The natural resources of the planet earth are getting depleted at an alarming rate. The need to look out for the non-conventional energy resources is becoming the need of the hour. Unless there are alternatives found, the stress on the conventional resources are bound to increase with every passing day. The talks about non-conventional energy resources are not new. And Nuclear energy has by and large made a big name in this list of non-conventional energy resources. The question to be asked is how safe or dependable is nuclear energy? Is nuclear energy good enough to give relief to the conventional resources and replace them eventually? To know all of this, one should have a clearer picture in mind about what nuclear energy is all about. There are radioactive elements present beneath the surface of the earth. These elements have a very strong nucleus which is capable enough to generate large amounts of energy when it undergoes fusion or fission reactions.
Pros of using Nuclear Energy
The earthlings are usually very optimistic in nature. So it is often a good idea to start with the advantages. Nuclear energy is considered as the energy resource of the future. And here are the reasons for the same:
NO greenhouse emissions!
The root cause of all environmental problems is the greenhouse emission. Nuclear energy ensures that there are no greenhouse emissions as such. Hence there are no adverse effects on the land, water or air due to its usage. It does have emission but these are certainly very less as compared to the coal thermal power plants which are currently in use.
Unlike all other non-conventional resources, nuclear energy is reliable. The reliability is always under the scanner when one talks about solar energy or the wind energy. But nuclear energy gives full assurance of power generation.
Fewer Raw Materials required
The overall raw material required for electricity generation is very low as nuclear energy generation requires very small amount of uranium for its running. Due to this small amount requirement, transportation of raw materials becomes very easy in case of nuclear energy.
Powerful and Efficiency holds the key
Nuclear energy is a very powerful resource which is capable of giving some strong results. Compared to any other energy source, nuclear energy gives out more output for the same amount of input taken. In other words, even a small input is sufficient to give large outputs.
Fuel Cost is low
The cost of the fuel required to initiate the nuclear reactions is very low. This is because, once the reactions are initiated, they take care of themselves from there onwards. Although, the setup cost of a nuclear power plant is high, the running cost often comes up in its defense as it is very low.
Not much of maintenance needed
Any nuclear power plant does not require heavy maintenance. It is noted that nuclear energy can be produced on a large scale for a significant period of time without any interruptions. The nuclear power plants run efficiently and smoothly for a period of over 500 days without any interruptions. So even if the maintenance check is done after a long time, over a year to be precise here, it won’t make much of a difference to the working of the nuclear power plants in any way. Isn’t this a good plus point when compared to other resources?
The other side of the story: The Cons
Well, every coin has the other side which one does not like to see. But no one can ignore the stark realities. Like every other energy resource, even nuclear energy has some disadvantages. Read on to know more about these disadvantages of nuclear energy:
Risks of Mining
The radioactive materials or elements are used for the generation of nuclear energy. This means that mining has to be done with utmost care. The only reason for this is that the radioactive elements are unstable in nature. They can cause some serious harm to the miners which can be very fatal at times. The waste products which are given out of the nuclear reactors have to be safely disposed as they can give out harmful radiations as well.
The most dangerous of all disadvantages and the sole reason why nuclear energy is not much into use in the risk of the leaks that can take place. Nuclear leaks can not only cause damage to the environment and the present generation, but also in the longer run; they have the potential of causing long term defects to the future generation and a permit loss to nature by many ways. It has catastrophic impacts as described by most of the people. There have been nuclear leaks in the past which have caused havoc to the people in and around the nuclear reactors.
The wastes of nuclear reactors are yet another concern. These wastes have to be handled carefully so that they can be reused in the future. But if this is not done or even a slightest of mismanagement takes place, these wastes can result is some serious problem then. These wastes are also capable of giving out harmful radiations.
Water Pollutant in Nature
Water is always the center of discussion. Nuclear reactors use water as the coolant during the production of nuclear energy. The water that is used for this purpose is often converted to steam which is then used up to rotate the turbines. But once this is done and the water vapor condenses back to the original form, they are let off in the nearby water bodies. This later discharge has trace amounts of harmful radioactive elements which pollutes the water and eventually poses a threat to the aquatic life there.
No energy resource is perfect. If there are advantages of something then there are going to be disadvantages as well. Nothing comes up as a complete package. So the need of the hour becomes to have a complete analysis of everything and then act accordingly. Replacing a few conventional plants with nuclear energy set-ups can be a good way to go.