Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Nuclear Option

One alternative to oil on a large scale is the use of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy does not produce any greenhouse gases, and it produces power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is the only clean-air source of energy to do so. Nuclear power is land-efficient as well. For the same energy produced by a nuclear power plant, a wind farm would need 260 square miles of land. Nuclear power plants are a huge boon to the economy of local and state communities. There is enough uranium in the world to power reactors for more than 100 years, giving the world enough time to optimize fully renewable energy sources.

   
Many people have concerns about the safety of nuclear energy, with high-profile disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima. The United States has strict safety regulations in place to prevent disasters, and even increased regulations following the Fukushima disaster. There have been many studies showing 0 adverse radiation-linked health effects in the US. However, as with anything, risk can never be 100% mitigated, as the unforeseen does happen. Several countries, such as Germany and Switzerland are phasing out their nuclear programs and are shifting towards solar and wind. Japan is updating its reactors with new safety regulations and is starting to reopen them. Every country must decide how to handle the benefit-risk ratio. In the United States, nuclear energy has been a huge benefit to the environment and to people in the search for alternative sources of power.
Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, changed his mind about nuclear energy, and is now an active proponent of it. He has come to the conclusion that nuclear energy is an important resource that the world must utilize. He acknowledges the risks and strongly advocates for safe ways of developing nuclear energy plants. To get his perspective, here is an opinion article he wrote for the Washington Post:

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