There are many forms of energy that help provide power to the world, but each one of those energies has its list of advantages and disadvantages. With nuclear energy, there is a mix of bad and good for people and the environment, but the severity of the disadvantages are what really concerns people when discussing nuclear energy. There are certain disadvantages that people need to look into to understand the energy and these can actually change your outlook on nuclear energy.
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Nuclear power plants are powered by uranium and a process known as fission. Instead of burning fossil fuels like other plants do, a nuclear power plant uses the fission process to split uranium atoms to create a powerful heat energy that boils water. The water turns into high -pressured steam that spins a turbine that powers a generator to create electricity.
A disadvantage of creating energy this way is that the water becomes radioactive due to the fission process and that radiation can be very dangerous to living things. The radioactive material takes thousands of years to lose its radiation, so storage and exposure of this material could be hazardous.
Harmful radiation has had negative affects on people and animals that have included deformation, disease and even death. A cancer caused by radiation can also develop, but the more extreme affects require an enormous amount of radiation exposure.
Nuclear power has the potential to be very dangerous if it is put into the wrong hands. When the fission process occurs inside of a nuclear plant, it is controlled and stabilised. When this same process is used in an uncontrolled environment, a nuclear bomb is created and nuclear power can become a huge form of terrorism.
Even in situations where the nuclear energy is stable, accidents may occur. A plant meltdown at the Chernobyl reactor caused a huge spread of radiation and danger to all of Europe. If meltdowns like this occur at bigger plants, then even more harm can be done to the world.
Another disadvantage to using nuclear energy is dealing with all of the nuclear waste. If the waste is stored in a deep cave or mountain, then the harmful radiation will be out of reach from people. One example of a place nuclear waste is stored to minimise its impact is the large Yucca Mountain in Nevada. I
Nuclear energy is also a non-renewable source of energy, meaning that eventually our global resources of uranium will be tapped out. Just like fossil fuels, this is a major concern, and the use of a non-renewable energy is a huge disadvantage.
Along with all of the disadvantages of nuclear energy, there are some benefits as well. Nuclear energy may create nuclear waste that needs storage, but it does not give off any emissions like fossil fuel burning plants do. Uranium used for fission also lasts approximately three years until more is required for each individual plant.