Nuclear Power And Nuclear Energy

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Let’s imagine that we are on a freeway. Just a few miles over the horizon lies the ultimate consumption of our planet’s fossil fuel supply. Before we reach this inevitable destination, there are several exits we can turn off of to potentially delay losing the energy sources from which we primarily rely. The names of these turn-offs are familiar: solar, nuclear, wind, and hydroelectric. While all of these have been implemented to different extents, only nuclear power provides a solid and practical solution to the looming energy crisis. However, nuclear power produces radioactive waste that can pose serious effects on the lives of people as well as the environment. Other issues include high costs, accidents, waste disposal, and the finite supply of uranium. Although there is an overwhelming amount of controversy, it is a necessary step toward energy dependence that provides a short term solution to the decreasing supply of fossil fuels. In order to find a middle ground, nuclear energy should be utilized but should not be a primary source of energy in our distant future. It is impossible to highlight the positive aspects of nuclear energy without also recognizing the disadvantages. Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club’s Global Warming and Energy Program, explained, “Radioactive waste is one of the most dangerous materials known to mankind. It can kill at high doses and cause cancer and birth defects at low doses. Nuclear waste remains dangerous to humans for 200 thousand years” (1). The lengthy amount of time that it must be isolated casts doubt in the ability to guarantee a safe system of disposal. The nuclear industry and some of those in Congress propose dumping the waste into the Yucca Mountain; however, the mountain is seis... ... middle of paper ... ...s the safest energy alternative available. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nuclear power is the most reliable energy source being mass produced and is safer than coal or natural gas (1). Perhaps the greatest danger facing our world today is a combination of global warming and the greenhouse effect. This danger is caused partly by burning fossil fuels which have led to a polluted atmosphere. Nuclear power, however, is a much greener alternative. Maintaining environmental responsibility is of great importance, but so is finding alternative energy sources. The best path of action is not to see nuclear power as the ultimate answer, but rather utilize it to its full potential, thereby reducing the need for fossil fuels. This creates an extended window of time in which cleaner and safer technologies can be tweaked and enhanced to more efficient levels.
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