Nuclear energy is an extremely effective source of power, yet it is not used without controversy world-wide. It has been considered as a replacement for other finite sources of energy, such as coal, oil and gas. However, many people wouldn’t consider more nuclear energy as the best action for electricity. It is a source of power with a series of tradeoffs, and like anything else, the nuclear energy pros and cons should be considered before sticking to any definitive answer.
More about Nuclear Energy’s Pros and Cons
Nuclear energy as a source of power has been used widely since the years following World War Two. On the whole, compared to fossil fuel-based sources of energy, nuclear power has been found to produce fewer pollutants and greenhouse gasses. In an era where eco-consciousness is becoming part and parcel of everyday thinking, this is an important argument to consider. Nuclear plants do not, however, come without a potential series of risks. The notable incidents of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and more recently in Fukushima stand out as reminders that nuclear power stations can become areas of extreme disaster, particularly in the case of natural disasters striking, faulty equipment, or basic human error.
In addition to being a more ‘clean’ source of energy, the potential for nuclear energy to produce an enormous amount of power, which can easily meet the needs of today’s market, is clear. Owning to modern technology, nuclear energy is now available with a low cost of operation. It is also feasible for many plants to reduce the waste of spent nuclear rods through the process of recycling these items back into the energy making process. Recycling 100% of spent nuclear rods at this point in time, however, is not possible. This leaves an open question of what to do with innumerable amounts of spent nuclear fuel rods, which need to be carefully sealed and stored in order not to corrupt the environment, or cause serious harm to people.
While modern technology is able to reduce nuclear waste to some extent, the fact remains that nuclear waste will last 200-500,000 years before degrading into non-harmful material. Furthermore, a large and expensive infrastructure is needed to be able to manage such energy that comes with so many risks.
Even with a small list of nuclear energy pros and cons, the final decision remains a hard one to make. Only with the use of greater and more sophisticated technology can nuclear power become less of a risk, both in reality and in the hearts and minds of concerned people.