Despite the fact the countries continue to increase the production of nuclear energy, my position is that new nuclear power plants should not continue to be built. The current use of nuclear power should be carefully evaluated with a plan to slowly decrease production throughout the world. The negative implications to the environment and economy support my position.
The production of nuclear energy is not as safe and clean as some say that it is. The Oxford Research Group released a report providing evidence that supports this point. It is clear that nuclear power plants do not produce a lot of carbon dioxide when they operate, but it is the mining of uranium and the storing of waste that produces the carbon dioxide pollution. This way of producing power is not as friendly to the environment as once thought. The report states that over time more carbon dioxide will be produced because more equipment and energy will be needed to extract uranium ore and store the waste. It is estimated by 2070 uranium nuclear power would produce as much carbon dioxide as a gas fired power station. If the use of nuclear power continues to increase this number would increase as well having a significant impact on global warming and the environment (Herbst).
There is additional evidence of negative environmental impact with the use of nuclear energy. There is a risk of water contamination with radioactive material from nuclear power plants. The leaking of material has been reported to occur at over a dozen nuclear plants in the U.S. This has contaminated various water sources, including ground water, rivers and streams (examiner.com). In 2011 when an earthquake occurred in Taiwan and generated a tsunami that struck a nuclear power plant, the plant exposed the environment to radioactive material. It is estimated that 400 tons of ground water was contaminated. Two years later, the contaminated ground water continues to leak into the ocean exposing sea life to this dangerous material (Daly). There is also risk with the process of mining materials and containing the radioactive waste. There is yet to be a full proof way to store this toxic material (examiner.com).
Disposal of the high level nuclear waste that comes from nuclear power plants continues to be a big problem. It has been challenging and costly to find safe ways to store this waste. According to a report from the U.S National Academy of Sciences, it will take 3 million years for radioactive waste stored in the U.S. as of 1983 to decay to background levels (thinkquest.org). Who wants this amount of waste stored in the environment where they live? Currently in the U.S. nuclear power plants produce 3,000 tons of this high level waste each year (thinkquest.org). If nuclear power continues to be produced, this amount of waste will only continue to increase, causing a bigger dilemma as to what to do with the waste. As the waste is removed from the plant it still contains a high level of...