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What is the Future for Nuclear Power?

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    Michael Shellenberger said in his ted talk “ Urbanization allows for a natural environment to come back creating animals to have an ideal habitat they can thrive in,” and part of this urbanization is evolving nuclear power. Nuclear power has impacted the past greatly and is an idea that our future will revolve around. Nuclear power has not always had a great reputation with the incident at Chernobyl on April 26, 1986. This incident was such so traumatic that many people don’t believe in the use of nuclear power in today’s world, but have the possibility to make the future suffer from a nuclear waste accident that happened more than 30 years ago. The way that the planet is running at this current time be capable of leading to nuclear power being a major beneficial factor for the future. Nobody can control the future, but some things are inevitable, maybe nuclear power is one of them.

    One of the key ways on to what degree of nuclear power make the grade to affect the future is to break down to what degree of nuclear power is created. The main chemical reaction needed to create an nuclear atom is nuclear fission. In nuclear fission the atoms split apart and release energy. This energy is than repurposed to create uranium atoms. Then this uranium atom collides with a loose neutron, which causes the uranium atom to split. This split causes a release of energy in the form of heat and radiation.

    That being said nuclear power is used in a considerably large amount of the world today. It has many purposes providing electricity and is the world’s 2nd largest source of low-carbon dioxide. Research sto what degree ofs that more than 50 countries use some kind of nuclear energy. In a whole world perspective all parts of the world are involved in a nuclear power advancement. Their are requirements that need to be met, so not everyone can just have the free will to create any kind of nuclear machinery. Every country has its own specific set of rules. People often don’t think about the after effect of creating a nuclear power site. It is just as hard to shut it down as it is to create it in the first place. So, that is why a lot of criteria needs to be met to create a nuclear power site. “Nuclear Power is often used in marine propulsion. It has played an important role for more than 3 decades, with it providing the power for submarines and large surface vessels. Nuclear power has supported at least 140 ships, 180 nuclear reactors. Overall, over 12,999 reactor years of experience have been gained(World Nuclear).”

    Despite all this information about on nuclear power all around the world there is one very important accident that happened on April 26, 1986. The accident was the reaction of a safety experiment ironically. So, in order for the experiment to be effective the operators had to shut off the safety mechanisms. This lead to an original explosion which killed 31 operators, and left several thousand hospitalized. The accident wasn’t just said and done. It required 4 years of cleanup which caused more damage on the cleanup crew. This also caused thyroid gland cancer and what was known as Chernobyl AIDS on many of the victims. Even after the majority of the incident was “cleaned up” radiation still continues to leak 10 ruthenium per day, but it used to be 1000 per day.

    Needless to say radiation spreads easily and this incident also caused the environment to have a radioactive cesium. There also is still controversy on to what degree of radiation actually escaped, where it went, or who it harmed. There is a confirmed death toll 300, 000 or more. After years have passed childhood cancer and infant death rates went up. The radiation caused malformation on babies and made scary movies look tame. One thing that no one also thought off is animal death rates also went up. Their was so much death and destruction that makes Chernobyl a well known event in history, and is one of the leading arguments against nuclear energy in the world today.

    Their are other reasons to not advance with nuclear power such as costs, safety concerns, and unsolved nuclear waste problems. Unsolved nuclear waste problems are big issues. It’s a matter of where will a person put the waste once it is used and can’t be renewed or put to use again. Nuclear energy waste is a very big issue in the world today that people don’t know the answer to. When the world started using nuclear power a lot of things were uncertain, and everything was experimental. Now, the world knows what’s going to happen once that nuclear power is used up. There will need to be a place to put it, where it can settle. There have been nuclear storage tanks made, but there isn’t posilibly enough to hold all the nuclear waste that is cooking right now. So, this tank situation is a potential hazard for the future, but there is an option of underground storage. The only issue with that is their is no telling what exactly you’ll tap into down their, and if the nuclear waste would dissolve its surroundings.

    Speaking of dissolving surroundings, The likelihood that a disaster like Chernobyl were to happen again is low because of all the safety measures that are taken in today’s world. Since there are factors that are going to cause nuclear power to grow in the future it’s time to think about to what degree of to go about expansion of the industry. Their is only one shot at getting everything set up correctly with because once the factitly is created it is going to take just as long to tear it down. Not to mention the fact that it puts everybody lives are at risk, so there’s no room for error. The world has changed a lot over the years, but it is not completely reliable for everything. Just like to what degree of sometimes a person types an address into the a GPS and takes an individual to a tree. The world is like that. People must work together to create an up-to-date nuclear facility that is the most function for the environment. The regular components that a nuclear reactor are fuel, moderator, control rods, coolant, pressure vessel or pressure tubes, steam generator, and containment. Again, all these elements go into one machine. Which means setting up a whole facility is going to be extremely difficult, and very complex. The are proper steps to propose a plan and have to get government approval for the project.People need take advantage of the time and start setting up these facilities now if they want an energy efficient future that is safe for everyone.

    The world does not have directly have future plans for nuclear power because of Chernobyl it will still have to be apart of future. Right now the world is struggling to meet energy needs without polluting the air and that is only going to get worse as time goes on. The environment is going to have a serious downfall if people can’t find a solution to the problem. Nuclear power is not the only option, but it is the mostly like one. Nuclear power is more realistic and produces energy efficiently. Solar power is said to take long to produce and doesn’t produce that much energy. Not to mention it is very expensive. Solar power has the possibility of being a safer option, but it is just not realistic for the future. Irina Slav says “ nuclear will continue taking part in the generating electricity for an increasingly electricity-hungry planet and the worst that can happen is that it loses some ground to natural gas and renewables by 2050(Slav, Future for Nuclear Power.” Energy is surprisingly not the only reason nuclear power needs to grow. The fuel that people need to go back and forth from work everyday wastes a lot of energy. When people travel in their cars everyday they don’t think about using or buying the expensive gas. This leads to the cheaper gas being constantly used, also making a much larger demand for the supply. Another leading cause is subsidized renewable energy sources.

    Now, earlier in this paper costs were mentions. Lets breakdown how much cost their really is going to be. There are four initial cost think about. They are capital costs, plant operating costs, external costs, and just simply other costs. On top of these costs usually the final estimate is severely underestimated most of the time. Now, back to the capital costs. Here’s a breakdown of what and how many their are. “Capital Costs include site preparation, construction, manufacture, commissioning, and financing a nuclear power plant(World Nuclear Association, Economics of Nuclear Power).” Now that’s a hefty number of expenses already. Now, to break down the plant operating costs “Plant operation costs include just one thing, funding the whole fuel cycle (World Nuclear Association. Economics of Nuclear Power).

    The fuel cycle is made up of four key parts, uranium, conversion, enrichment, and fuel fabrication. This sounds like it’s going to very expensive, but it’s actually not. The fuel process only totals up to about $1500. That’s most likely to be one of the least expensive major costs. Next, now to breakdown external costs. There is no set number to these costs it always depends. External costs are costs that correlate to the environment, and the general health of the people working in or around of the plant. These costs are going to be expensive because of all the regulations the state and government have against pollution. For example in NY has a Clean Energy Standard which would cost a nuclear plant owner more than $1.4 billion. So, where ever a nuclear plant owner decides to set up at they need to be aware of the current bills, and acts against the safety of the environment and the people. Now, the last thing to breakdown is the other costs. The other costs makeup two general things system costs , and nuclear specific taxes. Taxes are always changing, so that is one thing to always be on the lookout for and to always stay up to date with.

    Their is also one thing that the government has been kind of keeping quiet that will be a big issue in the future. The storage of nuclear waste is a problem that needs a solution immediately.

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