Nuclear Power

Introduction

Nuclear power is the energy generated by use of Uranium. The energy is produced via complex chemical processes in the nuclear power stations. Major chemical reactions that involve the splitting of atom’s nucleus take place in the reactors. This process is known as fission (Klug and Davies 31-32). The first nuclear power station was established in 1956 in Cumbira, England. Nuclear energy provides about sixteen percent of the total earth’s energy requirements (Cohen ch. 2).

Nuclear Power and Fuel Cost

Nuclear plants take years to be built.The cost of buying, and building the reactors is way too high (Klug and Davies 31-32). The kinds of security installations done around the power plant are of high technology which is extremely costly. Managers of nuclear power plants would prefer claiming their returns at the commencement of the plants activities which describes the high cost of fuel. The claim is thought to include cost of installations and time taken to construct the nuclear plants.

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Other reasons that could lead to high cost of fuel namely, Security measures, installation factors and safety measures (Klug and Davies 36). The safety measure gadgets are very expensive and are made by great technological experts. Another form of safety measure is availability of machine spare parts. This ensures frequent renewal and upgrading of the plant’s mechanical equipment and this is again very costly.

The main reason for such security is due to the danger that could be caused by exposure to the products of radioactivity. The main equipment that needs close check up is the reactor. Its installation is quite costly hence appropriate renewal of worn out parts is an option that should not to be overlooked.

In addition to these costs, the costs of containing the waste matter is also quite high (Cohen ch.11). Although many people think that investing in nuclear power is a costly event, I do not feel so because it is a worthy venture and one of the cleanest sources of energy.

Though it is not renewable, its establishment and good management could provide a perfect source of energy to the world at large. Nuclear energy production requires low fuel and once the plant is built the cost variables are minor. The Cost of doubling fuel or uranium cost in nuclear plants will only increase fuel cost by 9%. For other sources like coal and gas, doubling fuel prices will increase the fuel prices by 31% and 66% respectively (Cohen ch.9).

Global warming and nuclear power

Global warming is caused by the effect of green house gases. These gases are carbon dioxide, methane, vapor and ozone. They are produced by burning fossil fuel. When the gases accumulate in the atmosphere they serve as a mirror in reflecting heat energy back to earth. The accumulation of these gases leads to increased temperature on earth’s atmosphere resulting into global warming (Klug and Davies 31-37).

Nuclear power should not at any instance be regarded as one of the causative effects of global warming. This is because it consumes carbon dioxide which is of the green house gases during energy production. Carbon dioxide is a major gas among the green house gases. Hence nuclear energy has provided a solution point for its disposal.

Nuclear energy should therefore be referred to as a cleaner rather than destroyer. It has also boosted the economy by creating a market for sale of carbon dioxide gas. Industries producing this gas can as well trade with nuclear power plants. When serious action is taken in trading this gas from various outlets to various nuclear plants, then a solution would be made on how to regulate global warming using nuclear power generation.

In addition to nuclear power generation, use of renewable energy would also help in countering global warming. Due to the increased need for electricity, more nuclear power plants should be built. These will provide enough market for carbon dioxide waste from other manufacturing industries.

Nuclear energy should be adopted in place of fossil fuel. This is because fossil fuels position’s the earth at a higher risk of global warming. The only task that would justify the use of nuclear energy is when the purpose of Uranium metal is not shifted to bomb production or nuclear weapon production. New adoptions and policies on how to prevent global warming should be implemented.

Article Annotation

Barkan, Steven. Nuclear Power and Protest Movements. Social problems journal Vol. 27.1(1979):11-36.Print.

Steve Barkan, a retired article writer basically points out people’s views that have been influenced by environmental degradation. The people have turned more attention to nuclear energy technology as a means of addressing the problem. Barkan’s article examines people’s opinion on nuclear energy. Those against the notion of nuclear energy as a source of energy believe that carbon dioxide emissions mostly emanate from nuclear power and not renewable energy.

These people’s arguments are based on the argument that high grade ores will get depleted hence low grade ores which produce carbon dioxide will be used with no installation of advanced reactor equipment.

In addition the opponents say that nuclear waste makes the environment susceptible to harm in the future, but they fail to point out that long lived constituents or radioactive elements give off small portion of radioactivity. The opponents also fail to mention any person that could have been harmed as a result of using fuel from power plants.

Another argument is that high cost of nuclear plant management has resulted to increased cost of fuel. In this case, they fail to note that the cost of electricity from nuclear energy is cheaper than most sources. Barkan also brings out the contrasting issue of terrorist attack whom the anti nuclear group argues that could cause melt down of ore. He responds by saying that high level of technological security would not allow access of such suicidal sabotage.

Conclusion

Nuclear energy is more affordable to produce than coal energy. It does not produce smoke or carbon dioxide. Instead, the carbon dioxide is used in the process to remove heat from the system. In this case carbon dioxide does not act as a byproduct rather it serves a positive purpose by being utilized. In addition its usage, nuclear energy produces less waste. It does contribute to neither environmental hazards nor green house effect like coal.

Nuclear energy is reliable and produces large amount of energy from less fuel. The negative effect lies on the risks that are associated with nuclear plants especially accidents and suicidal terrorists. These could cause extremely deadly effects and scars that can never be erased. Only good management and high technological security can assist in nullifying such fateful occurrences.

Nuclear power reactors should not be built in politically unstable regions. Political instability results in war and negative effects on the economy. For instance war prone areas are susceptible to attacks by terrorists which could result in detrimental effects. There is need for effective safety policy to be implemented that will address the following factors namely, climate change, security of power plants, safety, energy security and proliferation of nuclear technologies. This is because such proliferations would result in nuclear bomb.

Works Cited

Barkan, Steven. Nuclear Power and Protest Movements. Social problems journal Vol. 27.1(1979):11-36.Print.

Cohen, Benard. The Nuclear Energy Option. Plenum Press.1990.

Klug, Aaron & Davies, David. Nuclear Energy; The Future Climate. Norway: The Royal Society (1999):11-65.Print.

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