Nuclear power plants area way to create energy without the use of fossil fuels. Due to the concerns for the environment and the toxins that fossil fuels emit into the air, nuclear power plants are beginning to gain more popularity. Nuclear power plants can be found all over the world and currently there are bout 104 commercial nuclear power plants in the United States alone.
These nuclear power plants that currently exist actually account for more than 20% of the total electricity generated. This means that the potential of nuclear power plants is huge and can take a larger portion of the energy production. However, deciding if more nuclear power plants are a good idea is not quite as straightforward as one might think. There are differing opinions surrounding nuclear power plants and the impact that they have.
Do We Need More Nuclear Power Plants?
Deciding if nuclear power plants is the ideal energy production method available revolves around many factors. There are positive aspects of nuclear power plants, but there are also some downsides to consider. Before you come to your own conclusion on the topic of nuclear power plants it might be a good idea to weigh the pros and cons against one another. This will give you a new perspective on the topic and allow you to have an unbiased viewpoint.
What Are the Pros of Nuclear Power Plants?
The benefits of nuclear power plants are what proponents of this energy source feel matter most. Those that are for nuclear power plants feel that bypassing the need for fossil fuels will have a better impact on the world that we live in. Below is a closer look at the biggest positives associated with nuclear power plants.
1. Low Cost
A huge benefit to the use of nuclear power plants is the relatively low cost when compared to other alternatives. The initial cost of building a nuclear power plant is high and you also have to take into account the cost of enriching and processing nuclear fuel. However, this is seen as a positive because nuclear energy is very cost competitive. This means that as compared to the generation of oil, gas or coal, nuclear power plants are a lot more cost effective. This renewable energy source is simple of relatively low cost and that can be seen as a major benefit.
2. Load Energy
It should also be noted that nuclear power plants offer a stable base of load energy. This is a great benefit, because it is compatible with other renewable energy sources including wind and solar. This means that wind and solar resources can be ratcheted up and the electricity production from the nuclear plant can be lowered as a result.
3. Less Pollution
A big pro surrounding nuclear power plants can also be seen in the much less amount of pollution that is created. The environmental benefit of nuclear power plants is substantial. Other energy production methods that are used wreak havoc on the environment in a big way, but nuclear power plants do minimal damage. The total impact that nuclear power plants have the environment is much less than other alternative options.
What Are the Cons of Nuclear Power Plants?
Even though there are many benefits that can be gained from using nuclear power plants for energy production, there are a few downsides that must also be considered. Not everything associated with nuclear power plants is a positive.
1. Accidents Occur
The one thing that you have to be aware of with nuclear power plants is the occurrence of accidents. Accidents are simply unavoidable no matter what proactive measures you take against them. Radioactive waste is produced in nuclear power plants and it is a major threat to both humans and the environment. There have been a number of nuclear power plant accidents in the past that have brought awareness and concern to this issue. Putting more lives at risk is something that happens with the completion of every new nuclear power plant. The Chernobyl accident is one that caused the death of more than 20,000 Ukrainians due to nuclear waste.
2. Radioactive Waste
Even though nuclear power plants are supposed to be better for the environment this is not completely true. The production of nuclear waste is a major hazard and can emit some harmful toxins or pollutants into the air. Mining is a process of nuclear power plants that does result in carbon dioxide emission.
As you can see, determining if nuclear power plants are good or bad is not completely straightforward. There are both pros and cons that need to be considered. There are arguments that can be made on both sides, but the future of nuclear power plants does look somewhat promising. This is especially true when consecrating the cons of this energy source compared to other alternatives.