Nuclear Power – a hot topic ever since the troubles started at the nuclear power plant of Fukushima in Japan on March 11th. Events following include the closing of several German power plants, and lately a heading in the danish newspaper ‘Berlingske’ read: “Danish Nuclear Dump Site On It’s Way” – that was on the 29th of March.
Because of all the problems with nuclear power lately, world opinion starts to turn against the use of nuclear power. Nevertheless, it is always useful to look on a topic from several angles. Is nuclear power just bad?
Just saying it’s bad because that is what your friends say, is surely not a basis for making useful decisions. So let’s get things straight: Nuclear power plants make energy by splitting atoms – usually uranium isotopes, U-235, or plutonium isotopes, Pu-239 – into fast-moving lighter elements known as ‘fission products’. Since this is an exothermic reaction, heat is produced. From here, making energy is just like we know it from steam trains. Water is heated producing steam. Steam drives turbines, that again generate electricity. Somewhat simple. The good thing about nuclear fission, is that you can get a lot of energy from small amounts of material, compared to f.ex. coal. Also there are no greenhouse side effects with nuclear power. The bad news is, that part of the waste material from the nuclear way is highly dangerous, and cannot be reused. It has to be locked away for thousands of years, until not radioactively dangerous anymore. Also, nuclear fission is not a sustainable energy resource. There is only so much uranium, and when it’s gone – it’s gone.
Every individual should make up their mind about nuclear power, before just saying it’s bad. When that is said, I want to point out, that research in sustainable energy sources seems like a much smarter idea – it surely doesn’t hurt to think many years ahead. Pointing research in an earth-friendly and living-things-friendly direction simply seems the wiser option. Often, in research, is encountered new methods or possibilities when research is done, so why not try and make it smart from the beginning?
Please leave comments to this post! What is your opinion on nuclear power?
Links: http://www.world-nuclear.org/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_I_nuclear_accidents http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power#Nuclear_fusion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission#Natural_fission_chain-reactors_on_Earth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_energy_policy http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/nuclear.htm#intro http://the-green-guide.info/renewal/VarC.htm