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As a consumer society, we are addicted to electricity and the technology it offers. Modern society
is increasingly reliant on these consumer technologies. The rise in technology and population has
pushed our energy consumption to an all-time high. There are numerous ways to produce enough
energy to meet today's demands. According to U.S Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels
like coal and natural gas provided 61% of the country's energy needs in 2014. Fossil fuel
combustion emits dangerous greenhouse gases, which are a primary cause of the current global
warming and the consequent climate change that has resulted. The rising levels of greenhouse
gases and carbon emissions could be significantly reduced through the use of nuclear power.
However, the radioactive waste generated by nuclear power plants, which takes a long time to
decompose due to the fuel used, uranium, is a major drawback of the technology.
According to Conserve Energy Future, the actual operation of a nuclear power plant emits less
than 1% of the nation's total carbon dioxide emissions. To explain, here are the reasons: Although
matter can be transformed into another form, the total amount of mass remains constant, as stated
by the law of conservation of mass. Nuclei, made up of protons and neutrons, account for nearly
all an atom's mass. The Thornton, two nuclei of an atom, is the source of nuclear energy. The
mass of an atom is converted into energy as a result of this. For nuclear power, fission is the most
common method of production. In the event of a slow-moving neutron striking an atom of uranium235, the atom splits in half and releases more neutrons. Excessive thermal radiation is released
when the nucleus disintegrates (heat) (“How Nuclear Energy Works – Conserve Energy Future”).
To put it another way, the self-sustaining chain reaction generates enough heat to bring water to
a boil and power the steam turbines that generate electricity. Since no combustion occurs in a
fission reaction, the energy produced has virtually no impact on the environment compared to
other energy sources like coal and natural gas. In light of nuclear power's comparatively small
direct carbon footprint, it's worth considering why the technology isn't used more widely. Even
though nuclear power is one of the most environmentally-friendly forms of energy, it has its
drawbacks. Concerning nuclear energy is the issue of what to do with radioactive waste. Spent
nuclear fuel is dangerously radioactive and will remain so for thousands of years after it has been
removed from the reactor's waste stream. According to whatisnuclear.com, you would die of acute
radiation sickness within a few days if you stood just meters away from spent nuclear fuel as it
emerged from the reactor because it is so toxic when it is first exposed to the outside world. The
accident that took place at Three Mile Island in 1979 and the accident that took place at the
Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on April 26, 1986, tied for the title of the worst nuclear
accident in the annals of history, respectively (Conserve Energy Future, 2015). Then, in 2011,
there was yet another catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. Although there
were only a few casualties, the resulting environmental damage was significant. Humans and the
environment continue to suffer as a result of its ill effects. Despite the numerous safeguards in
place, these nuclear power plants experienced meltdowns, resulting in catastrophic
consequences for the environment and the people who lived nearby and were forced to flee their
homes. People and the environment can be seriously harmed by the radioactive waste that is
The problem of how to safely dispose of highly radioactive spent fuel is a contentious issue that
is frequently cited as an argument against the utilization of nuclear power. The protection of both
people and the environment should be prioritized when it comes to the management and disposal
of radioactive waste. Recycling radioactive waste is one of the methods that can be utilized in the
process of getting rid of radioactive waste. This is a method that is predominantly used in the
countries of Europe. The uranium and plutonium are extracted from the waste through a process
called recycling. These elements are then prepared for reuse in a nuclear reactor. A multiplebarrier geological disposal plan is the second option for safely removing radioactive waste from
the environment. The radioactive materials are kept separate from the biosphere by the multiplebarrier disposal plans for thousands of years until the radioactive content of the materials has
degraded to an acceptable level (World Nuclear Association, 2016). As consumers, we have a
responsibility to consider the impact that our energy choices will have on subsequent generations.
Even in the hands of morally upstanding citizens, nuclear power carries the possibility of
producing enormous benefits as well as catastrophic drawbacks. The use of nuclear power
presents a significant opportunity for us to cut back on our carbon emissions. Despite the
challenges of disposal and the risks posed by radiation, it should be one of the many sources on
which we continue to rely.
What is Nuclear Energy? (2022). Retrieved from Conserve Energy Future:
The problem of nuclear waste. (2020, April 7). Retrieved from The Naked Scientists:
Radioactive Waste Management. (2016). Retrieved from World Nuclear Association:
https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear wastes/radioactivewaste-management.aspx
What is U.S. electricity generation by energy source? (2021). Retrieved from U.S
Energy Information Administration:
Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy. (2022). Retrieved from Conserve Energy Future:
https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/pros-and-cons-ofnuclear energy.php#:~:text=As%20of%20today%2C%20nuclear%20energy,sources%
Jacobson , M. Z. (2021). The 7 reasons why nuclear energy is not the answer to solve
climate change. Retrieved from Heinrich Boll Stiftung.