Monday, 11 January 2010

Pros and cons of nuclear power

As a result of the current discussion how further global warming could be prevented or at least mitigated, the recovery of nuclear power seems to be in everybody's - or at least in many politician's - mind. It it attractive to see that in many suggestions to mitigate global warming.

Advantages of nuclear power generation:

  • Nuclear power generation does emit relatively low amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2). The emissions of green house gases and therefore the contribution of nuclear power plants to global warming is therefore relatively little.
  • This technology is readily available, it does not have to be developed first.
  • It is possible to generate a high amount of electrical energy in one single plant.

Disadvantages of nuclear power generation:

  • The waste from nuclear energy is extremely dangerous and it has to be carefully looked after for several thousand years
  • High risks: Despite a generally high security standard, accidents can still happen. It is technically impossible to build a plant with 100% security. A small probability of failure will always last. The consequences of an accident would be absolutely devastating both for human being as for the nature
  • Nuclear waste could be preferred targets for terrorist attacks. No atomic energy plant in the world could withstand an attack similar to 9/11 in Yew York.
  • During the operation of nuclear power plants, radioactive waste is produced, which in turn can be used for the production of nuclear weapons.
  • The energy source for nuclear energy is Uranium. Uranium is a scarce resource, its supply is estimated to last only for the next 30 to 60 years depending on the actual demand.

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