Everyone knows that nuclear power plants are, potentially, very dangerous. But what are some of the advantages of nuclear power? That is what this post will cover.
- Nuclear power plants are more efficient than ever before. New technology has made them more reliable (they break down less often) and safer. People for nuclear power argue that this is evidenced by more and more nations (such as China) building nuclear power plants.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is a contentious issue. Proponents of nuclear power argue that, as no coal or fossil fuels are burnt, no carbon dioxide is released into the air. However, uranium has to be mined and transported to the nuclear plant. Both these activities require burning of fuels, so carbon dioxide is released. Also, producing nuclear fuel from the uranium requires a lot of energy, which also contributes to the emission of greenhouse gases.
- Although the initial cost of building nuclear plants is high, the running costs are relatively low.
- One reason the costs are low is that nuclear plants need only a small amount of uranium to produce a lot of energy. In fact, if the cost of uranium doubled, costs would only be increased by 7%. 1 truck of uranium produces as much energy as 1000 trucks of coal!
- Reduces dependence on foreign oils and natural gas (like biofuels). America, for instance, imports a lot of oil and natural gas from other countries. The price of these products is volatile, and change very quickly. If the price increases quickly, consumers have to pay more for their electricity (which they may not be able to afford). Building more nuclear power plants means that Americans will not be susceptible to price rises in oil and gas. President Barack Obama supports this idea of ‘energy independence’.
- Nuclear wastes can be safely stored underground (another debated issue).
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