Nuclear Power

The Significance of Investing in Nuclear Power Energy
Carlotta Collins
SCI: 207 Dependence on Man in the Environment
Dr. Dariush Azimi
August 15, 2011

In the last decade, nuclear energy has been used by many developed countries around the world with testing the applicability of the energy source. However, the apparent benefits have come with ramifications that have left the inventors counting losses. This is the reason why this innovation has been surrounded by various arguments that have emphasized on the need for exploring safer alternative sources of energy. Drawing examples from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster as well as the 20th century Chernobyl nuclear meltdown provide an analysis of the risks versus the rewards of investing in nuclear energy.
The major selling point following the implementation of nuclear power plants is based on no emission of carbon dioxide. Therefore supporting this source of energy is based on the global warming threat (which results from the carbon dioxide) outweighs the potential threats such as local meltdowns in Chernobyl. The truth of this claim is yet doubtful. When everything has been said and done (between extraction of uranium and oil enriching, and constructing and operating a plant), approximately more than 0.25 million tons of carbon dioxide is produced by a 1,200 megawatt nuclear facility during its lifetime (OECD, 2007). Being factual, more than 25 million tones have been produced in entire U.S. Well, this should not sound like a lot without looking at the other side.
In contrast, carbon dioxide amounting to almost 2.2 billion tons is produced annually only in U.S. from coal energy (OECD, 2007). Other pollutants are also emitted in the process. This pollution includes soot that causes lung related complications, sulphur dioxide that result in acid rain and smog, and mercury, which contaminates aquatic life (Charles, 2007). In fact, at least one death is caused by nuclear power, coal kills 4,000 (ratio of...