Many believe that nuclear power is safe, economical and clean. But critics tend to differ as it leads to nuclear waste problems, industry disasters and chronic diseases. Listed below are some of the nuclear energy pros and cons.
No energy source is 100% clean. Fossil fuel plants spew carbon dioxide in major quantity into the atmosphere, whereas nuclear plants don’t emit smoke at all. Nuclear fission is the method in which atoms are split in a series of reactions to create electricity. Nuclear power is carbon-free and more than that, more electricity is produced by it than other sources such as wind and solar. But it requires uranium which needs to be mined and transported to the plants. Also, the radioactive waste that it produces is extremely dangerous and isn’t biodegradable. Most of the plants the waste in concrete basins, where it doesn’t loses its radioactive nature even after thousands of years later.
Nuclear plants produce more energy than wind, solar or coal and that too for far fewer cents. Construction cost of the plants will come down with the increase in the number of plants. Obviously, it this will generate more jobs, which is a kind of a silver-lining in the present economic scenario. But building and maintaining these plants is quite expensive and must be added to the equation. Also, the storage of those waste produced for a long-term is dangerous and not at all cost-friendly. Recruiting skilled labor is also a major concern.
At the time of marketing nuclear energy as a safe product, one needs to keep in mind the safety and the confidence of the consumer. The Chernobyl and the Three Mile Island disaster give critics enough room to go against this marketing strategy and the instability of these plants. Though, proponents believe that nuclear plants are safer than the coal-burning plants.
It is quite argumentative discussion as whether there is any connection between the increasing number of cancer incidents in people living near nuclear plants. But studies show that there are no signs of any increase in the cancer rate of both children and adults residing near nuclear facilities in 107 countries. But a certain section of the critics of such studies are of the notion that there have been clusters of childhood leukemia and breast cancer near these facilities.
For long, it’s been ingrained into the consciousness of the general public that stolen nuclear materials can be used in creating mass-destructive weapons. But in theory, even uranium producing power plants can be used to produce weapons. Also, it is quite difficult to obtain those materials from a nuclear plant. One cannot forget the detection issue. Uranium carrying truck needs to be shielded with lead so as to slip it through the security detectors.