Essay about The Potential of Nuclear Energy

Submitted By jwalker0
Words: 860
Pages: 4

The Potential of Nuclear Energy

Imagine a heaping pile of dark coal, almost four hundred pounds in weight. It might be surprising that if this coal ere to be burned, it would release energy equivalent to the amount the average American uses in only one week. Energy that would be used to charge computers and phones, turn on lights, wash laundry, cook food, and almost everything else used in the modern American lifestyle. People use a lot of energy- but rarely think about where it comes from. There are many sources of energy such as coal, oil, natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear, just to name a few. Some methods are used more than others, but location can have a big impact. China, for example, burns much more coal than the United States. This year, a documentary called “Pandora’s Promise” was released, focusing on the potential of nuclear energy in todays world. Damian Carrington of theguardian.com recently wrote an article called “Pandora's Promise: pro-nuclear movie blows up yesterday's myths” agreeing with someone of the points brought up in the movie, and challenging others. Nuclear energy should be used as the worlds primary source for power because it is safer to human life, more ecologically sound, and ultimate less expensive for consumers.
Harnessing nuclear energy would be a safer alternative to other mainstream methods. In over 14,500 cumulative years of reactor-hours, only three major nuclear accidents have taken place- Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. These means that these nuclear reactors are pretty fail proof- it takes a massive natural disaster to cause a melt down, which is what it is called when the core of the reactor is not cooled properly and can possibly release radiation. Even in one of the worst melt downs, Fukushima, no lives were taken- and the IAEA reported in June 2011 “to date, no health effects have been reported in any person as a result of radiation exposure." Modern day nuclear reactors are so foolproof that even in a full melt down with complete power loss, it remains safe enough to not create any casualties, or give anyone radiation poisoning. This is a significant contrast to coal mining, in which is recognized as the most dangerous job in America by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the past century, more than 100,000 coal miners have been killed from explosions, cave-ins, and even diseases such as black lung. Coal mining is extremely dangerous; a monstrous industry that destroys lives. This shows how obvious it is how nuclear energy is much less deleterious to human life. Employing nuclear power plants to create energy is far less damaging to the environment then other ways of making power. Today, the environmental friendliness can be estimated by carbon emissions. Nuclear reactors create quite a surprising amount of CO2 that is released into our atmosphere: none. This means that no matter how long a reactor is running it does not create any greenhouse gases. The only measure of CO2 from the nuclear energy cycle is from the mining of Uranium. For 22 tonnes of uranium used in nuclear reactors, about 1,000,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide is saved from being released into our atmosphere. If people really want to save the environment, then forget about driving less- use nuclear energy! After nuclear substances are have been cycled through a reactor, about an entire third of the material…