and as well jobs will help stimulate the economy’s of both the United States economy as a whole and the local economies and give a long-term stability investment into each economy with highly trained workers.
Nuclear power is environmentally beneficial because it does not have greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2(carbon dioxide). For example, accordingly to the Washington Post Company 600+ coal-fired plants in the US a met 2,000,000,000 tons of CO2 annually, responsible for 64% of sulfur dioxide emissions, 26% nitrous oxides emissions and 33% mercury emissions. They also stated that the 103 nuclear power plants in the United States have caused us to avoid admitting 700,000,000 tons of CO2. (Moore, 2006) information from Washington Post means that the significant abundance of coal-fired power plants is contributing a significant proportion to greenhouse gases and as well pollution of potentially harmful or dangerous chemicals in the air.
As well nuclear power plants are in low abundance compared to coal-fired power plants and yet they still prevent the emission of 700,000,000 tons of CO2 nearly, nearly half of the annual CO2 emissions of coal-fired plants. This goes to show that nuclear power plants is green energy and releases absolutely no carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere poisonous gases. In addition Mark Schrope apart of chemical & engineering news points states “finally the pair compared carbon emissions from nuclear power to fossil fuel sources. They calculated that if coal or natural gas had replaced nuclear energy from 1971 two 2009, the equivalent of an additional 64 Gigatons of carbon would have reached the atmosphere. Looking forward, switching out nuclear for coal or natural gas power would lead to the release of 82 to 240 Gigatons of additional carbon by 2050.”(Schrope, 2013, 8) In this article the term gigatons used to refer to carbon dioxide emissions, you may not be familiar with the term gigatons so I’ll explain, one gigatons equivalent to 1,000,000,000 tons( 1 billion )or 1 trillion pounds, so 64 Gigatons is equal to 64,000,000,000 tons( 64 Billion ).
With this quote means is that if nuclear energy was never discovered and in its place for energy demands we use gas or coal 64 Billion tons of CO2 would be released into the atmosphere meaning that nuclear energy is responsible for the production and carbon dioxide emissions by the amount of 64 Gigatons. This is significant because it shows that the omission of carbon dioxide from traditional power plants or use fossil fuels is out of control. Nuclear power can be used to replace traditional power plants in order to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions drastically. Thus, nuclear power plants have reduced the amount of carbon dioxide release and the atmosphere measured by gigatons 64 to be exact in with each new power plant we had the more this number is multiplied for the future reducing global warming effects and as well pollution nuclear power plants are very low impact on the environment and wildlife.
For instance, the nuclear energy Institute states that “seven years before Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant began operating along Maryland’s Chesapeake bay, scientists began studying local marine life, including crabs, oysters and fish. With more than 30 years of data, found that covers Cliff plant had no reverse effects on local marine life and, in fact, has benefited some species. In addition to preserving marine life, nuclear power plant operators provide natural habitats for birds, mammals, plants and reptiles on or near plant sites.” (Nuclear energy Institute, (n.d.), 4-5) What this is saying is that nuclear power plants have little to no impact at all on wildlife in the area it encompasses and as well they provide shelter for animals and other types of creatures living within the ecosystem. They stated that a study that have been going on for seven years before the nuclear power plant and was commissioned reported around 23 years later that that nuclear power plant had no adverse effect on local marine life and that the plan actually benefited the marine population.
What this means is that not only do nuclear power plants not impact wildlife but they as well can benefit by giving them types of shelter and other means.
Additionally, the Idaho national laboratory states “from the lane use perspective, multi-reactor nuclear power plant like Palo Verde in Arizona can-at a single, confined location-producer of electricity in quantities that would require over 60 square miles of photovoltaic panels, and anywhere from 15 to over 180 square miles of wind turbines. (Idaho national laboratory [INL] n.d.) What this is stating is that other green energies such or wind solar would take up a extremely large surface area just to achieve the amount of power output by a multi-reactor nuclear power plant, it should also be noted that solar and wind power sources energy output are not as stable as nuclear power is and therefore the amount of wind turbines or solar panels may very to me the power output of a nuclear multicore power plant, but what the statement is identifying is wind and solar running at ideal conditions.
What this shows is that nuclear power is lower impact than the other green energies, the information shows that it would be of a greater impact to the environment and as well general space take up if you were to use wind or solar energy, making nuclear energy the more viable power source in this instance. Ultimately, nuclear power is a very good environmentally beneficial power source because of its low impact on wildlife and as well it’s low space take up compared to other green energy sources.
On the other side of the argument, the opposition says that radioactive waste-which they stated as not being of any use after disposal-that is buried underground may leak back into the environment and as well that there is a limited supply of uranium, so nuclear energy cannot be referred to as a renewable energy source. For example, in the article “disadvantages of nuclear energy” the author states that, “nuclear energy uses uranium which is scarce resource and is not found in many countries most of the countries rely on other countries. Most of the countries rely on other countries for constant supply of this fuel. It’s mine and transported like any other metal.
Supplies will be available as long as it’s their. Once all extracted, nuclear plants will not be of any use due to its hazardous effect and limited supply, it cannot be termed as renewable.” (Disadvantages of nuclear energy, (n.d.),para 9) the evidence given in this quote is plausible to an extent, as with all energy sources nuclear energy not being an exception it does have been exhaustible power source-uranium 235-and of course if all fissile material is used nuclear power plants cannot be of any use that is completely plausible argument against nuclear power and that radioactive waste from nuclear power plants are hazardous, though there are different types of radioactive waste all of them are considered dangerous. But some of the information given is a necessarily valid, such as the supplie for uranium is extremely scarce, according to the nuclear energy Association “IAEA-NEA figures if those covering testaments of all conventional resources (U as name product or major byproduct) are considered-another 7.6 million tons (beyond the 5.3 MT known economic resource), which takes us to 190 years’ supply at today’s rate of consumption” what this says is that we have up to 190 years of uranium that our current supply, 190 years of uranium is exactly scarce.
