The Benefits and Dangers of Nuclear Energy

However, there are plenty of risks associated with the exploitation of nuclear energy. What makes decisions on nuclear energy hard is that they do not call for one final apocalyptic choice between the obviously good civilian uses that lead to peace and the obviously bad military alternatives that lead to war (Wohlstetter, 1968, p.2). This paper analyses the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy Advantages of nuclear energy A 1,000 megawatt equivalent (MWe) coal plant with optimal pollution abatement equipment will annually emit into the atmosphere 900 tons of sulfur dioxide, 4,500 tons of nitrous oxide, 1,300 tons of particulates, and 6.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. By contrast, a nuclear plant of 1,000 MWe capacity produces annually some 35 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel (Sovacool, 2007, p.107-108). The above statistics clearly suggest that nuclear energy is more environmental friendly than other energy sources. While majority of the other prominent energy sources are causing huge damages to the environment, nuclear energy is comparatively safe and secure as far as environmental problems are concerned. Rangarajan, (2010) mentioned that Reduction in the CO^ emissions is one of the most important benefits in the use of nuclear energy (Rangarajan, 2010, p.6). … Carbon emission is not at all a problem for nuclear energy as the technology used to exploit nuclear energy liberates no greenhouse gases. Edelhart, (1976) pointed out that In spite of the high construction costs, uranium fuel was so cheap that it kept overall investment on a par with other energy ‘systems (Edelhart, 1976, p.52). Uranium is abundant in many of the countries and it can be sued effectively as a fuel to operate nuclear power plants. In short, nuclear energy is highly economical compared to other energy sources even though the construction costs of nuclear power plants are slightly expensive. The amount of energy generated in a nuclear plant is many times greater than that produced by other conventional means (Rangarajan, 2010, p.6). Einstein’s famous formula E=MC2 can be used to calculate the energy produced by nuclear power plants. Here E represents energy, M represents mass of the nuclear fuel and C represents the velocity of light. Since velocity of light is 3 X 108 m/s, 1 kilo gram of nuclear fuel can generate an energy equivalent to 9 X 1016 Joules. No other energy source can provide such huge amounts of energy as nuclear power plants do. Nuclear fission is the technology used in nuclear power plants. Chain reaction is taking place in nuclear fission process. If not controlled properly, chain reaction can cause explosions. However, we can control chain reactions with the help of suitable materials. According to Sakharov, (1978) Nuclear energy is the only economically feasible energy source in the next few decades-of replacing the use of oil(Sakharov, 1978, p.13). It is also not necessary to develop the technology needed for