Nuclear Energy: 3 Reasons Why It Must Be Kept Up

Nuclear energy is an energy source that has a negative stigma in the world community. Even as of the Chernobyl event, the commercial use of nuclear energy has slowly declined. These events clearly change the world’s opinion about the use of nuclear technology. In reality, it was not that bad.

nuclear power plant
Copyright: Daniel Prudek / Shutterstock

Reasons Why Nuclear Energy Deserves To Be Used

1. Nuclear Energy Reduces Death

In 2013, a study conducted by NASA found that the use of nuclear energy prevented up to 1.8 million deaths. This figure is based on data analysis from 1971 to 2009. Even if we combine the total fatalities from the Chernobyl and Fukushima events, nuclear energy is still ranked last based on the number of fatalities/energy units.

Although nuclear waste is very, very dangerous, it is always stored in a safe place, while fossil fuel power plant waste is generally just thrown into the air that we breathe every day. So by reducing the use of fossil fuels, we can prevent many cases of cancer and respiratory diseases that occur in our society. Besides, mining accidents that often occur can also be minimized. Thinking back, it would be far safer to store nuclear waste stored deep in the ground than to dump a lot of hazardous waste into the atmosphere.

energy production death rate
Data Source: Markandya, A., & Wilkinson, P. (2007)

Nuclear energy generally seems dangerous, but in general, it is not. As in Chernobyl, where one big event is deeply embedded in our memories, while in reality petroleum and coal also kill silently. It is like comparing deaths due to aircraft with deaths due to cars.

It still takes years so we can 100% use renewable energy. As long as we still use fossil fuels, nuclear energy saves more lives than causes its death.

2. Nuclear Energy Reduces CO2 Emissions

Nuclear energy is far more environmentally friendly to use than fossil energy in terms of its effect on climate change. Since 1976, it has been estimated that around 64 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions. It is also estimated that by the middle of this century, that number will increase by 80 to 240 gigatons.

power plant emission
Data Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Life Cycle Assessment.

Coal is cheap, relatively abundant in nature, and easy to obtain. So if you think about it, it won’t be easy to get away from this energy source. Nonetheless, nuclear energy is perhaps the most environmentally friendly and most efficient solution we can choose from other energy sources.

3. Relatively New Technology

The technology we have now is mostly old technology because in general, technological innovations of nuclear reactors stopped in the 1970s.

Maybe technological innovation can answer our questions about the dangers of nuclear reactors and nuclear waste. There are several concepts and designs of new technologies such as the Thorium nuclear reactor. Thorium itself is relatively abundant in nature, difficult to use as a nuclear weapon, and is estimated to have up to 100 or even 1000 times less waste than existing nuclear technology. In addition, the waste is also estimated to only be dangerous for several years, in contrast to current technology which will remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years. Besides, 1 ton of Thorium is estimated to be able to produce the same energy as 200 tons of Uranium or 3.5 million tons of coal.

Maybe we should do some research and development before we judge whether nuclear energy can indeed be a good solution or not. It might be difficult to do, but if we look in the past, humanity has gone through difficult innovations. The industrial revolutions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 are evidence of how we can innovate and leap towards technology and a much better life.

So is nuclear technology better? To this day, the use of nuclear energy as a solution is still frequently debated. Among the reasons you can read in the article “Nuclear Energy: 3 Reasons Why It Should Be Stopped” below.

Nuclear Energy: Reasons Why It Should Be Stopped

Actually there are other types of nuclear energy sources that are much safer and more efficient than conventional nuclear energy, it’s nuclear fusion energy. This energy source is even predicted as a future energy source. Want to know how? You can read the “Nuclear Fusion: Future Energy Sources” below,

Nuclear Fusion: Future Energy Sources

Sources and References:

  1. 3 Reasons Why Nuclear Energy Is Awesome! 3/3 – Kurzgesagt
  2. Thorium as Nuclear Fuel: The Good and the Bad – What Is Nuclear
  3. Thorium-Based Nuclear Power – Wikipedia

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