Q. IS NUCLEAR ENERGY A GOOD ANSWER TO THE PROBLEMS POSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE?
Climate change has been a provocative topic that placed people in countless debate. The question of whether nuclear energy is a good answer to the problems caused by climate change remains controversial. Many countries depend on nuclear power to generate Electricity; for example, almost 20% of the electricity production in the United States comes from nuclear energy (Carle, 2014). In other words, the energy that is produced by nuclear power is positively helping the environment. Energy can be produced in two ways; either by combing or separating atoms through the use of Uranium, a highly reactive metal. Recently, the human population is growing as well as the demand for electricity (World Nuclear Association, 2015). The resources used to produce energy such as coal and gas are not accessible therefore, using nuclear power to produce energy is the solution to climate change. Even though nuclear energy is too dangerous to prepare and time consuming for many businesses; however, nuclear energy reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and has relatively less amount of air pollution. The sections which follow will start by focusing on the three main concerns regarding nuclear power. This essay will begin by discussing the environmental impact of using nuclear power. After that, examining the costs and the amount of energy produced. Later, the effects on climate change. Finally, the essay will arrive to a conclusion that the benefits of nuclear energy outweigh the possible disadvantages.
Supporters of nuclear power have suggested that burning the planet’s gas, oil, and coal is destroying the atmosphere. Chernobyl and Fukushima are two of the major disasters caused by nuclear power. Unlike Fukushima, the Chernobyl accident killed more than 31 people and had major environmental and health effects. However, in the 1880’s over 21,000 people lost their lives due to coal mining (Jarrett). Coal mining is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, causing major injuries and deaths annually. Nevertheless coal mining accidents occur yearly with a higher number of deaths. Furthermore, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Mile Island are the only three nuclear accidents that happened through the use of nuclear power. Aside from Chernobyl, No nuclear workers or laborers have ever died as an aftereffect of the exposure to radiation because of nuclear occurrence. Most of the severe radiological injuries and deaths that happen yearly are the outcome of unrestrained radiation, for example industrial equipment or abandoned medical. The use of coal to produce energy is only popular in countries such as china due to the abundance of resources in the country; however, these resources not only cause pollution but also are also scarce. Accidents and health problems caused by nuclear power are decreasing and the possible consequences are insignificant compared to other resources. Studies of the last six decades have shown that nuclear energy is safe in terms of generating electricity. Indeed, even the worst accident caused by nuclear power would not cause an intense public and environmental destruction.
Another important argument that should be taken into consideration is the costs of nuclear power and the amount of energy produced by nuclear power. Although nuclear power plants are capital-concentrated and expensive projects due to the use of the latest technology, however once it is built, it has a low operating cost for electricity. Compared to other resources, nuclear power produces greater energy. For example, nuclear energy supplies 12% of the world’s electricity with no carbon emissions. Currently, over 31 countries are using nuclear energy to produce their electricity believing that it is the most reliable source of generating electricity. Electricity can be produced using many methods such as wind, solar, and tidal power; however, nuclear power produces great amount of energy from lesser amount of fuel with no carbon emission. Using wind, solar, and tidal power to produce energy can help meet the increasing demand, but they are not always available and accessible. As a result, nuclear energy is considered the best solution regarding the amount of energy produced while examining its costs.
Moreover, the demand upon energy as a whole is increasing. Nuclear energy is a fundamental element of a clean energy plan. Currently nuclear production prevents the emission of carbon dioxide each year. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s electricity should be lowered to 2°C and must be low-carbon therefore, nuclear energy is recognized as the greatest alternative in terms of effects on climate. Fossil fuels for example produces enough energy to meet the demand; however, it produces a large amount of carbon dioxide which is destroying the environment. Nuclear energy on the other hand produces the same amount of energy as other resources produce but with no carbon emissions and no green house gasses. Shifting from high carbon intensive energy sources such as coal and natural gas to less carbon energy will lead to a clean and eco-friendly environment.
In conclusion, the main goal of the current essay was to determine whether nuclear energy is the solution to climate change while examining the advantages and disadvantages. This essay has shown that due to the economic growth in most of the world, it is obvious that the demand for electricity is increasing. It is true that nuclear power has various possible risks and threats; however the benefits outweigh these risks. Natural resources such as coal, oil, and gas are limited and are expected to come to an end; therefore, Nuclear energy is the safest and best alternative in producing the energy needed. One of the main advantages of nuclear power is that it produces energy with no carbon emissions which results in less amount of air pollution. There are opponents and supporters of nuclear energy, however nuclear energy has a main role to play in the future. Nuclear energy is recognized as an important technology growth and many countries are preparing to use nuclear generation to meet the energy supply objectives and their emission reduction. The energy produced from nuclear power is reliable, inexpensive, and creates enough energy to meet the demand; therefore nuclear power remains the only solution today.
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