At first glance, nuclear energy seems like a great alternative to burning fossil fuels. It is a cleaner more efficient power source, that does not cause global warming or acid rain. U.S. nuclear reactors rely on uranium, which is naturally abundant locally, so nuclear power reduces reliance on foreign energy. However, while some argue that nuclear power plants are as safe as any energy production, the radioactive waste produced as well as nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island are evidence that alternative options should be explored. According to Sandra Alters, nuclear reactors work like this: Fuel rods, made of zirconium, with pellets of fissionable fuel (uranium in the US) are assembled into bundles in the core of the reactor.
The nuclear energy debate has persisted for decades. Those who strongly oppose it argue that its benefits, such as carbon-free emissions and low fuel costs, are almost irrelevant when the risk posed by radioactive waste and reactor meltdowns are factored in. The problem revolves around how little waste storage is prioritized in the planning stages of a reactor, including the locations of waste storage, leading to a surplus of radioactive waste at reactor sites. With the progress being made to advance waste disposal methods and increase public participation in countries that need storage for accumulating waste and developing countries considering nuclear energy, nuclear energy could be the new "green" energy alternative. For nuclear energy to be accepted by politicians of developed and developing countries and individuals that will live near reactors, the planning stages for the final step, the repository, should be prioritized.
Union of Concerned Scientists, Retrieved July 24, 2007, from www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/renewable_energy_basics/offmen-how-geothermal-energy-works.html Nix, Gerald, (2001). About Geothermal Electricity. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved July 21, 2007, from www.nrel.gov/geothermal/geoelectricity.html Richard, Patti, (2007). MIT-led Panel Backs 'Heat Mining' as Key U.S. Energy Source.
Studies on the safety of transportation, benefits of radiation, reliability and economic uses of nuclear energy, and benefits for the environment have proved repeatedly the need for the replacement of fossil fuels. Despite all advantages, only 20% of the nation?s electricity is derived from nuclear energy. The United States has cancelled over one hundred nuclear reactors and no new ones have been ordered into construction since 1970. The reasons for these alarming numbers are unclear when de... ... middle of paper ... ...uly 23, 2003). Nuclear energy in the United States.
Smog cover is a common sight over the major cities in the United States and respiratory diseases are increasing at historic rates (Kirby, 2004). Nuclear power generation creates one way to produce electricity without creating air pollution, but safety, environmental issues, and cost of production deem it not sustainable (Kirby, 2004). Fortunately, clean energy production is not merely a dream for the future. Clean energy production technologies are being developed that have the potential to significantly reduce pollution caused by electricity production ( Kirby,2004). Currently solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal resources are being utilized to subsidize electricity production throughout the world("Renewable energy," 2011).
He thought that if in electrolysis you needed electricity to separate the components of water, then the reversed process should be able to create not only water, but electricity(FCTec.com, 2011). Gro... ... middle of paper ... ...a bit of a pro there, but the size and extremely complexity of this could take many years to engineer and it would be very expensive. Conclusion: However, despite the cons, the fuel cell seems like an exciting project to work on due to the high demand of “green” cars. It is also a great friendly-to-the-environment technology which can help out the green planet and save it from global warming. Works Cited • Motavalli, Jim.
As our power consumption increases, the US leans more heavily on our perennial favourite, the fossil fuel. Nuclear has lost the public relations game, and has the disadvantage of requiring a longer-term strategy to prove more economic than steam coal and natural gas. If existing trends continue, nuclear power will quietly fade into the sunset; another relic of the Cold War. A successful nuclear policy, however, could significantly reduce global warming and air pollution while feeding the increased power demand. Nuclear is the prudent and progressive decision…but its future is by no means decided.
http://thorium1.com/thorium101/history.html (accessed 2/22/14). Schaffer, Marvin Baker. Abundant thorium as an alternative nuclear fuel: Important waste disposal and weapon proliferation advantages. Energy Policy, 2013. 60.
Each of which has its own strengths and weakness, but one stands above the other two: Inertial Confinement. Inertial confinement is the best approach to fusion and will lead the way to energy independence, it is the best because it is closer to ignition than magnetic confinement and cold fusion has yet to provide consistent results to create a reliable energy source. For understanding the necessity of fusion energy and looking at the greatest changes of the day answer the question for itself. Between the global warming and the world’s dwindling supply of natural resources, earth desperately needs a new energy source that doesn’t create greenhouse gasses and will be able to supply the growing population’s needs for centuries to come. Fusion is a perfect solution for this because it creates no hazardous byproducts and the oceans hold nearly a limitless supply of deuterium that could supply earth with thousands of years’ worth of energy.
This essay is not attempting to present nuclear as the perfect answer to the increased demand for power. Nuclear is not perfect, however, of the options available it comes the closest. Works Cited Cohen, Bernard L., The Nuclear Energy Option: An Alternative for the 90s. New York: Plenum Press, 1990. Lake, James A., Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins.