Entering the twenty-first century, six billion people inhabited the earth. A number that is expected to double in a hundred and twenty years, yet only 4% of that world population lives in the Untied States. Even though the Untied States is only 4% of the population of the world, it still uses 25% of the worlds resources. This statistic is most important when an analyzation of our worlds energy sources status is investigated and analyzed. The future is unknown, but Nuclear Power is an efficient source that often times just the mention of scares people.
Coal and oil are a major energy provider around the world, particularly in the US. However, many countries without these abundances have turned to nuclear energy, due to its supreme effectiveness. Nuclear energy produces more energy per unit weight than coal and oil, releases no pollutants into the atmosphere and is less cancer causing than the burning of coal and oil (Uranium Information Centre). Yet nuclear power has been attacked in the US since the day that it was instituted as being a non-safe and environmentally non-friendly form of energy.
Right now the United States does not have to worry about running out of fossil fuels for a long time, even though they generate 51.7% of the USs power, and power almost all forms of modern transportation (Greening Earth Society). But what happens down the road, when all of the natural resources are gone? In many countries, such as France, nuclear power is accepted and welcome. Why is this not the same way in the US? The media and all forms of persuasion have misconstrued the facts of nuclear energy. Most people are scared of nuclear power, the word unsafe is synonymous with nuclear power in this country, but time has shown that there is not any reason for this feeling.
Americans do not hold the facts on this issue. They have the illogical fears of a careless misuse of the power in the atom. Nuclear energy is safe, clean, and effective. The voice that is heard among the people is that nuclear energy is unsafe to the environment. There should not even be debate about the environmental concerns of nuclear power. If there is anything that makes nuclear power unpractical it is government spending. Never the less nuclear power is the cleanest form of power for a rapidly increasing world population.
Nuclear reactors produce electricity by the fission of uranium, not the burning of fossil fuels; which does not emit sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate soot, or greenhouse gases. In many countries around the world nuclear energy is the largest source of emission-free electrical generation.
The making of one million kilowatt-hours of electricity in a natural gas power plant produces 550 tons of carbon dioxide. Producing the same amount in an oil-fired plant makes 850 tons of carbon dioxide and 1,110 in a coal plant. However making one million kilowatt hours of electricity in a nuclear plant does not even create a trace of carbon dioxide. Not only does nuclear energy not emit any pollutants, it is causing the average of pollutants that are let into air decline (Uranium Information Centre).
Since 1973, the generation of electricity by US power plants has resulted in two billion fewer tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Nuclear energy has accounted for 90% of all carbon emission reductions achieved by the electric utility industry. And the fact still remains that 1 gram of plutonium has the same energy potential as 1 ton of oil (Uranium Information Centre).
Another major concern for the environment is what to do with the waste of a nuclear plant. It is in this area that causes people to feel that nuclear power is unsafe for the environment. The fact is that the waste is radioactive for thousands of years, and if not disposed of properly could destroy the environment. In some countries, such as France, the waste from the nuclear plants is recycled making a lower amount of unusable waste. This is not done in the US, but should always be an option. The waste is stored in huge drums impermeable to any type of disaster. As a result, the nuclear energy industry is the only industry established since the industrial revolution that has managed and accounted for all of its waste, preventing adverse impacts on the environment. Yet, the worry people have is that the waste is radioactive. Not to worry, at a close range a person would only receive 3 millarems of radiation from one of the tanks, when the average person receives 350 millarems of radiation each year from everything around them. Even when the plant on Three Mile Island had a disaster in 1979, (the worst is US history) the average person that resided in that area received 2 to 10 millarems (PBS Broadcasting). This would also mean that nuclear power is not the cancer causing threat that the majority of the population thinks it is. The burning of coal is more cancerous then nuclear power, and coal burning releases more radiation then nuclear power.
Not only is nuclear power more nature friendly, but more human friendly. The United States needs a non-polluting form of energy that can supply the mass of people, and they have it. Nuclear power is not an enemy and should be considered for use in the future. The abundance of coal could be exported to other countries that do not have the money to run on nuclear power. This could be in turn used to finance nuclear power. France runs on 76% nuclear power and there it is seen as a safe, environmentally friendly practice. However to be as efficient as France, the US must recycle their waste products to be used in the plants, helping to decrease the fear of nuclear waste (International Waste Management). With the facts on paper, in black and white, nuclear power is the logical choice with the environment as the main concern. The only thing that is let into the air out of a nuclear plant is steam, and that water is not contaminated in any way.
Human beings are the only species that take and gather more then they need. No other species on the planet uses up all of the resources it can find. Animals live in a symbiotic relationship with the planet. Animals do not willingly pollute earth; man knows that he is contaminating the planet by burning fossil fuels for energy. Nuclear power is much more environmentally friendly. When all the waste is accounted for, which it has been since the moment of institution, the nuclear industry lets no pollutants into the earth. With concern for the health of the environment, nuclear power is the answer.
Fossil Fuels. Online Posting. Greening Earth Society. 12 Oct 2000.
France – Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Material Production Online Posting. 15 Oct. 1996.
International Waste Management. 12 Oct. 2000.
Nuclear Electricity. Online Posting. August 2000. Uranium Information Centre Ltd. 12 Oct. 2000. .
Three Mile Island. Online Posting. Public Broadcast System. 12 Oct. 2000. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/three/sfeature/tmiwhat.html.