There are over 400 nuclear power reactors that are up and running on the planet, and believe it or not, the number is growing. The whole process of converting uranium into nuclear power is complex, but it all starts off with a mining operation to extract uranium ore. Believe it or not, uranium is not hard to find, it is actually a pretty common element, more common than gold.
Many people don’t realize that our own body houses trace amounts of uranium! Canada’s actually taken advantage of this relatively abundant resource and is so far the number one uranium producer in the world.
Reasons to Avoid Nuclear Power
* Nuclear power is quite costly to manufacture, specifically considering start-up costs. Nuclear reactors are expensive to build. With that in mind, it’s not necessarily an option for all countries. Many 2nd and 3rd world countries do not have the economic or material resources to produce nuclear power.
* Another big problem is nuclear waste, which is left over from the conversion process, typically from using fuel. If nuclear waste isn’t safely disposed of, there can be a drastic number of health and environmental issues that arise as a result. This is perhaps the most important detractor from the popularity of nuclear power.
* The third serious issue baring the widespread adoption of nuclear power, is the potential of a nuclear power plant to melt down. One could argue it is dangerous to run nuclear power plants, simply because they could be tampered with.
If, for example, a terrorist organization was so inclined to sabotage nuclear power plants, portions of that country could become uninhabitable for hundreds of years. Nuclear meltdowns can also occur by accident, putting civilians in jeopardy on a constant basis.
Reasons to Use Nuclear Power
* One of the main benefits of using nuclear power in today’s economy, is that it decreases the need for foreign oil. By utilizing nuclear power plants to produce a portion of our electricity, we can make headway in our efforts to switch to alternative fuel sources before the oil supply dries up in a decade or so.
* Although nuclear power plants are costly to build, they are inexpensive to maintain. This cost efficiency is good news to taxpayers who, with the economic collapse of 2008, wish to reduce their taxes and their spending as much as possible in order to just pay the bills, never mind saving up for retirement.
* Nuclear power production is not limited by location. Unlike coal and oil, the conditions don’t have to be ‘just right’ to gather natural resources and produce power. Uranium can be mined from all over the world and shipped to any local nuclear power plant. The terrain and weather conditions just don’t play a factor.
* Carbon emissions are drastically reduced because carbon waste is not a by-product of a nuclear reaction. Compared to coal, nuclear power is a cheap, sustainable, efficient, and clean power source; as long as we can find an efficient way to dispose of barrels of nuclear waste.
The Future of Nuclear Power
The future for nuclear power appears to be a quiet but strong one. Although there are some areas of the world strongly adverse to nuclear power, the United States continues to expand development. In general, quick growth isn’t a possibility, as building costs and time-frames are enormous.
Countries like China, India, and Japan are all developing nuclear power, but until it becomes cheaper to construct the reactors, nuclear power won’t become as mainstream as its potential would suggest.
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