Geography - alternative energy Essay

Submitted By Sumonaa
Words: 816
Pages: 4

1a.
Nuclear power has the highest economic cost, this is due to the fact it’s a costly process to mine the uranium as it’s a highly radioactive substance, thus it must be done in a manner which is safe for those present. In addition the disposal of said uranium when it has be used is also on the expensive side as it involves putting it in a canister and submerging it in a pond constructed for this purpose. For example, Canada estimates that it will need as much as $24 billion to dispose of its nuclear waste. Furthermore, finding a suitable site for the power plant and the construction of the plant adds to the already high cost, for instances the cost of Darlington Nuclear Plant in Ontario cost $15 billion. Nuclear power also has the lowest level of social acceptance compared to the other energy resources; this could be due the potential for serious catastrophe. In the past, nuclear accidents have resulted in death, serious illness, and extreme environmental damage, and their impact continues for generations. The worst accident was at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. Also nuclear power plants emit low level radioactivity that may pose cancer risks for nearby communities. Surprisingly nuclear power is considered somewhat low on environmental impacts, most probably due to the process not releasing carbon dioxide. However, mining disrupts and destroys the area being mined and results in accidental spill of contaminated water, leading to the potential poisoning of the nearby waterways, which threatens the local environment and residents. The construction of plants requires fossil fuels that release harmful greenhouse gases, and the same is true when the uranium is mined and transported.
Wind power is relatively inexpensive to produce given that wind itself is free, however the production of the turbines itself and maintenance is costly, although wind power is becoming more cost competitive and with the help of more subsidies the cost is low then past generations. Moreover, wind power is neither high nor low; this may be due to the perspectives of different people and the area in which it is constructed. For example, wind farms need large amounts of and in sufficiently windy areas, this leads to the issue of NIMBY whereby residents find the turbines visually unappealing; believe it ruins the appearance of natural landscape and somewhat noisy, thus resulting in them not wanting it near them. Although, residents who live further away from the farm would see no issue in the turbines as it is no near them. However, wind farms which are built offshore are much more socially accepted as it is out of eyes sight. Wind power has a low level of environmental impact. This is because wind power causes no air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions during electricity generation nor does it produce solid waste or water pollution, though the construction of the turbines may. Also wind turbines cause minimal land disturbance as the land can be shared with other activities, such as growing crops or grazing livestock and offshore turbines placed out in the sea have no impact on land.
The use of coal has the highest level of environmental impact for the clear reason that the burning of the coal to make…