• Jonathan Miller

The World Should Invest in Nuclear Power More



Nuclear power seems to be shunned when it comes to energy production. Sure, whenever nuclear power plants are brought up, you can't help but think about Chernobyl and the how much it devastated the environment and people around it, but nuclear power is statistically safe, and it should be used more.

A nuclear power plant produces energy with a nuclear reactor. In that reactor, atoms undergo nuclear fusion, the fusion of atoms to make a heavier element. In today’s reactors, two isotopes of hydrogen, tritium and deuterium, are fused to make helium. The fusion creates a lot of heat that boils water to create steam, and the steam spins a turbine that produces energy.

 

Nuclear power plants are very efficient. There are about 450 active nuclear reactors in the world, but those 450 produce about ten percent of the world's energy. It may not seem like a lot but compare it to coal. Coal power plants lead the world in energy production, accounting for roughly 36% of the world's energy, but there are about 8,500 coal power plants worldwide.


If 450 nuclear reactors produce ten percent of the world's energy, then there would only have to be about 4,500 nuclear power plants to produce 100% of the world's energy, and there would have to be around 24,000 coal plants in the world to produce 100% of the energy in the world.

 

Another reason the world should use nuclear power more is that it is accessible everywhere. Another great energy source would be geothermal energy, but geothermal energy is only accessible in certain areas of the world where geothermal energy can be accessed, but nuclear power plants can be built anywhere. Even though they can be built anywhere, not many of them have to be built because of how much energy they can produce by themselves.

A coal fired plant

Nuclear power plants are also a source of green energy, meaning that they cause no harm to the environment when creating energy. Their carbon production is so low that it sits behind hydropower as an energy source to produce the least amount of carbon.

Nuclear power plants produce about 1/700th of the amount of greenhouse gases that are produced by coal plants.

 

Nuclear power plants are considered very safe, but two nuclear power plant disasters give everyone a negative view on these plants. Maybe their negativity is justified because those disasters were absolutely horrendous. Chernobyl had contaminated the environment for miles and killed 31 people in the factory and 60 people later due to radiation poisoning, and cities and towns around it are still uninhabitable.

Chernobyl was also a preventable event. The staff were not qualified to work the plant and the reactor was not designed well

The other nuclear disaster was in Fukushima, Japan. The environmental effects of the disaster weren't as severe as Chernobyl's, but it caused about 2,200 people to lose their lives.

Fukushima's disaster wasn't caused by human error though. Japan had experienced an intense earthquake that caused a tsunami to hit Japan, and the tsunami had damaged the reactors which caused a nuclear meltdown.

Other than the two disasters, there is another problem to nuclear power plants. That problem would be nuclear waste. Nuclear waste isn't green sludge, but simply substances or objects that are contaminated with radiation.

The problem with nuclear waste is how to dispose of it. Nuclear waste is usually disposed in storage units underground, but at some point, those units will get full. There can't be too many storage units in scattered around the world, and if there were storage units everywhere, eventually those would get full as well, so where can the nuclear waste go?

It can't be poured into the ocean because it can have devastating effects on ecosystems. Landfills will have nuclear waste contaminate acres of land. Lighting nuclear waste on fire will release dangerous chemicals into the air. Disposing nuclear waste is the most concerning factor of implementing nuclear power..

 

If the world invested more in nuclear energy, then air pollution and increased greenhouse gases would not be much of a problem anymore. There would be more land available to the ecosystems across the globe because of the efficiency of nuclear power plants, and every country can have access to nuclear power.

Nuclear power should be more of a considerations to the world more than it is now.