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Nuclear Energy Can Prevent Climate Change

2916 words - 12 pages

America relies heavily on foreign sources for the energy to run the country. The issue has received much media attention due to the political and economic implications it will have in the near future. This problem could at least be partially solved by using technology that already exists, rather than relying heavily on ones that have yet to come to fruition. America’s energy woes – specifically its reliance on fossil fuels – can be solved by reviving nuclear energy with the use of politics to tackle perceived dangers, technological advancements to make them more feasible, and public outreach to promote acceptance.
Nuclear power has been around for decades and can be easily utilized to help meet America’s energy needs. With energy security and climate change being two of the many issues at the forefront of America’s problems, there is a growing need to find solutions. While alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar, and geothermal have great potential, they are technologies that still need to be refined and perfected. In contrast to that, nuclear energy has been around for decades and is utilized to a limited extent already. Instead of relying on the future for our growing power needs, using the past may be at least part of the solution. By investing in nuclear energy, a good portion of our energy needs can be easily met. This is already the case in parts of Europe where nuclear power contributes to large portions of their energy needs. According to Balat, France acquires about three-quarters of their electricity through nuclear power (2007). Although nuclear energy alone cannot be the entire solution, it can provide a large portion of the solution. It is widely known that America is going to need to find alternatives for our energy sooner or later. There is a growing concern for establishing a firm energy policy and achieving some form of energy security. As a whole, reliance on fossil fuels contributes to climate change, which will lead to disastrous consequences in the future. One of the many changes that can be made is to use cleaner sources of energy, of which nuclear is one of them.
Getting energy from nuclear reactions is a well-established science, tracing back to the discovery of radioactive elements, and eventually to harnessing the energy within those reactions for human needs. The basis of nuclear power is the use of nuclear fission to generate heat, which changes water into steam, and powers a turbine. Nuclear fission is related to radioactive decay, which was discovered in the late 1800s by Henri Becquerel and furthered by Marie and Pierre Curie. Nuclear fission itself was the work of Enrico Fermi – a physicist from Italy. Fermi would later help create the first self-sustaining chain reaction on the grounds of the University of Chicago in 1942. The understanding of nuclear fission and the ability to create chain reactions would lead to the Manhattan Project, culminating in the dropping of two nuclear bombs over Japan at...

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