Consequences of Developing Nuclear Power
Using sustained nuclear fission of uranium in the generation of electricity and heat is referred to as a nuclear power source. For the nuclear generated electricity in the world, France, U.S., and Japan account for 50% generation together. Nuclear power reduces the carbon emissions and provides for sustainable energy sources Levendis, Block, & Morrel, 2006.
The main factor against nuclear power is the threat is posses to the environment and people in case of a disaster. Compared to the other energy technologies, the safety of nuclear power is much better, and there is continued research in improving the safety of nuclear power, and this would allow for its use in the future.
Negative ramifications of hydropower
Using hydropower alters the natural river flow, and may affect the habitat and ecology of the region. These changes may affect aquatic life. Fish being cold blooded need cold water to regulate their metabolism rate. The dam water since it is not freely moving tends to warm up which affects the body temperature regulation of the fish. There is a likelihood for a dam to break and this would result in a flood disaster that would affect the people who live near the dam. Case in point is the Johnstown flood in 1889. Flora around the dam is affected negatively because of large carbon amounts which cause crops to rot due to lack of enough oxygen. Creating dams affects travel routes for humans and animals and may affect wildlife nourishment areas.
Consequences of developing nuclear power
Nuclear power does not affect the environment during its production and does not alter the natural flow of nature. Production of nuclear power uses little energy and the quantity produced is enormous. This compared to the amount produced by hydropower is quite huge. Nuclear power production is purely dependent on availability of Uranium, and this is not affected by weather patterns like lack of rainfall. Hydropower is dependent on rainfall and drought seasons could lead to the dams drying. Nuclear power produces far less greenhouse emissions as compared to other fossil fuels, and this makes nuclear power to be considered carbon zero Smith & Ward, 2007.
When compared to oil Uranium is more easily accessible and there is less likelihood of any political interferences because of the locations it is mined.
Nuclear power plants require far less space as compared to hydropower plants. This allows them to be placed in developed areas which in turn reduce the distance that electricity needs to be transported. Over short periods of time, the amount of electricity produced is very large as compared to hydropower, which requires constant turning of the turbines to produce electricity. When old reactors wear out, new ones can be created thus ensuring long-term production.
Nuclear power is quite safe, and the disaster that occurred during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was not caused by failure of nuclear plant or by human failure, but rather it was caused by natural causes. The tsunami of March 11, 2011 was the root cause of the disaster. The disaster occurred at the worst time as two coolers of the nuclear plant had been shut down for routine maintenance and one other had been de-fuelled. If these reactors were in full operation, the disaster would have been averted. The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown was caused by power surge in reactor four. The power surge caused radioactive fuel to be dispersed in the atmosphere which ignited the graphite moderator. This accident was not caused by human nature rather by electrical faults. The accident also occurred when they were running test on the emergency cooling feature.
These are the two most significant disaster of nuclear power and both of them did not have significant human loss. There are risks faced in all energy sources, but nuclear power has resulted in fewer disasters and less loss of life, which makes it the most viable energy source. Considering the research been carried out regarding safety in the future such disasters can be easily averted.
Levendis, J., Block, W., & Morrel, J. (2006). Nuclear Power. Journal of Business Ethics, 67(1), 37-49.
Smith, C.L., & Ward, D. (2007). The Path to Fusion Power. Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 365(1853), 945-956.
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