Introduction Nuclear power is generated using Uranium, which is a metal mined in various parts of the world. The first large-scale nuclear power station opened at Calder Hall in Cumbria, England, in 1956. Nuclear power produces around 11% of the worlds energy needs, and produces huge amounts of energy from small amounts of fuel, without the pollution that youd get from burning fossil fuels. Which is why some military ships and submarines have nuclear power plants for engines.
Nuclear Energy Positives Reliability - Nuclear Power is a highly reliable form of energy almost as good as other fossil fuel energy forms like coal, gas etc. Nuclear Power Plants except in drastic situations continue to run reliably for the whole day without any changes. Low Fuel Cost - Large amounts of Nuclear Energy can be produced from the fission on radioactive elements like uranium. The costs of nuclear fuel is relatively very low compared to other energy sources like coal and gas. Also uranium prices currently are quite low making the nuclear electricity price even lower Low Electricity Cost – The Electricity produced from Nuclear Power is quite low at around 3-5c/Kwh making it very attractive to construct hydro plants. Nuclear Plants also have long lives of between 40-60 years which means that they are extremely profitable once constructed within reasonable costs
Nuclear Energy Positives No Greenhouse Gas Emissions/Air Pollution – Nuclear electricity does not produce any GHG emissions or cause air pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels unlike coal, oil or gas. This makes them very attractive as a source of cheap, non carbon dioxide producing electricity. High Load Factor - Nuclear Power Plants have very high load factors in excess of 80%.They can generate power almost 24/7 and only require shutdown for periodic maintenance Huge Potential –Nuclear Energy Potential is almost infinite compared to the limited and peak features of other forms of energy like Wind, Geothermal, Oil, Gas and others. Only Solar Energy can be said to have more potential. Note new technologies and fuels like fast breeder and thorium are still in the works which can increase the potential of Nuclear Power more
Nuclear Power Negatives Nuclear and Radiation Accidents - This is the biggest con for Nuclear Energy and has been repeated 3 times in the last 30 years in Japan, Russia and USA. The fear of a repeat is so great that despite all the safety arrangements touted by the nuclear equipment operators and suppliers,Nuclear Energy faces an uncertain future Nuclear Waste Disposal – Again a massive problem as the spent Nuclear Rods of Nuclear Reactors are prohibitively costly and difficult to dispose of.Spent nuclear fuel is initially very highly radioactive and so must be handled with great care and forethought.There is no foolproof way to dispose nuclear waste fuel after it is used in the Nuclear Reactors.The area around Nuclear Waste Sites can be dangerous to humans for hundreds of year as complex nuclear elements have half lives running into many years.the United States had accumulated more than 50,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors.Permanent storage underground in U.S. had been proposed at the Yucca but that project has now been effectively cancelled.Presently, waste is mainly stored at individual reactor sites and there are over 430 locations around the world where radioactive material continues to accumulate.
Nuclear Power Negatives Nuclear proliferation – Many countries have used the ruse of nuclear energy programs to generate fuel for developing nuclear weapons.Currently there is a major international controversy with regards to the Iranian Nuclear Energy Program.Nuclear Reactors are targets for rogue state actors who can steal the fuel for creating radiation weapons High Capital Investment,Cost Overruns and Long Gestation Time - The time to construct a large Nuclear power project can take between 5-10 years which leads to time and cost overruns. The Nuclear Plan being built in Finland. has been one of the biggest failures in Project Finance.The reactor has been delayed by many year and has led to a massive cost overrun.Areva the main nuclear equipment supplier has endured huge losses.In fact the safety regulations and the long time of construction has brought the Nuclear Energy in the Developed World to almost a halt. Regulations – The Regulations for Nuclear Energy Power Plants are many and cumbersome due to the massive risks of a failure of a nuclear reactor.This greatly increases the costs of generating nuclear power.It also leads to a long time in the actual start to the completion of a Nuclear Plant .
Nuclear Power Negatives Low level of Radioactivity from Normal Operations - The nuclear industry also produces a large volume of low-level radioactive waste in the form of contaminated items like clothing, hand tools, water purifier resins, and (upon decommissioning) the materials of which the reactor itself is built Fuel Danger - Uranium which is the main fuel used in Nuclear Fission Power Plants is limited to a few countries and suppliers.Its use and transport is regulated by international treaties and groups.India which came under sanctions because of testing of nuclear weapons had to shut many of its nuclear plants because of embargoes.
Should I worry about nuclearpower? Nuclear power stations are not atomic bombs waiting to go off, and are not prone to "meltdowns". There is a lot of U-238 in there slowing things down - you need a high concentration of U- 235 to make a bomb. If the reactor gets too hot, the control rods are lowered in and it cools down. If that doesnt work, there are sets of emergency control rods that automatically drop in and shut the reactor down completely. With reactors in the UK, the computers will shut the reactor down automatically if things get out of hand (unless engineers intervene within a set time). At Chernobyl, in Ukraine, they did not have such a sophisticated system, indeed they over-rode the automatic systems they did have. When they got it wrong, the reactor overheated, melted and the excessive pressure blew out the containment system before they could stop it. Then, with the coolant gone, there was a serious fire. Many people lost their lives trying to sort out the mess. If something does go wrong in a really big way, much of the world could be affected - some radioactive dust (called "fallout") from the Chernobyl accident landed in the UK. Thats travelled a long way.
Should I worry about nuclearpower? (the most common type in Britain) there are With AGR reactors additional safety systems, such as flooding the reactor with nitrogen and/or water to absorb all the neutrons - although the water option means that reactor can never be restarted. So should I worry? I think the answer is "so long as things are being done properly, I dont need to worry too much. The bit that does worry me is the small amount of high-level nuclear waste from power stations. Although theres not much of it, its very, very dangerous and we have no way to deal with it apart from bury it and wait for a few thousand years... There are many different opinions about nuclear power, and it strikes me that most of the people who protest about it dont have any idea what theyre talking about. But please make up your own mind, find out as much as you can, and if someone tries to get you to believe their opinion ask yourself "whats in it for them?”
Our argument We are for nuclear power. Here is why: Nuclear power costs about the same as coal, so its not expensive to make. Does not produce smoke or carbon dioxide, so it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. Produces huge amounts of energy from small amounts of fuel. Is much more efficient than coal (1 kg uranium’s power=25000 kg of coal’s energy) Produces small amounts of waste. Nuclear power is reliable
To all the haters… Nuclear energy is only dangerous because we make it so. Most accidents are caused by human error