Advantages & disadvantages of nuclear power plants

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Advantages & disadvantages of nuclear power plants
(Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Often when the subject of nuclear power is brought up thoughts of Chernobyl and mushroom clouds come to mind. However, with improvements in technology and raised concerns over fossil fuel, the issue has become more complicated.

Advantage: Efficiency

Nuclear power creates cheap and bountiful energy. Uranium (the raw material needed for nuclear power) is cheaper than oil or coal, and nuclear plants create large amounts of energy on a regular basis.

Advantage: Low Immediate Pollution

Compared to other forms of energy, nuclear power creates very little carbon dioxide---the gas widely responsible for global warming and many current environment problems.

Disadvantage: Radioactive Waste

Nuclear power creates radioactive waste, which is a highly toxic byproduct that we have very little means of disposing. The only current way of disposal is to carefully seal it away until it loses its toxicity, a process that takes thousands of years.

Disadvantage: Possibility of Meltdown

Recent technology has reduced the risk of a plant meltdown, and new nuclear plants are safer than the ones of old, but it still isn't 100 per cent sure that disaster couldn't strike. Meltdowns are devastating to the areas they occur in, both to human life and the environment.

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