Nuclear Power

Friend or Foe?

What is Nuclear Energy?

Nuclear energy is the energy that is contained inside the core of an atom. It holds the neutrons, protons, and electrons, on the outside, together. The nuclear energy is freed from the atom's nucleus by nuclear fission. The nuclear energy is created from Uranium atoms which are found underground and are cheaper and more plentiful. However, it's nonrenewable and it must be mined.

Major Events and Minor Details

Chernobyl, Soviet Union - April 26, 1989: The power plant exploded due to a faulty design along with management error. A rush of power demolished one of the reactors, releasing enormous amounts of radiation. This radiation spread far-contaminating over 5 million people and causing nearly 4,000 children to develop thyroid cancer. “The power plant accident at Chernobyl is reason enough to discontinue nuclear energy production: Nuclear energy systems, are inherently dangerous and simply too vulnerable to human error.” -Harvey Blatt, professor of geology at the Institute of Earth Sciences at Hebrew University.

Three Mile Island Incident- On March 28, 1979 a nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania melted down. “This was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history.”- U.S. NRC. Even though it had little effects of the health of workers and citizens, it led to take new precautions and planning for many nuclear power operations around the U.S.

Fukushima, Japan – An earthquake struck the coast of Japan, shutting down the Fukushima reactors on March 11, 2011. The emergency generators failed and citizens near the area were told to evacuate. The cooling system was not working properly so they had to release some of the steam, which contained radioactive material. Then one of the buildings exploded and collapsed injuring 4 workers.

Vital Facts

  • “Every year and a half to two years, every nuclear plant goes through a cleaning cycle that shuts down the plant to allow for the removal of radioactive waste.”- C.E.F.

  • Uranium atoms are used for nuclear energy and are nonrenewable and also must be mined

  • “United States power plants produce 20 metric tons of radioactive waste every year.”-do something

  • To build a nuclear power plant, it costs over 6 billion dollars

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Disadvantages of Nuclear Power

  • More than 20 tons of waste are produced just within the U.S. each year

  • Reactors produce large amounts of low-level radiation which contaminate the materials located inside

  • The reactors can be used to generate fuel for creating nuclear weapons

  • It can take 5-10 years to construct a plant, which can lead to finance problems

  • The radioactive waste left over is extremely dangerous and hard to store to keep the environment safe

  • Even though it's rare, a nuclear accident may occur if there is even a little leak of radiation

  • "Unlike fossil fuels which are available to most of the countries, uranium is very scarce resource and exist in only few of the countries"-CEF

  • Uranium is a nonrenewable resource and is found in very few countries. Once it's all mined, nuclear power plants will have no use.

  • The process of mining and transporting Uranium is unsafe and a pollution hazard

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Disposal of Nuclear waste

A problem with Nuclear Energy is finding a place to dispose it's waste. Most government's solutions are to bury it underground. But it's very hard to find a secure place to do that due to the rules of disposing nuclear waste. The waste also takes thousands of years to decay.


The solution to the energy crisis is using renewable energy sources. Renewable energy comes from natural sources that are constantly and sustainably replenished. Examples of renewable energy sources include solar power, geothermal, hydropower, and wind power. These options are inexhaustible, environmentally friendly, and very abundant. A combination of these can be used to supply power around the world instead of nuclear energy.

Works Cited

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"Kids Korner - Nuclear Power." Kids Korner - Nuclear Power. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

"Main Menu." The Abduction of Wendy Samantha Coronel Tenorio. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

"Nuclear Energy for Future Citizens." Scientific American Global RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

"Renewable & Non-Renewable Energy Sources - Conserve Energy Future." ConserveEnergyFuture. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2015.

Reporter, Daily Mail. "Panicked Residents Start to Flee Tokyo as Radiation Levels Rise after THIRD Blast at Stricken Nuclear Power Plant." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

"11 Facts About Nuclear Energy." Do Something. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

Boiling Water Reactor System. Digital image. BBC News. N.p., 13 Mar. 2011. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. N.d. SAGAPHOTO, Chernobyl. Opposing Viewpoints. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

"Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station." Opposing Viewpoints. Environmental Encyclopedia, 2011. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

Kivi, Rose. "Nuclear Energy Disasters Are Inevitable." Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press, 2010. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

Passero, Barbara. "Preface to "Is Nuclear Power a Viable Energy Alternative?"" Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press, Dec. 2006. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

"Timeline: Japan Power Plant Crisis." BBC News. N.p., 13 Mar. 2011. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

"Renewable Energy." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Gale, 2015. Web. 4 Dec. 2015.