The discovery of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy had certainly made many changes in society. This was right after the last world war where this new source of energy had shown its awesome destructive power.
Soon, nuclear energy became the new byword of power – a clean source of electricity. Compared with that of the fossil fuels, the power was cheap. This was due to the fluctuating costs of oil, coal and others governed by economic demands and the politics in the source countries.
At nuclear energy plants, power is produced by the short route of converting the heat energy of radioactive materials right into steam to produce electricity. Traditional fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas are expensive because of the many and costly processes – locating, retrieving, and refining the materials.
Another problem is the emission of carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere. The devastation comes in the form of global warming, the byproducts of which are the massive climate changes coupled with huge devastations caused by the resultant unpredictable weather.
Nuclear energy is clean (no pollutants released), cheap (easy conversion to usable electricity) and with the promise of inexhaustibility. Overall, the return on investments is profitable for the businessmen while costs come out cheap for the end-user.
On the other hand, however, nuclear energy has a terrible dark side. Recent history and the accompanying data, past and present, have shown the grave danger it wreaks on humans and the environment.
The first argument is that there is still no adequate system for waste disposal. Spent nuclear wastes are downright deadly. High-level wastes are radioactive for millions of years, much too long for any earthly material to contain possible leakage into the environment.
The second grave objection is the possibility of unforeseen accidents that can pose imminent catastrophe on the whole planet itself. The recent (2011) earthquake and tsunami in Japan aptly illustrate this point.
Proponents argue that new technological advances (even floor tiles in nuclear plants now act as debris interceptors), accurate and detailed design are now within strict safety regulations. However, factors like public fear, the absence of waste disposal and high costs are holding back the building of new plants.
This piece was written by Leonard Johnson. He has been a great contributor to this site and always come up with interesting ideas to share with us. We know how much he is anti-war so it is great that he was able to write this piece for us.
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