Nuclear Power - Debate On Nuclear Power

Debate On Nuclear Power

Main article: Nuclear power debate See also: Nuclear energy policy and Anti-nuclear movement

The nuclear power debate is about the controversy which has surrounded the deployment and use of nuclear fission reactors to generate electricity from nuclear fuel for civilian purposes. The debate about nuclear power peaked during the 1970s and 1980s, when it "reached an intensity unprecedented in the history of technology controversies", in some countries.

Proponents of nuclear energy contend that nuclear power is a sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions and increases energy security by decreasing dependence on imported energy sources. Proponents claim that nuclear power produces virtually no conventional air pollution, such as greenhouse gases and smog, in contrast to the chief viable alternative of fossil fuel. Nuclear power can produce base-load power unlike many renewables which are intermittent energy sources lacking large-scale and cheap ways of storing energy. M. King Hubbert saw oil as a resource that would run out, and believed uranium had much more promise as an energy source. Proponents claim that the risks of storing waste are small and can be further reduced by using the latest technology in newer reactors, and the operational safety record in the Western world is excellent when compared to the other major kinds of power plants.

Opponents believe that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment. These threats include the problems of processing, transport and storage of radioactive nuclear waste, the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation and terrorism, as well as health risks and environmental damage from uranium mining. They also contend that reactors themselves are enormously complex machines where many things can and do go wrong; and there have been serious nuclear accidents. Critics do not believe that the risks of using nuclear fission as a power source can be fully offset through the development of new technology. They also argue that when all the energy-intensive stages of the nuclear fuel chain are considered, from uranium mining to nuclear decommissioning, nuclear power is neither a low-carbon nor an economical electricity source.

Arguments of economics and safety are used by both sides of the debate.

Read more about this topic:  Nuclear Power

Famous quotes containing the words nuclear power, debate, nuclear and/or power:

    The emotional security and political stability in this country entitle us to be a nuclear power.
    Ronald, Sir Mason (b. 1930)

    My first debate in high school—”Resolved: Girls are no good”—and I won!
    Donald Freed, U.S. screenwriter, and Arnold M. Stone. Robert Altman. Richard Nixon (Philip Baker Hall)

    Language is as real, as tangible, in our lives as streets, pipelines, telephone switchboards, microwaves, radioactivity, cloning laboratories, nuclear power stations.
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929)

    Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.
    Hannah Arendt (1906–1975)