During the 1960's and 1970's nuclear energy was once touted as "the" best way to produce electricity. After the accident at Three Mile Island, building of nuclear power generation stopped. With the concern about climate change and the increased cost of fossil fuels, there has been an increase interest in using nuclear energy to produce electricity.
Nuclear is the best way to generate electricity.
Main Reference: World Nuclear Association
- The nuclear power generation in the United Sates and Europe has proven to be a safe, reliable and economical method for generating large amounts of electricity for over 40 years.
- Nuclear power plants do not produce greenhouse gases as do those powered by coal or natural gas.
- Once built, the cost to operate a nuclear power plant is constant and predictable since the uranium fuel cost amounts to less than $0.0003 per KWH. The primary costs of a nuclear plant are the operation, maintenance and capital costs.
- Uranium deposits are relatively common. The supply of uranium is almost inexhaustible. In a pinch, uranium could even be extracted from sea water with little impact on electrical costs.
- Nuclear power plants can adjust their output as needed verses the intermittent wind or solar generated electric power.
- The U.S. Navy has been safely operating nuclear reactors on ships for over 50 years.
- Nuclear power can supply a lot more than the 19% the U.S. electrical supply. France's currently gets 78% of its electricity from nuclear power plants.
- Nuclear power plants require much less land area than comparable output wind or solar power sites.
- The industry has shown that it can safely handle, transport and store the radioactive wastes generated by nuclear power. The only holdup has been the political will-power to locate and finish the permanent disposal site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
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Nuclear power has too many problems.
Main Reference: Beyond Nuclear
- Nuclear power plants can not be brought on line fast enough to prevent the rapid climate change disaster coming in less than 10 years (See Shootout: Do We Need To Restrict CO2 Emissions? ).
- Greenhouse gases are emitted throughout the nuclear fuel chain, from mining the uranium, its enrichment, transportation and the construction of the plants.
- Nuclear plants are too expensive. They cost at least $6 billion each.
- They can potentially have catastrophic radiological releases in case of a serious accident or a terrorist attack from the piles of radioactive waste stored at each site.
- Use of nuclear power by the U.S. will encourage nuclear proliferation by third-world countries and often leads to nuclear weapon development and the risk of nuclear war.
- There are cleaner, safer and cheaper alternatives available that can produce our electricity without using nuclear or fossil fuels.
- All reactors release radiation into the air, water and soil. Our national standards are inadequate in protecting the workers or our most vulnerable citizens, our children.
- Reactors, with the piles of nuclear materials, are prime terrorists targets. They are not protected nearly as well enough.
- The entire nuclear fuel chain generates lots of long-lasting radioactive waste. This includes 20-30 tons of high-level radioactive waste from each of the current 103 nuclear reactors in the U.S. each year.
- There is currently no acceptable solution for disposal of radioactive waste. Yucca Mountain, the site selected for the permanent storage, is not scientifically suitable.
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