With the accidents at Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986), countries put the brakes to their nuclear programs. This past decade, Ernest Moniz hints a renaissance with countries’ willingness to renew their nuclear programs. The movement; however, suffered a blow when Japan was struck by an earthquake which almost led to a nuclear meltdown.
Here are 10 reasons why we still need nuclear power, despite the setback in Japan.
High CO2 emissions are a major problem in today’s society. More than 6 and half million people burn fuel to keep warm, to provide electricity, to light their homes, move around using cars, buses, trains and airplanes. Burning of fuel emits CO2 that is then released into the air we breathe. Unlike fuel power, nuclear power is carbon-free and thus will have less of an effect on our environment.
Our electricity is costly. We pay thousands of dollars for heating, driving, and lighting. Nuclear power, however, is cheaper. According to Ernest Moniz, it costs less than two cents per kilowatt-hour to operate, maintain and fuel.
3. Many countries utilizing it:
The news is not just a publicity stunt. China, India, Russia and South Korea still account for 40% of nuclear power construction and are not backing down.
Most reactors have been safe and have not caused issues, with the exception of Fukushima plant. The plant was flooded and was pushed by a wave higher than the limit it could withhold when built. New technology, however, has made nuclear power more reliable (they break down less often) and safer.
5. Abundant Resources:
Scooping up Uranium and Plutonium (the source of nuclear power) is easy. There is also an abundancy of uranium and plutonium in countries like USA. Why go for something that is expensive and will cause environmental problems, when you can easily get supplies for a better alternative?
6. Radioactive Material: less contact with humans:
We are putting less radioactive material back in the earth than we took out. Additionally, we’re putting radioactive material in places where it has little contact with humans.
A lot of nuclear waste can be reused and recycled. The recycled plutonium and uranium can be inserted back into new fuel rods.
8. Little waste:
1000 megawatts nuclear plants produce 1 truckload of waste per year. This comes to the size of an aspirin tablet per person.
We have come a long way since the Chernobyl accident and the Three Mile Island disaster. Things have changed and new policies are in place. What we saw in the Soviet Union has been prevented and has worked for over 30 years now.
10. Reduces dependency on foreign oil:
That could be one solution to a problem Americans face. They must be in good relations with Middle East to get oil.