The Cases For and Against Nuclear Power

Before nuclear power there was the nuclear bomb, and the presence of the nuclear bomb casts a shadow over the debate about nuclear power, even between countires. Many countries think that nuclear bombs are being developed under the cover of nuclear power programs.

The debate is gradually being changed because of the debate over global warming, caused to a large extent by the burning of fossil fuels. Nuclear power does not cause global warming, so if te extent of global warming is to be controlled, nuclear power may play a large part.

Other arguments for and against global warming are given in the table below.

For

Against

Energy demands are increasing year on year. The supply of fossil fuels is finite, so demand can only be met by nuclear power.

We are inneficient in our use of power. Instead of allowing demand to increase, we should control demand by better insulating homes, making more efficient appliances and making more use of waste heat from power stations.

Nuclear power is the only realistic alternative to fossil fuels for producing electricity. Solar and wind power technology is not fully developed.

Nuclear energy is also a finite resource. The supply of uranium is also limited. The only long term solution to our energy needs is to invest in renewable sources like solar and wind.

Nuclear power does not produce harmful gases like CO 2 and SO 2 . CO 2 , Carbon dioxide is produced unavoidably when fossil fuels are burnt, and silicon dioxide, SO 2 is produced because many fossil fuels contain sulphur.

Nuclear power produces radioactive waste which must be stored for long periods in secure conditions. This is expensive.

The amount of nuclear waste produced is small and can be encased in glass and buried.

If the waste leaks, water supplies may be contaminated.

A tiny amount of the radiation in the environment is due to nuclear power.

No level of nuclear power is safe – the level of radioactivity is much higher near to power stations.

Nuclear stations are generally very safe.

When a leak occurs, it can be devastating, contaminating wide areas and forcing millions of people to be evacuated.

The overall risk of dying from a nuclear accident are much smaller than risk of death from other sources.

It is not only the risk but the scale of the possible distaster that must be taken into account.

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