As well they say that nuclear energy cannot be considered renewable because as a limited power source, this is highly technical and is just a filler so I wouldn’t exactly consider this a valid argument Because if you were to think about solar panels energy source, which is the sun-which in a few billion years well explode and stop emitting light-brings me to the conclusion that solar energy is not renewable. Additionally, the article stated that there was no use for nuclear waste, and is blatantly wrong. Nuclear waste is used in reactors known as “re-processors”, these “re-processors” use spent nuclear material and turn them into less harmful materials that are less radioactive and as well compounds used in the manufacture of items. Ultimately, some of the information that is presented by the opposition is incorrect and one is highly subjective such as nuclear power not being renewable subjective as with the definition of renewable resource.
Furthermore, Greenpeace UK states that”there is still no safe way to deal with it. The government plans to bury it deep underground-out of sight, out of mind, for now at least. But no one can guarantee that this highly radioactive waste from the back into the environment contaminating water supplies and food and the food chain. (Greenpeace UK point, n.d.) This oppositional statement is valid in a few areas, one of the ways that nuclear waste is disposed of is to buried underground and abandoned salt lines or in desert locations where it is buried deep under the surface. The main confounding variable of nuclear power is certainly at the nuclear waste that this produces at our current state of the United States mainly berries nuclear waste underground lasting for a few hundred years vertically safe and isolated in a protected area.
But there are other ways of dealing with nuclear waste as stated above, but this isn’t necessarily an ideal way to do with it because it lowers the energy production of the facility and as well makes nuclear power more expensive. But there is an experimental reactor design that India, China and Russia have made plans for building. This reactor is known as a breeder, it’s design principle is that it will use the radioactive thorium from nuclear waste to produce energy and then produce nuclear fuel as well. It is said that if all nuclear supplies were to be converted into nuclear waste our power supply with breeder reactors would be sustained at the current rate for 2500 years. The reason why breeder reactors are more widely used is because of the safety risks, not very many countries are willing to use an experimental nuclear reactor to power anything unless it is either proven to work efficiently and safely or there is a more blatant safe design of the reactor. As well the opposition states that is no guarantee that radioactive wastes won’t leak into the environment contaminating water supplies and food chain, this is an entirely true but is understandable.
Nuclear waste is contained inside of a almost indestructible container and is buried one, United States government’s various tests on whether the container was safe enough to be able to contain any radiation and as well be able to be damaged in any way or suffer trauma if that would compromise its integrity, there are various videos on this container being hit by a fully loaded freight trains and night and receiving a scratch all the way up to that an F-16 raptor flying a mock one into the container and still not leaking radiation, though there is a chance that radiation could leak into the environment my bet is that it is highly unlikely yet still a chance. In short, this information is correct on the terms that nuclear radiation waste is a large confounding factor of nuclear power and it is not safe but in some areas it is an entirely correct such as there is still no way to deal with nuclear wastes and as well no guarantee that buried nuclear wastes won’t leak into the ground and spread to the food chain, which can be debated.
Nuclear power, a controversial topic in America and global society due to its stigmatism implied by the media and society. Nuclear power is an extremely a pliable energy source that has many benefits, but media generally doesn’t want to cover what is good about nuclear power, because that doesn’t make reading or watching the news interesting in all, but not to say that the news isn’t right on everything, everything that they have covered has been 100% truthful if not a little dramatized, but the thing that date didn’t say is important and what I hoped to cover in this essay. Nuclear energy, comparably low danger to society, improve public health has opposed to coal, lower energy costs and improve stability, provides jobs, low environmental impact. Due the to social, economic and environmental benefits, nuclear power is the right choice for America’s energy needs in the future.
Disadvantages of nuclear energy. (n.d.). Conserve-energy-future. Retrieved April 21, 2014, from http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/disadvantages_nuclearenergy.php Federal energy administration, u.s. department of energy. 2008, October 8.
Renewing america’s nuclear power partnership for energy security and economic growth. Retrieved 2014, april 23, from http://energy.gov/articles/renewing-americas-nuclear-power-partnership-energy-security-and-economic-growth Greenpeace uk. n.d. Nuclear power-the problems. Retrieved 2014, april 23, from http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/nuclear/problems Patrick, moore. (2006, April 16). Going nuclear. The Washington post. Retrieved april 19, 2014, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401209.html Sepulvado, j. (2012, April 1). A power plant, cancer and a small towns fears. Cnn u.s. Retrieved, april 24, 2014, from http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/31/us/georgia-coal-power/ Supply of uranium. (2012). World nuclear association. Retrieved april 22, 2014, from http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Uranium-Resources/Supply-of-Uranium/ The economics of nuclear power. (2014). World nuclear association. Retrieved March 13, 2014, from http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Economic-Aspects/Economics-of-Nuclear-Power/ U.s. department of health and human services, national institutes of health, national cancer institute. (2011). National cancer institute factsheet: no excess mortality rate found in countries with nuclear facilities (nic publication no. 017-042-00276-1). Retrieved (april 22, 2014). , from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/nuclear-facilities
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