I’d say the biggest advantage of a nuclear power plant is that it will cut down on GHG emissions. Using nuclear energy will curb consumption of fossil fuels, providing a cleaner power source. Of course, there are major disadvantages, such as the production of radioactive waste, the cost of building such plants, and the possibility of accidents or people using the plants as weapons. And, uranium, which is used to power the plants, isn’t a renewable resource-that’s why I prefer the renewable green technologies because they provide this same advantage of cutting GHG emissions while posing less of a potential threat to the environment.
I agree with the advantage presented above, and I would also add that nuclear energy is much more efficient than burning fossil fuels on a per-unit basis of expended material. The fission of a single uranium atom yields about 200 MeV (mega electronvolt), whereas the oxidation of a single carbon atom releases only 4 MeV. The World Nuclear Association asserts that “some 36 million kilowatt-hours of electricity are produced from one ton of natural uranium.” For fossil fuels to produce an equivalent amount of electric power, over 20,000 tons of black coal or 8.5 million cubic meters of gas would have to be burned.
“The Nuclear Fuel Cycle.” UIC. Oct. 2004. Uranium Information Center. 1 May 2008 <http://www.uic.com.au/nfc.htm>.
Zebroski, Edwin L. “Nuclear Fuel Cycle.” McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. 9th ed. 20 vols. USA: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2002.
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