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Nuclear Power - Assignment Example

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Nuclear power is among the safest sources of energy; however, the greatest challenge lies on the risks attached to the radiation. Exposure to the slightest radiation is harmful; nonetheless, other sources of energy like clean…
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Running Head: Nuclear Power Nuclear Power Introduction All sources of energy come along with challenges. Nuclear power is among the safest sources of energy; however, the greatest challenge lies on the risks attached to the radiation. Exposure to the slightest radiation is harmful; nonetheless, other sources of energy like clean hydropower have risks too. This paper evaluates the consequences attached to construction of a nuclear plant, which is a controversial alternative source of energy in comparison to fossil fuels.
Nuclear Power
In most economies fossil fuels that include natural gas and coal are the main sources of energy. Nuclear power and hydropower are also used to supplement the fossil fuels. Oil is another source of energy that is presently used for running automobiles and for transportation purposes.
While taking into consideration other sources of fuel, research has proven that the nuclear power is cleanest and safest source of energy and has the least adverse impact on the environment. In addition it uses uranium, which is more plentiful than the fossil fuels. Nuclear energy does not emanate any toxic gases or metals into the environment. It affects the ecosystem like the hydropower. Empirical research has proven that the nuclear wastes have less negative impact when compared to those caused by the silt in dams or produced by coal. More so, a pound of uranium can produce more than 20,000 times more power than that produced by a pound of coal (Miller, 2004). The nuclear plants produce by far less wastes than those produced by coal of the same quantity. The fossil fuels emit wastes in the atmosphere whereas nuclear wastes are disseminated into the non-radioactive synthetic rocks that are buried underground in remote areas, hence having limited chances of harming any living thing. The amount of nuclear power is unlimited when compared to other sources of fuel due to the big volume of uranium in the earth’s crust. Other sources of fuel like oil are likely to get exhausted, more so, most of the oil reserves are located at the golden triangle in the Persian Gulf. The area of the Persian Gulf is faced by many conflicts including the terror groups hence making extraction of oil very expensive and unreliable. When compared to the nuclear power, the solar power requires tax credits and government subsidies to make its power production viable. The wind power unfavorably affects the ecosystem by killing birds and other flying animals. Despite many people advocating for the use of wind power and solar power, they cause more harm to the environment than the nuclear or the fossil fuels despite producing low quantity of power (Rajput, 2007).
Having considered one side of the coin, it is imperative to evaluate the negative impact of nuclear power. Although it is the safest, in case of an abnormal incidence, though it rarely occurs, the negative consequences are great as evidenced by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster as well as the 20th century Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. These deadliest nuclear power accidents have occurred in the world despite the presence of about 442 nuclear plants around the globe. The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown occurred in 1986 in former Soviet Union whereby the nuclear reactors overheated resulting to radioactive material escaping into the world killing 28 people while seriously affecting another 134 employees of the plant. The Fukushima nuclear accident occurred after a tsunami in which a 9.0 earthquake hit the Plant resulting to evacuation of more than 150,000 people after radioactive material was released into the environment (Rajput, 2004)
Conclusion
Based on the above pros and cons of nuclear power in comparison to other sources of energy, it is evident that nuclear power is the safest source of power. There are limited chances of accidents though when they occur, they are fatal. The amount of power produced by nuclear plants cannot be equated with other sources of energy. The negative impacts of other sources of energy cannot be compared with those caused by nuclear plant. Despite the dangers linked to nuclear power in case of an incident, nuclear power remains the safest and cleanest source of power around the globe.
References
Miller, D.W. 2004). Advantages of Nuclear Power. Retrieved from http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller13.html
Rajput, R. K. (2007). A textbook of power system engineering. New Delhi: Laxmi Publications. Read More
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