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A Stride Into The Future Essay

2298 words - 9 pages

The great physicist Albert Einstein once said, “A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels.” He understood the importance of exploiting novelties to create something beneficial for mankind. No one demonstrates this way of thinking better than Einstein because he had the boldness to explore fields of science that few have ever approached in order to make the world a better place. Today, human society faces the detrimental consequence of global warming due to pollution from fossil fuel combustion; the world once again needs to discover never-before-seen alternatives. These alternatives may be risky in certain ways, but for mankind to prosper and continue to survive, these risks are necessary. One alternative to fossil fuel is nuclear energy, a recent innovation that is still fairly uncommon in producing power. Clearly, nuclear energy should play a greater role in powering the world because it possesses environmental, viable, and political incentives.
Nuclear energy has significant environmental advantages over conventional energy sources. One prime example is the comparison of the effects of fossil fuel versus nuclear energy on global warming. When examining pollution, an important factor is a power plant’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. Using nuclear power could significantly slow global warming because it produces much less CO2 than fossil fuel. For example, a 1,250 megawatt coal-fired power plant releases 11.8 million tons of CO2 per year; a nuclear power plant of similar magnitude releases merely 0.5 million tons (McLeish 37). This means nuclear energy produces less than 5% the emission as coal energy! However, people may doubt the impact of global warming. Signs of global warming include the melting of polar icecaps and the raising of the sea level. This could cause catastrophic changes because the high water level may flood many coastal cities (McLeish 38). Global warming also results in dynamic changes in climate. For instance, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita of 2005 were two of the most destructive storms ever recorded. They not only caused devastations to cities on the Gulf Coast but also caused energy supply disruptions. Ironically, the disrupted energy source—fossil fuel—was exactly the one that caused the tragedies (Metcalf 89). The simple conclusion is that using nuclear energy can lower carbon emission and reduce the likelihood of a potential disturbance in energy supply.
People may still feel unsatisfied with the low carbon emission from nuclear power plants. The truth, as unfortunately as it may, is that no energy source is carbon-free (Hertel 4). Still, “according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), total life-cycle greenhouse-gas emission per unit of electricity [of a nuclear power plant] is…‘similar to those for renewable energy sources’” (Lynas 55). In some respects the total carbon emission of the life cycle of nuclear power is even less than that of wind turbines...

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