Nuclear power/Greener

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(from Controversies in Science)

Is nuclear power green?

Points For[edit | edit source]

Nuclear power is the only viable substitute for coal[edit | edit source]

Wind and solar power are other green energy solutions but because they are unpredictable and unreliable nuclear power is the only viable substitie for coal. Nuclear power can satisfy high energy demand based on the facilities built rather than depending on unpredictable natural factors.


Nuclear power can keep up with population growth with breeder reactors[edit | edit source]

Reactors that make more radioactive fuel create an unlimited supply of energy [2]

Nuclear Power, the clear choice![edit | edit source]

Not only is Nuclear energy much safer in terms of lives lost in manufacturing, but compared to coal and electricity its carbon foot print is non-existent. Also, the process of generating nuclear power creates very little waste or by-products[3].

CANDU(Canadian Deuterium Uranium)power plants use cleaner methods to produce energy such as wind, solar, hydro, and biomass which makes them a reliable source of power. Research has also shown that CANDU Nuclear Plants can supply electricity with zero emissions of greenhouse gases. There are studies also stating that these nuclear power plants produce small emissions compared to other power plants. The study also reviews the life cycle of several different types of Power Plants. [4].

Many people believe that by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions will increase, along with oil demand. To reduce CO2 emissions, nuclear energy plays a very crucial role in doing so[5].

Clean Energy? Think nuclear power[edit | edit source]

The world is heavily dependent on fossil fuels that have been proven to be detrimental to the environment. Nuclear power plants produce energy from nuclear fission and are the most clean and environment friendly source of energy among other forms of power sources including coal, oil, gas and hydro power [6].

No harmful emissions[edit | edit source]

Compared to other major existing energy sources such as coal and oil, nuclear power emits almost no greenhouse gases or nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, which are the primary components of air pollution[7]

Points Against[edit | edit source]

Mining Uranium is Harmful to the Environment[edit | edit source]

The mining of uranium around the world for nuclear energy purposes is not as regulated nor as guarded as it is recommended to be. Studies suggest that improper procedures of uranium extraction have caused excessive radiation levels and pose a direct threat to its immediate environment. For a change to occur, there must be a global consensus on how to extract uranium in the safest, most environmentally conscious way. [8]

Leukaemia Rates Higher in Children Close to Nuclear Power Plants[edit | edit source]

Children under the age of 5 that are within a 5km area around nuclear power plants in Germany had higher rates of leukaemia than those in a control group. [9]

NO Radiation is Okay Raditation[edit | edit source]

The opinions of doctors regarding the nuclear power industry are not well known because they receive little to no attention from congress on the issue. Helen Caldicott focuses on dangers that we are not aware of nor do we see yet from the impacts of nuclear radation. Many physicists advocate for nuclear power because they focus on the external less harmful sources of radatation. Physicists also do not acknowledge that radiation is cummulative and the harmful effects may not surface until later in life or generations later. There are many long term effects that will take generations to appear from incidents such as Chernobyl or Fukushima [10].

There is no safe method for Disposal of nuclear waste[edit | edit source]

Isolation is the safest method for disposing of nuclear waste, and there are many environmental implications associated with this disposal method. [11]

Nuclear Power Would Not Stop Climate Change[edit | edit source]

Problems that arise when planning to build a new nuclear plant are analyzed.


Increase in cancer post Three Mile Island disaster[edit | edit source]

Residents living near the Three Mile Island nuclear plant were evaluated to see if there was an increase within cancer rates. This took place after the disaster in 1979 where the nuclear plant overheated resulting in a nuclear meltdown. [13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Moore, P. (2006). /A Critique of Going Nuclear A Green Makes the Case. The Washington Post.
  2. Weinberg, A. M., Hammond, R. P. (1970). Limits to the Use of Energy: The limit to population set by energy is extremely large, provided that the breeder reactor is developed or that controlled fusion becomes feasible. American Scientist, 58, (4), 412-418
  3. Rashad, S.M., Hammad, F.H. (2000). Nuclear power and the environment: comparative assessment of environmental and health impacts of electricity-generating systems. Applied Energy, 65, 211-229. doi:10.1016/S0306-2619(99)00069-0
  4. Andseta, S., Thompson, M. J., Jarrell, J. P., & Pendergast, D. R. (2000) CANDU reactors and greenhouse gas emissions. Canadian Nuclear Association.
  5. Apergis, N., Menyah, K., Payne, J., Wolde-Rufael, Y., (2010). On the casual dynamics between emissions, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and economic growth. Ecological Economics, 69(11), 2255-2260. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.06.014,%20N_,%20Payne,%20E_%20J_,%20Menyah,%20K_%20and%20Wolde-Rufael,%20Y_%20-%20On%20the%20causal%20dynamics%20between%20emissions.pdf
  6. Javidkia, F., Hashemi-Tilehnoee, M., Zabihi, V (2011). "A Comparison between Fossil and Nuclear Power Plants Pollutions and Their Environmental Effects". Journal of Energy and Power Engineering 5(9)811-820
  7. Schlesinger, V. (2009).Nuclear energy: Good or bad?[
  8. Carvalho, F. P. (2011). Environmental Radioactive Impact Associated to Uranium Production. American Journal Of Environmental Sciences, 7(6), 547-553.
  9. Kaatsch, P., Spix, C., Schulze-Rath, R., Schmiedel, S., Blettner, M. (2008). Leukaemia in young children living in the vicinity of German nuclear power plants. International journal of cancer. 1220, 721–726. Retrieved on October 25, 2011 from
  10. Caldicott, H. (2011). Unsafe at Any Dose.
  11. K. S. Shrader-Frechette (1993) /Burying Uncertainty: Risk and the case against geological disposal of nuclear waste. Ex9UC&dq=Nuclear+waste+is+harmful+to+the+environment&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  12. Greenpeace (n.d.)Nuclear power the problems". Greenpeace (n.d.). Nuclear power the problems.Retrieved on March 1, 2011 from
  13. Hatch, M.C., Wallenstein, S., Beyea, J., Nieves, J., Susser, M. (1991). "Cancer Rates after the Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident and Proximity of Residence to the Plant". American Journal of Public Health, 81(6), 719-724