Stopping Nuclear Energy Use - Essay Prowess

Stopping Nuclear Energy Use


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Stopping Nuclear Energy Use


The development and use of nuclear energy has been met with a lot of stiff resistance due to the potential hazards that it possess. This paper seeks to argue against such opposition and further more advocate for the continued development and use of nuclear energy as the best option for sustainable energy production in line with requirements set forth by the long-term developments towards meeting energy requirements for industries. It is therefore important to keep in mind that the benefits of having nuclear energy as a sustainable and reliable power source which is essentially ecofriendly.

The Chernobyl nuclear facility accident

The former USSR suffered one of the worst nuclear disasters of the 20th Century which brought into question as to whether nuclear energy facilities were safe to run or was it time to have them shut down in favor of safer sources of power. On the 26th of April 1986, the nuclear power facility at Chernobyl in the Ukraine suffered a disaster that caused wanton environmental damage due to the radioactive material released into the environment ( The Chernobyl nuclear disaster was as a result of the occurrence of an abrupt and unexpected power surge which resulted in the destruction of one of the plant’s nuclear reactors.

Frantic efforts were made to contain further release of radioactive materials into the environment, extinguish the resulting fire and prevent further exposure to the nearby human population. These efforts included entombing the destroyed rector with concrete after sand and boron were poured into the reactor using specialized aircrafts. Other control measures included reducing further radioactive contamination of the environment by felling 30 acres pine woodland ( The area around the nuclear reactor was condoned off to everyone else apart from those with official clearance.

High health risks in nuclear power plant accidents

Health effects as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear accident was felt almost instantly. Acute radiation sickness affected most of the nearly 600 workers at the plant. Natural factors such as the wind resulted in the spread of radioactive materials from the accident to parts as far away as Belarus, Ukraine as well as other parts of the USSR. Those exposed to high doses of radiation were then put under close monitoring (

Adults and children exposed to high radiation levels have over the years been diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid gland as well as Leukemia also referred to as cancer of the blood. Recent reports show that of the more than 6000 reported thyroid cancer cases 99% of the affected children were successfully given the appropriate treatment while death cases as a result of cancers related to the nuclear accident were only 15 in the three affected countries ( Other than the increased cases of thyroid cancer, there are no other reported cases of diseases or health conditions associated with the Chernobyl nuclear accident. The actual adverse health effects attributed to the nuclear accident at Chernobyl have been found out to have been much lower than the initial figures projected by nuclear experts from the international community which expected loss of lives to run into the tens of thousands. The actual figures reported were however relatively close to what scientists in the former USSR had envisaged (

Lessons learnt for the Chernobyl nuclear accident

The nuclear accident at Chernobyl caused other nuclear powered countries such as the US to relook at the designs used in the construction of nuclear power plants to eliminate any flaws that could potentially bring about such catastrophic outcomes which caused a lot of panic the world over ( To mitigate any such eventualities the US, regulatory procedures were put in place to offer sufficient protection, continuous checks and controls, as well as constant reviews of any new data that could project weaknesses.

As much as the Chernobyl disaster sent shockwaves around the world of a possible nuclear holocaust, it was sufficiently dealt with through cooperation with other nuclear power countries to do as much as was required to contain the threat. It also served as a wakeup call as it underscored the need for safe design in terms of theory and operation as well as stringent compliance to operational controls. Chernobyl and other plants within the USSR were closed down in subsequent years in an attempt to phase out the unstable RBMK nuclear facility design ( The US also upgraded its disaster awareness and preparedness with regard to potential threats emanating from Chernobyl like nuclear accidents. All in all other countries using nuclear energy for electrical power generation have gone on to use these facilities as a result of their advantages that on an economic standpoint should be addressed through disaster preparedness as safer sources of affordable electrical energy are continuously developed. The international community also expressed the readiness to offer assistance to countries experiencing nuclear accidents thus making nuclear power much safer than it is actually imagined.

Benefits of nuclear energy

Benefits of nuclear power for electrical power generation are rather quite many. To begin with, it is important to put into consideration the ratio of energy expenditure against consumption of materials given the definite acceptance of some level of risk ( It is estimated that a single pellet of uranium fuel has the same output in terms of energy production as 17000 feet cubed of naturally occurring gas.

Environmentally friendly

Another advantage accruing from the use of nuclear energy pegged on the environmental issues with regard to gaseous emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides as well as carbon dioxide. These are by a very huge percentage quite low in nuclear energy production energy production thus significantly introducing much less pollutants into the environment compared to traditional fossil fuels ( Nuclear energy actually produces less environmental pollutants than solar photovoltaic cells used for electrical power generation as well as in relation to forestry biomass. With regard to land utilization, it is estimated that some multi nuclear reactor facilities such as the Palo Verde nuclear power facility in Arizona, US has the capacity to produce the same output as more than 60 miles squared of photovoltaic solar panels or over 150 miles squared of wind power turbines (

Consistency in power generation

On another note, electrical power from nuclear power plants is not subject to climatic changes and as such is readily available on demand with a guarantee of sustainability compared to hydro power, solar or wind energy. As such, this has led to the further development of nuclear energy with regard to increasing the life in the contemporary light water reactors, research and development in fuel cycle, advanced nuclear power systems as well as nuclear fusion and fission safety analysis (

The main application of nuclear energy is for the generation of electrical power. Simply put, it’s a clean, simple and effective way with which to produce steam necessary to drive turbines for electric power generation. Other than the nuclear reactor, all other components in a nuclear power plant work in the same way as in a geothermal plant ( Nuclear energy is essentially best suited for application in large and medium scale electrical power generation for its consistency and sustainability towards meeting an economy’s base load demand.

Cost effective source of electrical power

In all economies the world over, energy security is a critical factor for the production of goods and services. Earlier on when nuclear energy was perceived as alternative source of electrical power, it was due to its cost effectiveness as well as being relatively cheap compared to fossil fuels. At present nuclear energy accounts for nearly 15% of the global energy supply ( Safety concerns in the use of nuclear reactors have been given a high degree of priority more so in reactor design and engineering. The high cost of setting up nuclear power plants is basically due to the finesse required in ensuring safety. Though startup costs for nuclear plants are quite high, on an economic standpoint, they are quite inexpensive to operate.

Nuclear waste management

Last nuclear waste can be effectively contained and managed. Nuclear waste is produced during the burning of uranium in the reactor and is referred to as high level waste. It has to be cooled for several years in deep water pool after which it is moved into special containers and buried (U.S. Low level waste is less hazardous as it can be ferried to waste disposal facilities for packaging and eventually buried in trenches where radioactivity decays progressively over time.  Nuclear energy is therefore not only consistent but it is also cost effective, reliable and safe towards meeting the electrical power demand for today’s global economy.

Works Cited Overview of Nuclear Energy . 2011.  Web

U.S. Radioactive Waste. 2012. Web Benefits of Nuclear. 2012 Web Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident. 2012. Web