Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy
What is nuclear energy
Nuclear energy is power that is generated by separating an atom into lighter atoms to reduce its mass. The reduction of the mass is transformed into useful energy and this is what is popularly known as nuclear fission. The control of the reaction is harnessed into Nuclear energy.
By understanding the pros and cons of nuclear energy, you will be better placed to make informed decisions on your energy use.
Advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy
One of the major benefits of using nuclear energy is that it is highly affordable. Less uranium is used to produce nuclear power. Coal and oil are affordable and they lower the cost of energy production. On the other hand, uranium that is used in energy production is also cheap to produce, procure and transport. As a result, it lowers the cost of energy production.
A nuclear energy plant can run uninterrupted for more than a year. This means that there are only little brownouts or little power interruption. What’s more, the operation and running of the plant is not in any way affected by foreign suppliers or change in weather. These make it a more reliable source of energy.
No greenhouse emissions
Nuclear energy does not have some gas emissions and the plant does not produce greenhouse gasses. According to recent studies, life cycles emissions from the plant do not give off are always at par with other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Therefore, it is an attractive feature to many consumers bearing in mind that many people across different parts of the globe are environmental conscious.
Disadvantages of nuclear energy
Nuclear energy comes with a various disadvantages including
Nuclear fission chambers are always cooled by water that is then turned into steam a used to power turbines. When the water cools down to a state that in change back to liquid form, it is pumped back to the nearest wetlands. It is however good to note that even though several measures are taken to ensure no radiation is pumped to the environment heavy metals and pollutants often make their way out of the fission chambers. The intense heat given off by the liquid can also severely damage the eco system near the chamber.
Nuclear reactors are built with various safety systems designed to contain radiation given off in the fission process. These safety measures are installed and maintained properly to function efficiently. When they are not properly maintained, a nuclear reactor could easily reduce harmful radiations into the environment during regular use. What’s more, if a containment field would rupture suddenly, the effects of leaked radiation would be very catastrophic.
Nuclear energy is produced by uranium and it is a naturally unstable product. Therefore, special measures must be taken during the transportation, mining and storage of uranium and any other waste product to ensure it does not release any harmful levels of radiation.
Over the past years, several nuclear reactors have failed and forced the government to shut down those that still existed. The abandoned reactors are taking up valuable land space and could be contaminating surrounding areas yet they are too unstable to be eliminated.
Similarly, it is quite difficult to manage nuclear waste. It also takes many years to get rid of radioactivity and related risks. It is essential to note that nuclear energy reactors have an expiration date or a limited life. Nuclear plant investment is high and must be recovered within the shortest time possible. These further raises the cost of generated energy, which is cheap compared to fuel. The recovery process in itself is very expensive.
Nuclear weapons were lastly used during the Second World War when two bombs were dropped in Japan. To date, there is still the fear of nuclear of nuclear weapons in war despite the signing of Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty by many countries.
With the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, nuclear power still remains one of the most controversial energy sources in existence. Inform yourself further on the topic to understand how Nuclear Energy works.
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