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Breeder Reactors: Clean And Plentiful Energy...Forever

2499 words - 10 pages

Nuclear power is one of the most controversial topics of our time. In a time where people are looking more towards greener energy and towards a more plentiful supply of it, the nuclear breeder reactor comes to shine. A Nuclear Breeder Reactor works on the principal of taking waste from a normal reactor, and using it to make more energy. In such a reactor, what occurs is “Neutrons flying around in these reactors not only induce uranium-235 to split and release energy, but also convert non-fissile uranium-238 into fissile plutonium-239” (Webb). In most reactors, this dangerous, bomb-grade material would be thrown away. This waste is highly radioactive, and can remain so for many millennia. But instead, it can make even greater amounts of energy out of the process. Breeder reactors have a lot of promise, and may even solve the planet’s energy crisis. However, these reactors are relatively unresearched and have not met their full potential as in most normal nuclear plants. Nuclear breeder reactors have many benefits among the many criticisms they have gained over the years. The use of these in the United States could bring many benefits.
Breeder reactors may be very efficient, and produce lots of energy, but they are very expensive to build. These reactors cost billions of dollars to build. The cost of building one of these reactors will not be immediately returned through the energy produced. For one such reactor in Japan, “cost of the project has risen from $4 billion to $6 billion,” ("Advanced”). The taxes that would be levied on the taxpayers would put them in much more financial trouble than they already are. Times are hard enough, and paying for more energy that we don’t need right now isn’t worth it. Plus the money to build something this large is not there. The strain that would be put on in the building of this project should not be placed at this exact time. The price is about as equivalent to that of most other power plants, but those plants do not require the risk of the radioactivity of the nuclear plants. The nuclear plants require much cost for the safety of the facility, safety precautions that don’t need to be taken when dealing with a coal plant, fossil fuel, and other electricity producing plants.
While many of these may be true, the costs are quickly paid for, and can be paid for even more quickly if the extent of the subject be studied and updated. Between 1995 and 2008, Nuclear power production costs have remained at the same level, while other power plants production costs have gone up. Nuclear power plants can produce a lot more electric per unit of fuel than other methods. This electricity can be sold cheap because it is plentiful and the upkeep is less. Nuclear plants do not need constant upkeep as do other methods. There, a cost is cut, putting more money back in a person’s pocket. Much of the costs paid for are the continued cost of safety concerns, as these reactors must be continuously watched in case of any...

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