* Nuclear reactions release a million times more energy, as compared to hydro or wind energy. Hence, a large amount of electricity can be generated. Presently, 12-18% of the world’s electricity is generated through nuclear energy. * The biggest advantage of nuclear energy is that there is no release of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, chlorofluorocarbon) during nuclear reaction. The greenhouse gases are a major threat in the current scenario, as they cause global warming and climate change.
As there is no emission of these gases during nuclear reaction, there is very little effect on the environment.
The burning of fossil fuels result in emission of the poisonous carbon dioxide. It is a menace to the environment as well as human life. There is no release of carbon d-oxide at the time of nuclear reaction. * Nuclear reactors make use of uranium as fuel. Fission reaction of a small amount of uranium generates large amount of energy. Currently, the high reserves of uranium found on Earth, are expected to last for another 100 years.
* High amount of energy can be generated from a single nuclear power plant. Also, nuclear fuel is inexpensive and easier to transport.
What are the Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy? * Nuclear energy can be used for production and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons make use of fission, fusion or combination of both reactions for destructive purposes. They are a major threat to the world as they can cause a large-scale devastation. * Though large amount of energy can be produced from a nuclear power plant, it requires large capital cost. Around 15-20 years are required to develop a single plant. Hence, it is not very feasible to build a nuclear power plant.
The nuclear reactors will work only as long as uranium is available. Its extinction can again result in a grave problem. * The waste produced after fission reactions contains unstable elements and is highly radioactive. It is very dangerous to the environment as well as human health, and remains so, for thousands of years. It needs professional handling and should be kept isolated from the living environments. The radioactivity of these elements reduces over a period of time, after decaying. Hence, they have to be carefully stored.
It is very difficult to store radioactive elements for a long period. The Chernobyl disaster that occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 in Ukraine, was the worst nuclear power plant disaster. One of the nuclear reactors of the plant exploded, releasing high amount of radiation in the environment. It resulted in thousands of casualties, mostly due to exposure to harmful radiation. One cannot deny the possibility of repetition of such disasters in future. There are proponents and opponents of nuclear energy. However, only the future will make it clear whether nuclear energy is a boon or a bane!
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