There is a national debate going on within the green energy community and it seems the number one question that keeps coming up is should we now support our one time enemy nuclear power? Many different people green and not, now, think it is the right time to take a second look at this widely used power source.
When a former anti-nuclear campaigner and founding member of Greenpeace proclaims in the Washington Post “the environmental movement needs to update its views…because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster,” we should pay attention. (Alger, Findlay)
Nuclear power is an energy that can be obtained from either the dividing of the nuclei of atoms (fission) or the mixing of the cores of atoms (fusion). With both of these two reactions, abundant amounts of energy occur when released. Nuclear power stations employ a device called a nuclear reactor in which plutonium or uranium atoms are divided in measured splitting reactions. The high temp energy discharged is taken and used towards producing electricity. In the U.S., there are 110 working nuclear stations, which accounts for 20 percent of current electricity output in the U.S. Thus nuclear is already providing a significant percent of the U.S. energy demands.
“France began beefing up its civil nuclear program after the 1974 oil crisis.” (BEARDSLEY). France on the other hand gets more than eighty percent of its electricity generated from nuclear power. Having no natural reserves of Coal, Oil or Natural gas, was also a major factor in the choice to going nuclear and to stay nuclear.
The U.S. has just the opposite in natural resources the nation is especially rich in coal and to a lesser degree a good amount of natural gas, this complicates the political will to turn toward nuclear and other types of alternative energy sources.
According to the American coalition for clean coal and the U.S government:
It’s simple, Coal is America’s most abundant domestically produced energy resource. America has more coal within its borders than any other country. According to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, more than a quarter of all the known recoverable coal reserves are located right here. Our abundant coal will provide American families and businesses with affordable electricity for decades to come. In fact, coal can meet domestic electricity
demand for more than 200 years at the current rate of consumption.
The Use of Nuclear power to generate clean power is thought by numerous experts in the U.S. to be one the fundamental answer to our nations energy crisis. However, the 1979, nuclear disaster at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania was the incident that began to raise concerns in the U.S. In addition with the Arab oil embargo of 1973 in the past, and the return of cheap oil, people in the U.S. Could not see the need for additional Nuclear power plants, or any other forms of alternative energy...