Nuclear Power and the Environment

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In my judgment, their condemnation of this efficient, low-carbon source of baseload energy is misplaced.

Like all energy sources, nuclear power has advantages and disadvantages. First and foremost, since it produces energy via nuclear fission rather than chemical burning, it generates baseload electricity with no output of carbon, the villainous element of global warming. Switching from coal to natural gas is a step toward decarbonizing, since burning natural gas produces about half the carbon dioxide of burning coal.

But switching from coal to nuclear power is radically decarbonizing, since nuclear power plants release greenhouse gases only from the ancillary use of fossil fuels during their construction, mining, fuel processing, maintenance, and decommissioning — about as much as solar power does, which is about 4 to 5 percent as much as a natural gas-fired power plant. Second, nuclear power plants operate at much higher capacity factors than renewable energy sources or fossil fuels. Capacity factor is a measure of what percentage of the time a power plant actually produces energy.

Nuclear power can be green – but at a price

In the United States in , nuclear power plants, which generated almost 20 percent of U. The other 29 days they were taken off the grid for maintenance. In contrast , U. Even plants powered with coal or natural gas only generate electricity about half the time for reasons such as fuel costs and seasonal and nocturnal variations in demand. Nuclear is a clear winner on reliability. Third, nuclear power releases less radiation into the environment than any other major energy source.

Environmental Effects of Nuclear Power and Waste Management

They do. Burning coal gasifies its organic materials, concentrating its mineral components into the remaining waste, called fly ash. So much coal is burned in the world and so much fly ash produced that coal is actually the major source of radioactive releases into the environment. Anti-nuclear activists protest the construction of a nuclear power station in Seabrook, New Hampshire in AP Photo. In the early s, when the U. Atomic Energy Commission believed high-grade uranium ores to be in short supply domestically, it considered extracting uranium for nuclear weapons from the abundant U.

In , China began exploring such extraction, drawing on a pile of some 5. The Chinese ash averages about 0.

Debate: Does the world need nuclear energy?

Hungary and South Africa are also exploring uranium extraction from coal fly ash. There have been three large-scale accidents involving nuclear power reactors since the onset of commercial nuclear power in the mids: Three-Mile Island in Pennsylvania, Chernobyl in Ukraine, and Fukushima in Japan. The partial meltdown of the Three-Mile Island reactor in March , while a disaster for the owners of the Pennsylvania plant, released only a minimal quantity of radiation to the surrounding population.

According to the U.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission :. The explosion and subsequent burnout of a large graphite-moderated, water-cooled reactor at Chernobyl in was easily the worst nuclear accident in history.

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Twenty-nine disaster relief workers died of acute radiation exposure in the immediate aftermath of the accident. In the subsequent three decades, UNSCEAR — the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, composed of senior scientists from 27 member states — has observed and reported at regular intervals on the health effects of the Chernobyl accident. It has identified no long-term health consequences to populations exposed to Chernobyl fallout except for thyroid cancers in residents of Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia who were children or adolescents at the time of the accident, who drank milk contaminated with iodine, and who were not evacuated.

The occurrence of these cancers increased dramatically from to , which researchers attributed mostly to radiation exposure. No increase occurred in adults. Uranium mining, uranium enrichment and the production of fuel elements have devastating effects on the environment, cause illnesses and even lead to death.

Nuclear energy facts and information

Furthermore Nuclear Power Plants emit cancerous nuclear radiation while in standart operation. Disasters like a nuclear accident or terror attack are possible at any time and therefore the life and health of hundreds of thousands of people is under constant threat.


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Huge areas of landmass would be inhabitable for several human generations. Powerful nuclear groups have a big undemocratic influence on politics and their attempts at greenwashing and propaganda are very effective. Fact is that the nuclear waste we produce and bury today will continue to emit dangerous levels of radiation for millions of years and could potentially threaten the lifes of future generations.

Am Welche PR-Agentur wohl dieses Konzept entwickelt hat? Hinter diesen vorgeblichen Umweltschutzorganisationen verbergen sich vor allem die Interessen von Wirtschaftsbranchen. Quelle und mehr Infos: Wikipedia.


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