Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is associated with both the good and the bad. This alternative energy is well known for its past mishaps in major nuclear meltdowns as well as the main ingredient for nuclear bombs. On the other hand, it is known to be an efficient and environmentally friendly energy source for humans.

Nuclear energy is derived from a process called nuclear fission. This process entails the stripping apart of a uranium atom’s nucleus. Through this, a lot of energy is generated and is then converted into stable and safe usable energy. In this particular discussion, we shall look at a few major facts for and against nuclear energy.

PROS

Energy efficient

The nucleus of a nuclear atom is packed with energy due to its elemental structure. This is key in nuclear fission because it allows much energy to be harnessed. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a single pellet of uranium (roughly the size of a finger tip), contains as much energy as 149 gallons of oil, 17,000 cubic ft of natural gas, and 1780 lbs of coal. This is comparatively much more active and resourceful than any other natural sources of energy. For humans, this is an important advantage of nuclear energy and a useful characteristic because it is efficient and provides a lot of power from relatively small amounts of the resource.

Environmentally friendly

To understand this, we must first go back to the process of nuclear fission. Taking apart an atom’s nucleus does not require any burning of gases, unlike other energy sources such as coal, gas, and oil. Instead, it is a relatively clean process that emits no primary greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. In terms of being an alternative energy source, it is another advantage of nuclear energy as one of the most environmentally friendly and safe in terms of green house gases.

Cost effective

This also is derived from the nuclear ability of efficiency–requiring little amounts to produce large quantities of power. This then produces inexpensive electricity when compared with other sources. From setting up a power plant to the cost of maintaining it, costs stay in the lower side, which allows the energy produced to stay low.

CONS

Hazardous waste

Uranium is a highly unstable element whose waste requires extreme care to ensure it does not harm the environment. This is the largest concern about nuclear energy. On average, a nuclear power plant producing 20 metric tons of nuclear fuel in a year also produces 2000 metric tons in a year. This waste has radiation which is harmful to living things. Low level radiations generated by plants also affects plants and life it comes into contact with. The biggest problem here is also the amount of time it takes radiation dissipate. Even the smallest traces can be active and harmful for over 100 years.

Non renewable

Earth uranium resource is finite and non renewable. Once it runs out, there will no longer be nuclear energy from uranium. This is a problem because in the long run, we will not have this beneficial an efficient source. However, with current developments, perhaps new and better alternatives will be discovered. Until then, nuclear energy is pending depletion

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