Nuclear Energy is defined as the energy that is released when atomic nuclei either split or fuse. After a careful consideration of the amount of conventional fuels available and their consumption, it becomes very clear that nuclear energy will be used predominantly in the future. Moreover, it offers an attractive alternative to the conventional fuels that generally contribute to global warming.
In comparison to fossil fuels and hydroelectric power, nuclear energy provides a safer and cleaner option. Moreover, the quantity of uranium, which is used as nuclear fuel, is much more abundant than fossil fuels (Miller, 2004).
Another advantage in using nuclear energy is that it is comparatively cheaper and environmentally safe, because the waste matter from such fuel is safely stored. In the United States of America, each and every nuclear power plant is controlled by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Moreover, these nuclear facilities have to strictly adhere to the safety standards set by this regulatory body (Cabreza).
A very important benefit of nuclear energy lies in the fact that it drastically reduces dependence on oil imports. Furthermore, this source of energy requires a lot of personnel, which helps to decrease unemployment. Nuclear energy is not only very efficient but also cost-effective, due to the minimal variance in the price of uranium, the optimal performance and frequent modernization of nuclear power plants. At present, a fifth of the total electricity needs of the U.S are catered to by nuclear (Cabreza).
In comparison to nuclear energy, coal the conventional source of energy is much more dangerous. Coal releases a number of pollutants and carcinogens when burned. Further, the annual casualties amongst coal miners, due to accidents, are around a hundred. Nuclear power is far safer in comparison to coal or hydropower (Miller, 2004).
The nuclear fuel used in nuclear reactors is Uranium-235 and the mechanism by which nuclear fission energy is released is given by the equation:
10n + 235 92U —> 9236Kr + 14156 Ba +200 MeV+ 3 1 0n (3-3: Nuclear Fission).
Uranium-235 releases 3.7 million times the amount of energy that coal can release. Due to the use of nuclear energy, two and a half billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions are not released into the atmosphere every year (Why use Nuclear Power?, 2006).
In view of the above facts, it is imperative for the world to adopt nuclear energy for all their energy requirements. Nuclear power is clean, cost-effective, reliable and safe power. No major nuclear accidents have taken place in the U.S. In its entire history, only a single accident took place in 1979. In that incident there was a partial reactor core meltdown at Three Mile Island (Accident of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant).
However, this accident served to illustrate the effectiveness of the various safety measures that had been adopted in nuclear power plants. Radiation from the core of the reactor could not come out of the reactor due to the highly effective walls and no member of the public or personnel of the facility sustained even an injury.
Moreover, with the amount of subsequent research that was conducted after this accident, the possibility of the recurrence of such an incident is very remote. Considerable attention has been paid to recycling spent fuel and thereby reducing the amount of nuclear waste. In view of these facts the day is not far off when nuclear fuel will completely replace fossil fuels.
3-3: Nuclear Fission. (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2007, from http://www2.kutl.kyushu-u.ac.jp/seminar/MicroWorld3_E/3Part3_E/3P33_E/nuclear_fission_E.htm
Accident of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2007, from http://www.npp.hu/tortenelem/balesetek2-e.htm
Cabreza, N. M. (n.d.). Nuclear Power VS. Other Sources of Power. Retrieved May 3, 2007, from http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/thyd/ne161/ncabreza/sources.html
Miller, J. D. (2004, April 14). Advantages of Nuclear Power. Retrieved May 3, 2007, from LewRockwell.com: http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller13.html
Why use Nuclear Power? (2006, October 22). Retrieved May 3, 2007, from The Virtual Nuclear Tourist: http://www.nucleartourist.com/basics/reasons1.htm