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The Solution To The United States' Energy Crisis

1048 words - 5 pages

When we flip a light switch, or plug our laptop or cell phone charger into the wall, we expect that electricity will flow to illuminate the room or to power up the device at the other end of the cord. But what if the power companies weren’t able to generate enough electricity to make these actions possible? As the United States’ population increases and continues to undergo economic growth, this demand for energy will only continue to grow. The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that “the world’s energy needs could be 50% higher in 2030 than they are today” [1]. And while Americans only make up about 5% of the world’s population, we consume more than 20% of the world’s energy ...view middle of the document...

After reading this paper, it should be clear that nuclear power is the most promising way for the United States to secure the energy supply for many years to come.
Economics
While the state of the United States’ economy has improved significantly over the past couple of years, we have still not fully recovered from the recession of the early 2000s. Americans looking for ways to save money, often times look to lower their electricity usage towards this goal. Yet this action only fixes the problem on the surface; the deeper issue is that the country as a whole is relying on energy sources that are far more expensive than we can or should tolerate. Coal may currently appear to be the most economically attractive option for countries whose coal resources are abundant and accessible, but this will only remain true “as long as carbon emission are cost free” [4]. And while gas has also been a competitive option, much of this advantage has disappeared due to escalating prices. It is certainly true that the capital costs involved with building a nuclear power plant are higher than building a fossil fuel-burning plant, but the cost of running and maintaining these plants is significantly lower than that associated with the fossil fuel equivalent.

Many sources report that the nuclear industry is faced by “prohibitively high – and escalating – capital costs”, yet they fail to mention that recent studies show that the capital costs of building conventional power plants have also increased [4] [5]. One distinct area where nuclear power holds an advantage compared with coal, oil and gas-fired plants is in terms of fuel costs. It is estimated that the total costs for fueling a nuclear power plant “are typically about a third of those for a coal-fired plant and between a quarter and a fifth of those for a gas...

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