Atoms for Peace
One of the biggest issues we face in the 21st century is how we can produce energy for our rapidly growing energy needs effectively. There are many sources we can obtain energy from to fulfill our needs such as coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear and alternatives like wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biofuels but all of these sources have their negatives. Whether it’s the cost of a project, the negative environmental affects, or even the appearance of certain facility. Nuclear energy can be the greatest and most beneficial energy source for the United States.
There is no doubt energy is an important resource. We use energy in every aspect of our lives. In the year 2010 the whole world used a total of 511 quadrillion British thermal units of energy and of the 511 quadrillion “The United States' primary energy consumption was nearly 98 quadrillion Btu, nearly 19% of world total primary energy consumption” (U.S. Energy Information Admin.). To put things into perspective 1 quadrillion Btu equals 45 million tons of coal or about 172 million barrels of crude oil. So the United Sates would have used 4.4 billion tons of coal or about 17 billion barrels of crude oil in 2010 alone. As population grows the demand for “energy consumption will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040” (U.S. E.I.A.). With demand expected to grow that much within the next 30 years, it is essential we build a sturdy foundation to prepare us for the future.
Like all energy source there is one main issue that keeps people divided. With nuclear energy it is the safety aspect. When people think of nuclear they automatically think about the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster or the Three Mile Island Accident. It has been 34 years since the Three Mile Island Accident and 27 years since the Chernobyl Disaster. A lot has changed, technology is rapidly advancing, nuclear engineers are put through more rigorous training and strict guidelines are set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to helps insure the safety of all people in or around the power plants. Step have been taken to make newer nuclear plants safer by having a passive-safety features which allows the plant to shut down without any human intervention or outside power. This greatly reduces human error that occurred in both the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters. Nuclear plants also have detailed monitoring and regular testing to detect equipment failure. Optimum nuclear safety is achieved with three steps; prevention, monitoring, and action.
Health concerns is another big issue people have. Some non-supporters believe that the radiation produced by nuclear power plants can drastically alter their health. It is a common misconception that the radiation from nuclear plants can greatly increases a person’s risk of getting cancer. Studies done by many groups show that “radiation doses from NPPs to members of the public are extremely low – at least 100 to 1,000 times lower than natural background radiation...