The paper discusses nuclear energy in terms of its environmental impact. The paper addresses the costs and benefits, the use of nuclear energy over the years and its impact on the environment. By the end of the twentieth century, the rules became concepts related to nuclear energy. Scientists discovered that splitting of certain heavy atoms could result in production of enormous amount of energy. This fundamental process is the heartbeat of all the nuclear processes taking place in today’s world. Over the history, this form of energy production has served for various purposes and applications. This miraculous power holds significance for being the source of many virtues and vices happened over the time. One of the disasters by utilizing the nuclear energy was the dropping of two bombs at Vietnam during the years of World War II. This bore huge devastation for the country and the disastrous effects of nuclear energy still prevail in that region. Over the years, the nuclear energy is effectively serving electricity requirements, health and safety needs, and the areas related to food and agriculture.
Nuclear energy or power has numerous advantages over other means of energy that mostly include coal, wind, hydroelectric energy sources. Experts’ studies (Agency, 2007) made on subject have showed that the generation of nuclear power or utilization of nuclear energy has imposed certain potential risks along with the great benefits it has resulted it. However, with the advent of time, the world has realized that effective use of this source of energy can result in benefits and development it used to dream of. That was the time when the trend switched to positive utilization of nuclear energy for development and growth of countries and the well being of its people. Now, the nuclear energy is the backbone of many significant sectors. One of the major applications of nuclear energy is the generation of electrical energy for domestic and commercial applications.
As for every energy source, the nuclear energy has its own costs and benefits as well. The first and foremost benefit is the fact that the nuclear energy makes the achievement of huge amount of energy possible for various applications ranging from domestic to industrial purposes. Researchers have showed that one kg of Uranium can result in energy that is greater that the energy produced by 200 barrels of oil. Deposits of Uranium are very common as well. Moreover, there are isotopes of Uranium that are easily convertible into Uranium. These isotopes are even more widespread than Uranium. Effective utilization of this enormous energy source results in greater development taking place at exponential rates.
Generation of nuclear power forms effective utilization of nuclear energy is the most environment friendly process. Nuclear is a clean form of energy that affects the environment the least as compared with all other energy resources. The nuclear power generation plants do not emit any harmful gases (Agency, 2007). Experts regard this form of energy as one of the free of emissions energy. The waste management of nuclear energy processes is also very effective and the water or other drainage is free from pollution and satisfies the health and safety standards (Foreman, 1970).
The other benefit that the nuclear energy signifies is the more reliability for effective utilization for different requirements. This energy like the wind, tidal, or solar energy does not depend on the ambient or atmospheric conditions (Kursunoglu, Perlmutter, & Mintz, 2000). The nuclear power generating plants can continuously work for a longer period before it closes for addition of fuel. In spite of huge installation costs, the operational cost of nuclear power plant is very cheap. Nuclear plants have the significance and edge over other forms of energy production that it operates at much lower costs than the other sources. Moreover, the increasing rate of fossil fuels also leads to the utilization of nuclear energy in order to cut down the operational expenses. This is how the nuclear energy has appeared as one of the most successful forms of energy that reduces the dependability of various sectors on fossil fuels and natural resources such as oil, gas, and coal (Ferguson, 2007).
One major drawback of establishing a nuclear power plant is the fact that the setting of nuclear plants requires huge investments and costs. This is the main reason why the nuclear plants are usually difficult to set up. The installation cost of nuclear power plants is far greater than to those of plants of other energy sources. Moreover, it is not only the installation cost of the power plant but also the huge costs involved in providing safeguard to humankind from processes that are most likely to induce harmful effects on human beings. In addition to that, installation of these plants in remote areas makes it uncomfortable to transmit energy to distant highly populated areas.
Another flaw that puts advantages of nuclear energy in the backdrop is the fact that the nuclear energy generating plants are not suitable to be installed near residential areas. Though it indeed is a cleaner form of energy, however, there is always a potential risk of emission of nuclear radiations that are dreadful and deadly for human beings. One major example is the incident of Chernobyl (Schreurs, 2007) that resulted in mass destruction. Although it is a very clean form of energy but this is only the case when the waste products undergo proper deposition. At present, there is a particular and potential threat of utilization of nuclear energy with respect to ecosystem or environment.
Moreover, there is always a probability of people getting affected by these harmful radiations and radioactive wastes. In addition to that, the negative use of nuclear energy also gives lead to environment hazards as well as economical devastation. Although the process of risk assessment has proceeded towards much efficient stages, however there is always a chance of extensive damage. The long-term waste management system is not as efficient as to completely protect the environment. However, this form of energy is safer and cleaner than other forms of energy. Still, there is a lot to do in this regard. At present, the status of nuclear energy is not much effective in terms long-term waste management and there is highly potent risk of damaging the environment in terms of environmental safety and ecology.
Researchers (Kursunoglu, Perlmutter, & Mintz, 2000) predict that the future of nuclear energy impose certain threats but induces some other huge benefits as well. The benefits of future include the efficient and effective long-term waste management system, reducing this potential threat of environmental devastation to a very significant extent. Experts look forward to more appropriate means of depositing radioactive wastes; however, the other significant risk is the fact that as the nuclear plants extract huge amount of water from rivers and lakes etc, it may be possible that the plants get short of water over a longer period of time. However, the nuclear energy nuclear energy is still the best option for being the emission free source of energy.
- Agency, O. N. (2007). Risks and Benefits of Nuclear Energy. OECD Publishing.
- Ferguson, C. D. (2007). Nuclear Energy: Balancing Benefits and Risks. Council on Foreign Relations.
- Foreman, H. (1970). Nuclear Power and the Public. University of Minnesota Press.
- Kursunoglu, B., Perlmutter, A., & Mintz, S. L. (2000). The Challenges to Nuclear Power in the Twenty-First Century. Springer.
- Schreurs, M. A. (2007). The Environmental Dimension of Asian Security. US Institute of Peace Press.