Beyond Chernobyl and Fukushima
& why we need Nuclear Energy the most
With the depletion of fossil fuel resources comes speculations and debates about alternative energy sources. The world, including the Philippines, is practically dependent on a dwindling non-renewable source of energy. Today, experts are debating about and considering three options: Nuclear, Solar, or Wind Energy. Everyone has been accustomed to the bad image of nuclear energy as a result of the Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents above all others. The popular belief is that radiation from a nuclear meltdown is very harmful to humans and other living things—which is true—and that nuclear power plants are very dangerous and not ideal—which is not. According to Smith, et. al (n.d), all the nuclear disasters that ever occurred were caused by human error and natural disasters (like tsunamis), not one because of system failure. Putting the false beliefs aside, with proper engineering and adequate maintenance by experts, a nuclear power plant is a very ideal and viable source of energy for the following reasons:
➢ Building a nuclear power plant requires less land space than solar or wind farms. With the current overcrowding issue in the Philippines, taking up less space for energy production is more ideal. On the other hand, Philippines has a lot of land area in provinces for power plants. It is also a better option for manufacturers because less land space means less costs at least in terms of land ownership.
➢ Nuclear energy is very efficient and reliable. Unlike wind and solar farms, nuclear power plants can operate twenty-four hours everyday unless subjected to maintenance and can produce a constant energy output that is not affected by weather conditions. Solar energy relies on the sun to produce solar power, making it impossible to produce energy at night. Cloudy days also affect the energy output because clouds obstruct the sun’s light’s way towards the solar panels. Wind power production is also not constant because the strength of the wind varies. Nuclear power plants, on the other hand, can function under different weathers.
➢ Nuclear power generation is earth-friendly. It has lower greenhouse gases emissions compared to other energy sources therefore it has the lowest environmental impact because it does not release controlled air pollutants and harmful gases that cause the greenhouse effect like methane and carbon dioxide. Its only greenhouse gas emission is during transportation of fuel and during the extraction of energy from Uranium. Because of this, nuclear energy is considered as “clean energy”. Fossil fuels, in contrast with nuclear energy, emit a lot of carbon dioxide which is very harmful for the environment.
➢ Nuclear energy is cheap. Building the power plant itself is expensive and requires expertise and strict maintenance but once constructed, it has low operation costs. In support to the reliability and efficiency of nuclear energy, according...