Is Nuclear Energy a Viable Solution?
The word “nuclear energy” always inspires awe, and sometimes fear, because we always associate terms like “nukes” and “radiation” when we talk about something nuclear. But it is not as ominous as it sounds and in fact, for some countries it is a major source of energy. 75% of energy in France is generated by nuclear power and even in the United States, 19% of electricity is derived from nuclear energy.
Currently a major portion of energy is derived by the combustion of coal, oil and natural gas, which release lots of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere that significantly contributes to the greenhouse effect. Many scientists, probably on the payroll of petroleum companies, argue that no matter how much carbon-dioxide we produce, it will be absorbed by the land and the oceans and this in turn will enrich the plant life both on the land and under the water. Changing climates, capricious weather patterns, dying species and out-of-control epidemics narrate another story.
No matter what the arguments are, even a child knows these days there is more carbon-dioxide in the air than can be absorbed by nature, and we desperately need energy sources that don’t take the environment’s health as a cost. The more fossil fuels we burn to generate power and run automobiles, the greater amount of greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere.
Nuclear energy has its perils, but compared to the dangers of using fossil fuels like coal and petrol, these perils are minuscule. The greatest threat is the radio-active waste that is produced when nuclear energy is used to produce energy. This can be countered by formulating strict national and international laws that make it mandatory to process radio-active wastes before releasing them into the environment.
Nuclear energy is one of the least air-polluting alternative sources of energy. Less land is required to set up nuclear plants, and the fission of an atom of uranium produces 10 million times the energy produced by the combustion of an atom of carbon from coal.