Something For Nuclear Critics to Ponder Upon

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If it weren’t for the earthquake in Japan and its after-effects, including the nuclear incident, nobody would have even known where Fukushima was. For those of you who don’t know what’s going on, Fukushima is a coastal city in Japan. It is in the news now because Fukushima has been hit by an earthquake and its reactors has been damaged. There has been a confirmed radiation leak that has reached the radiation levels of Chernobyl.

Now, the Fukushima problem has been used by critics of nuclear energy to show the down-sides of Nuclear power. Fukushima is actually a horrible excuse to attack nuclear energy.

First of all, nuclear energy yields a lot of output. A nuclear plant can generate much more electricity than around a 100 coal, natural gas or petroleum plants together. As we know, energy is the prime problem in so many countries. Nobody wants to depend on fossil fuels. It is polluting, it is expensive and it can run out anytime soon. Nuclear power is a wonderful alternative. The electricity generated is abundant, its cheap, its not polluting and the source of fuel (uranium, plutonium and thorium) are abundantly available with new sources being discovered everyday.

Do remember that before Fukushima, nobody in Japan complained of nuclear power because that was precisely how they powered their economy. For so many years, nuclear energy has been used by industrialized countries to provide for their energy needs. Now because you have an incident in Japan, doesn’t mean you just disregard the fact that it produces so much energy.

Do critics of nuclear energy provide alternatives to nuclear energy that can produce that much energy? I don’t think so. Take any source. Oil? No. Coal? No. Natural Gas? No. Biogas? No. Solar power? No. Wind Power? No. You name it, none of it provides that much energy like nuclear power does.

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Nuclear power does not pollute too much and it does not add to the carbon footprint if you compare it to say petrol or coal power plants. France is testimony to this very fact. France has the most cleanest air in all of Europe and that is primarily because France uses nuclear power for its energy.

Of course, nuclear energy does have its downsides but it doesn’t translate to an immediate phase-out. Nuclear wastes for example is a big issue. Disposal of radioactive wastes remain to be a big problem.

Nevertheless, research on nuclear power is still going on. The problem of nuclear wastes will hopefully be solved soon with advanced scientific research. Another area where research can prove useful is the process of nuclear fusion. Currently, nuclear reactors work on the Nuclear Fission principle. However, it is claimed that Nuclear Fusion also can be a great source of energy.

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The risks involved in Nuclear Fission will not be present in Nuclear Fusion. Attaining nuclear fusion is tough, but if attained, can provide a good answer to the world’s energy problems.

In short, Nuclear critics need to understand that countries cannot do without nuclear energy. In fact, countries need to embrace nuclear energy more and more if they want to achieve prosperity. Nuclear energy may not exactly be a wrong thing.

The problem with Fukushima was that the plant was built right at the fault lines. This was bound to happen there in case of an earthquake. It was a structural fault. Nuclear energy has nothing to do with it. What if the Fukushima plant was built elsewhere and not in such a dangerous area? Danger could have been averted.

Let’s face it, nuclear power is the best bet there is now.

Copyright © 2011 AshwathKomath

 

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