Because energy consumption is rising each day all over the world, experts are continually working to develop solutions to meet the world’s power needs. Nuclear energy has been a rather controversial option, one that has not yet been widely adopted. The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy have caused it to be a widely debated issue; however, some experts believe that this type of energy could soon play an important role in solving the world’s energy crisis.
Currently, nuclear power produces about 11 percent of the world’s energy needs. This number could rise–if people begin to understand the distinct advantages of this type of power. Some advantages of nuclear energy include the following:
Nuclear energy produces power without pollution. It does not emit greenhouse gasses like smoke or carbon dioxide.
Fossil fuels–which are becoming quite scarce and very expensive–are not used with this type of power.
A small amount of matter creates a very large amount of nuclear energy; therefore, there is little worry that it will become in short supply.
Nuclear power is inexpensive to produce. In fact, it costs about the same amount to produce as coal.
Small amounts of waste are produced from nuclear energy.
Nuclear power is very reliable. They will not shut down in the event of a natural disaster, and they are not as vulnerable to fluctuations in the market.
After seeing the above list of advantages of nuclear power, it is easy to see why some experts are in favor of adopting this form of energy instead of using other, more wasteful or expensive forms of power. However, other people are not convinced that nuclear energy is the best form of power to use. These people point to the following disadvantages when speaking about why nuclear power should be avoided:
Nuclear reactor disasters–called ‘meltdowns’–are possible. Though very rare, meltdowns lead to nuclear explosions, which release great amounts of radiation. This radiation harms everyone within miles of the explosion, making people very sick or even causing death in some people. Illness caused by radiation can appear soon after an explosion or it can appear years after a person was exposed to the radiation. In addition, meltdown explosions also cause a great deal of costly damage to surrounding buildings.
Due to the remote possibility of a meltdown, a great deal of money must be spent on safety in and around nuclear power plants. Because of this, nuclear power plants can be quite expensive to build.
Although not much waste is produced, nuclear waste products are difficult and costly to handle.
Much of the public is worried about nuclear power.
There are, of course, other pros and cons of this type of energy, but these are the major issues. The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy will likely be debated for quite some time among experts. One fact, however, is certain–new solutions for the world’s power needs will need to be developed. Perhaps nuclear power will end up being one of those solutions.