When you think about nuclear energy it can be frightening. People are concerned about nuclear power because of the radiation it gives off in the environment and atmosphere. However, this concern is overly exaggerated. We should use nuclear power instead of other sources of energy because it can produce high levels of electricity without causing damage to our environment and atmosphere. In fact, although nuclear energy does release very small amounts of radiation into the air, these levels are even less than the radiation we receive daily from the sun, earth and inside our bodies. Add to these facts that nuclear power is a cheaper source of fuel than gasoline and there is a very valid argument to increase our use of nuclear power as an energy source.
One of the reasons we should use more nuclear energy is that it produces high amounts of electricity without damaging the environment and atmosphere. Nuclear power plants produce less pollution than many of our other current energy sources, including coal fire and natural gas plants. Furthermore, this energy source is more efficient than solar, coal and wind energy. Nuclear energy is not only capable of producing more energy than these other sources, but is more eco-friendly as well. The level of possible radiation exposure from nuclear power plants is less than we are currently exposed to on a daily basis from our environment. Daily we are exposed to radiation from our soil and our air, from radioactive potassium in our food and water, and from the sun. These are all naturally occurring forms of radiation, which account for nearly 85 percent of our total annual exposure. The other 15 percent comes from man-made sources that include tobacco, television, medical x-rays, smoke detectors, nuclear medicine, and building materials. Nuclear power actually represents less than one percent of the radiation on earth.
Another reason we should use more nuclear energy is that it is a cheaper source of energy than gasoline, a fuel source that has been troubling our economy for many years. Nuclear energy’s fuel source is uranium, which comes in pellets. One of these pellets cost about $7, which is the equivalent of three barrels of oil, which cost about $84. In 1993, 470 million tons of coal and 96 million barrels of oil were replaced with nuclear energy. By converting from oil to nuclear energy over $13 billion was saved.
The fact that we can produce electricity from nuclear sources for less money means that more people will have access to electricity. This increased amount of lower priced electricity can be used to provide energy to poor places and to create more jobs. When Americans have access to reliable and affordable energy, jobs can be created, and more people can work and try to help fix our economy.
Nuclear power is often feared because people don’t believe the facts. Again, the levels of radiation associated with nuclear power are very small in comparison to other environmental and energy sources. Another concern many critics use is that nuclear power plants can create deadly injuries that last over generations, such as the Chernobyl incident. However, the Chernobyl plant used an outdated reactor. The accident at the Chernobyl plant can be linked to the plant being old and out-of-date and their use of old technology – even for that time. The Chernobyl plant did not have the technology that we have in place today. This was the most likely cause of the accident. Even in more recent times, the use of nuclear power can create panic such as the Three Mile Island incident. It is true that there was a reactor failure at Three Mile Island, but the safety features (which today have even been improved to a greater level) kicked in and there were no reported injuries associated with the incident.
Nuclear power can provide the energy the world is seeking without destroying our environment or atmosphere. Nuclear energy is the only power source that can produce large amounts of electricity without causing environmental problems such as global warming. Nuclear energy, unlike gasoline, also produces stable power prices. Increasing our use of nuclear power will safely and efficiently produce the large amounts of energy that the citizens of our world need.