Three advantages and three disadvantages of nuclear energy
When you realize that one uranium fuel pellet has the same energy as 149 gallons of oil, you wonder why we aren’t funding uranium fuel for our cars! Well, it is all the same if you consider the value. The price of 1 gram of uranium could easily be around $6000, which brings us back to where we were with gasoline.
Nuclear power has always being a topic of debate among those who favor it instead of the use of dirty fuels, namely, carbon and those who believe nuclear energy poses a health hazard. As with any source of energy in the modern era, the use of nuclear energy has advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Nuclear Energy
- The amount of energy produced with a lesser amount of uranium is far more than coal or oil. In other words, you need less uranium to produce equivalent amounts of energy with the dirtier options. Uranium also happens to be less expensive to produce and transport, lowering production costs. More fossil fuels are being consumed than what is being produced.
- Uranium itself can have some emissions, but the plants producing nuclear energy do not produce any greenhouse gases. This is actually a great advantage given the effects of global warming we are seeing today.
- Nuclear power plants are stable and can operate fully for more than 500 years. This means fewer chances for a brownout of interruptions.
Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy
- Uranium is an unstable element. It emits radioactivity, which is a health hazard. This means that special care must be taken during its mining, transportation, and processing.
- One of the bigger problems of nuclear energy is what to do with the waste left behind after all of the uranium has been produced. Efforts to recycle this have been fruitless and this waste could take thousands of years to degrade.
- All reactors are equipped with proper safety measures to prevent a leak or an accident. However, if there were to be an accident due to lack of proper maintenance, a leak could release a serious amount of radiation into the atmosphere with catastrophic results.