Nuclear Energy Essay

Submitted By danione
Words: 965
Pages: 4

Nuclear Energy: A Beginning, Not an End

As a result of World War II and the Chernobyl disaster, nuclear energy was extensively perceived as a dangerous weapon that only promised “the ending of the world”. However, “the ending” proves not to be as absolute as the pressure of fear alleged it as; in fact, today, nuclear energy is now being looked at as a possible “beginning” to a world of clean and reliable energy. When radioactive elements are broken into smaller components, it releases enormous amounts of energy known as nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is what holds together an atom’s nucleus. A nuclear reactor is used to produce this energy by creating a controlled nuclear fission reaction. The reactor uses heat to generate steam, which then turns a turbine that generates electricity. Although it may seem like a long process to mine certain radioactive materials and use them for this purpose, the results are overall highly beneficial. Thus, it would be reasonable to turn to nuclear energy as an alternative solution due to its environmental impact, efficiency, and economic growth. Nuclear energy is comparable to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower. Since these renewable energy sources are accepted, nuclear energy should also be considered. The main reason is that nuclear energy comes in enormous amounts of electricity with minimal carbon emission, so it’s environmentally positive. This is because nuclear reactors use nuclear fission. Instead of production of smoke full of carbon emissions, steam is generated from the heat of the reactor core; that is what one would see rising from cooling towers. In addition, nuclear power will only use the energy of radioactive decay, whereas burning fossil fuels will release greenhouse gases. The fossil fuels releasing greenhouse gases in to the atmosphere can cause global temperatures to rise because it trap the heat. This is why burning fossil fuels puts the world at a greater risk of global warming and nuclear energy does not. Also, because it is a generally clean source, nuclear energy supports clean water supplies. Any water discharged from nuclear power plants and its reactors have no harmful pollutants or material. It also can maintain temperature for aquatic life because of the previous heat that constantly kept the water warm. Since it is environmentally beneficial, the use of it can be an alternative to harmful, limited sources. Many take limited energy sources for granted. As the demand for energy in America continues to grow, it is important that a reliable and efficient energy source is invested in, such as nuclear energy. Fortunately, nuclear power is more reliable and efficient than its competitors. For instance, a nuclear power plant can take up less than half of square mile, yet it could produce 1000 megawatts. This is a great comparison in relation to other renewable energy sources. In comparison, a solar farm would need more than fifty miles of land to produce the same amount of energy; a wind farm would need more than twenty miles. Another important factor as to why nuclear power is reliable is that it can be produced in large amounts on demand. In summer, electricity demands increase and require electricity. The nuclear energy facilities that produce it on demand easily can help people keep cool during summer.
Because nuclear energy can be so efficient and easily produced, it can affect economics in a positive way. One way is how nuclear reactors produce large amounts of energy with small amounts of uranium. Disregarding the cost of uranium mining, the overall cost of producing this large amount of energy is relatively low. Thus, when compared to other competitive energy sources, the cost of energy produced in nuclear reactors is less expensive than the cost to generate energy from sources such as oil and coal. If you take into consideration of the efficiency of nuclear power plants, you will find