Posted on 02 November 2012.
The scarcity of resources as well as the constantly growing global population has determined scientists to find a long-term solution for people’s increasing needs. While there is still much work to be done in resolving the issue of world hunger for instance, at this point it can be affirmed that science discovered an answer for environmentally friendly energy generation: nuclear power.
Compared to other energy sources, nuclear power is able to generate electricity at a fraction of the cost, while emitting an insignificant amount of greenhouse gases. Considering that generating energy via nuclear facilities entails major risks (think of Fukushima and Chernobyl for example), the debate of whether nations should switch to nuclear is rather sensible. Nonetheless, several countries have already implemented and are currently dependant on energy derived from nuclear power.
France has been always looking for a good way to gain its energetic independence and nuclear power was just the thing the country needed. Having 76% nuclear energy, France is not only the nation most dependent on nuclear power, but it is also the state that is least affected by the crashes of the oil market. What is impressive is that the rest of the energy is generated via hydropower, two facts that make France one of the most socially responsible countries in the world, at least in terms of greenhouse gases emissions.
Nuclear power is Belgium represents a true reason for concern: while the country’s electricity is a little of 54% nuclear, in the past few years they have been experiencing some problems with seven of their reactors. So far, there have been several discussions about a 40 year plan to shut the reactors down and upgrade their security levels. However, if these measures were to be implemented, then they could have a significant negative impact on the economy, starting with the fact that the utility bills would double.
If you are a supporter of nuclear power, then it is very likely that you heard about the Ignalina, which was the biggest reactor in the world at some point and once used to account for 72% of Lithuania’s energy. Despite Lithuania’s high dependency on the reactor, Ignalina had to be shut-down because it presented way too many similarities with the reactor from Chernobyl. Even though their electricity bill has been a pain since 2009, Lithuanian officials have planned to build two new reactors until 2018.
In spite of the devastating effects of the nuclear incident of Chernobyl, Ukraine continued to invest in nuclear energy, which these days accounts for almost half of the country’s energy. While a certain percentage of the population is still deeply troubled by the idea that a nuclear accident can happen any minute, in reality Ukraine has no other choice. Its geographical position, the tense relationships with the Russian officials who threaten to stop supplying natural gas almost every winter as well as the cold climate are the main elements that keep Ukraine reliant on nuclear power.
Slovakia is among the top countries that have decided to take advantage of the cheap nuclear power and is even thinking of constructing two more reactors in the near future. However, Slovakia is faced with a major problem: considering the small size of the country, site selection for the new reactors is actually very difficult. Still there is a viable solution: they could try to reopen the two reactors that the EU has forced them to close in the 1990s due to safety reasons.