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Nuclear energy – A clean energy

Nuclear energy - A clean energy

Nuclear energy is one of the cleanest, most efficient, and most available sources of power on earth. For example if nuclear power is used to generate 1KWh of energy only 12 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) are emitted, meanwhile, to produce the same amount of energy, other sources can emit 820 grams of CO2. Nuclear energy is cleaner than Hydropower, than geothermal, than solar, than really any energy source except wind.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that nuclear energy is a safe solution, because nuclear materials are the most poisonous substance on earth. A leak of significant amount of radiation happened two times in the history, one in Chernobyl (1986), and the second in Fukushima (2011). Humans cannot live in these two sites until today.

Nuclear energy - A clean energy

In addition, the nuclear energy is considered as a short term solution to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, because Uranium which is the most commonly used element in nuclear reactors, is not in limitless supply, actually there is only about a 230 years supply of uranium Left.

But the biggest problem of nuclear energy is the nuclear waste. All commercial nuclear power plants work through the process of nuclear fission, during this nuclear reaction, individuals atoms split into multiple, but when that happens the reaction also releases energy. The nuclear element used is typically uranium which become no longer useful in the nuclear reactor after about six to eight years of usage. But the problem is that Uranium remain radioactive enough to emit a dose for tens or hundreds of thousands of years past their removal.

Nuclear energy - A clean energy

So the question is, what do you do with them? The answer is to put them somewhere isolated forever, but it’s not that easy. Most of that nuclear waste are stored in pools of water because water can be a shield for radiation. The radioactive material, since it’s still emitting energy, continues to heat up the water, but cooling systems keep the water below boiling temperature, but in case of power failure, and backup generator failure, the cooling system will stop working, so the water will heat and can be evaporated. without the water the radiations will go right out into the environment. In fact, exactly that happened at Fukushima. Once nuclear waste has cooled down in storage pools for ten to twenty years, they will be encased in containers which block radiations. But this solution is not permanent, it does not consider earthquakes and tsunamis, and it would not work without the maintenance of humans. Without humans, they could easily be damaged or breached over time and release radiation into the environment.