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Nuclear Power Should Be A Critical Component In A Strategy To Deal With Concern About Global Warming

2567 words - 10 pages

Nuclear power should not be dismissed and must be included as a major component of an alternative energy source to replace fossil fuels as it has the greatest potential to be the primary energy source in the future which can work together with other alternative renewable energy sources to combat global warming and to help meet the world’s growing energy demand

Nuclear energy, which has historically been depicted as a dangerous and evil energy source, has recently seen renewed attention as an alternative form of energy and has been rehabilitated in the eyes of the public after rising concerns regarding global warming and a rise in the demand of energy (World Nuclear Association 2011). However, due to the March 2011 Fukushima accident, public perception of nuclear safety has been set back. This accident instilled fear and “had a big impact in diminishing the support for nuclear energy” (Wallard, cited in Reaney 2011). This incident reignited the debate over nuclear power in the international community. This essay will consider the arguments from the anti-nuclear energy movement that preceding accidents nuclear prove that nuclear energy always carry risk of a major disaster. This essay will also take into account the argument that nuclear waste is an environmental and health risk, and finally that nuclear energy is not needed since there are better alternative energy sources which are renewables. This essay will then, however, refute these arguments by explaining that nuclear energy has an excellent safety record, and that nuclear waste is a tractable problem, and finally that nuclear energy can coincide with renewable energy sources to combat global warming and meet energy demand.

Firstly, Greenpeace (n.d.) asserts that the consequences of a nuclear power accident would be absolutely devastating both for human beings and nature and that “the effects and rehabilitation usually last for decades." Furthermore, Greenpeace (n.d.) claims that the two notorious accidents before Fukushima, Three Mile Island in the US and Chernobyl in the USSR, which were due to human error, demonstrated “the extreme danger that humanity is exposed to because of nuclear power plants”. Greenpeace (n.d.) goes on to assert that any risk of nuclear plant accidents after the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters is unacceptable. In addition, Chris Riedy (2011), Research Director of UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, maintains that Fukushima is an example of failure at a nuclear plant due to a natural disaster and though it does not have any fatalities yet, it demonstrates the potential to be “catastrophic”. Though accidents of the magnitude of Fukushima are rare, Riedy (2011) contends that such “unforgiving technologies” should be avoided.

However, as Martin Sevior (2011), Associate Professor of Physics at University of Melbourne explains, the Fukushima accident is very unlikely to occur somewhere else. Moreover, Sevior (2011) states that the reactors at...

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