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Nature
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Nuclear Energy Source (Essay Sample)

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The task was an essay, on the topic mentioned above.

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Nuclear Energy Source
Some people view nuclear energy, as a threat to the development of other species, but it is the most eco-efficient and eco-friendly energy source. Anti-nuclear activists have always protested about nuclear power citing the risks involved in its use a source of energy. Nuclear power is an energy source that has been introduced to replace fossil fuels and meet the global demand for fuel (Civil Engineering 57); the demand for fuel has been on the rise globally. It plays a major role of carbon free electrical energy production (Grandin, Jagers, and Kullander 26). Nuclear energy provides reliable base-load electricity. It also has a large capacity and requires fewer materials for its construction and operation as a fuel source. Nuclear power plants do not produce air pollutants, which include particulates and sulfur or greenhouse gases. Replacing fossil fuels with nuclear energy is critical in keeping the air clean, avoids depletion of the ozone layer, preserves favorable climate of the earth, and prevents acid rain. Among all other sources of energy, nuclear energy is the most eco-efficient source of energy; the energy produced is relative to its impact on the environment.
Nuclear plants enable regions to enjoy and meet air pollution standards. They also reduce the cost incurred on controlling air pollution by the emitting facilities. Nuclear facilities do not require emission permits, and this increases the availability of the allowable tons to remain in the emitting facilities that are in the same location. Availing allowable tons lowers costs of energy production and reduces the capital expenses that are necessary to reduce emissions.
Nuclear plants do not emit gases into the atmosphere; this helps in the reduction of competition for a limited amount of rights for pollution as per the law. The plants also reduce the actual capital cost incurred during the control of air pollution emitted within the same location. Nuclear energy sources have the lowest negative effect on the environment as compared to other energy sources. This is associated with the kilowatts produced by energy sources as the nuclear plant emits no harmful gases, uses a small area, and reduces other negative effects of energy production. Nuclear plants have no adverse effects on the environment especially on the land, water, species, habitat, and air resources. They emit no harmful gases since there is no combustion to produce electricity. Unlike other power generating industries, nuclear plants do not produce sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide that are responsible for the formation of ground-level ozone layer, acid rain, and smog. The plants do not also produce green house gases or carbon dioxide that is likely to cause global warming. In the entire nuclear fuel cycle, the waste by-products are produced in small volumes, and can be contained easily, packaged, and stored safely. Nuclear energy industry is the only industry that accounts for its waste in the prevention of adverse effects to the environment.
Nuclear power facilitates the provision of quality water and conservation of aquatic life. Nuclear power plant discharge water with no harmful pollutants; this enables the plants to meet regulatory standards especially for the temperatures, which is necessary in protecting aquatic life. In the plant, the water used for cooling is not exposed to radioactive materials that are harmful to aquatic life. It is the custom of the nuclear plant to cool the warm water before discharging it to the bay, lake, or river to avoid causing any harm to the marine life. The warm water is cooled by mixing it with some more cold water in a cooling pond, or it is pumped via a cooling tower. Areas surrounding a nuclear power plant and cooling ponds are at times developed as wetlands that operate as a nesting area for waterfowls among other birds, fish habitats, and preservation of grasses, flowers, and trees. Plant sites have become wildlife sanctuaries and special nature parks.
Nuclear power plants offer habitat and land preservation. They utilize small spaces to produce significant amounts of energy and operate within a small piece of land as compared to other energy sources. They are also kind to the environment as they allow those endangered species to thrive and live nearby. Such species include peregrine falcons, osprey, red-cockaded woodpecker, bald eagles, and beach tiger beetle. These species have a home in nuclear power plants.
Nuclear power plants benefit individuals of the United States; for example, they produce low-cost power at stable predictable prices; this is essential in maintaining electric power system reliability. The plants significantly contribute to the national energy security and ensure stability of electricity supply in the entire nation. The nation depends on nuclear energy since it is the most secure source. Nuclear energy is different from other energy sources as it does not rely on climate conditions, weather, foreign suppliers, or has unpredictable fluctuation of costs. Nuclear energy is an international industry that supplies fuel extensively. The plants operate for longer periods, as opposed to other sources of power. Production, maintenance, fuel, and operation costs of electricity in nuclear power plant keeps declining with the passing years. The plants are not known to add costs unexpectedly.
Nuclear energy is an affordable power source, and its adequate supply sustains a healthy social economy. Power is important in commerce and industries whose work is to generate revenue that is required to support high employment levels and comprehensive public health infrastructure. High levels of unemployment lead to poverty, which is among the greatest economic risks to any country. Sanitary water supply improves public health. Livestock keeping and agriculture depends on fresh water. Such benefits to society are realized through the use of nuclear power. Employment of nuclear power plants desalinates seawater on a large scale and fresh and clean water is then pumped where it is needed. Such power plants create employment of many and reduce the poverty rate.
Nuclear energy provides a huge supply of hydrogen that is required by hydrogen energy economy. The environment needs to change the energy economy comprising of oil, methane, and burning of hydrogen and renewable sources. This will eliminate the production of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and air polluting emissions that are related to carbon fuel combustion. Hydrogen requires energy for it to be produced, and nuclear reactors produce the energy, which is required to manufacture large amounts of hydrogen. Nuclear reactors produce radioisotopes; for instance, they produce cobalt- 60 that is used significantly in industries and medicine. Conversion of uranium into plutonium leads to potential energy release in Uranium that would extend the supply of fuel to several years. The fission of Uranium occurring in breeder reactors creates renewable energy source. Nuclear waste that is deposited in deep geological sites does not enter the biosphere (Comby 4); instead, it has a minimal impact on the eco-system. Such waste decays over time unlike other chemicals such as mercury and arsenic that last forever. Most of the by-products from the nuclear plant are in the form of gases that are released to the smokestack and have no adverse effect on the environment. The plant is also very safe; many countries have utilized nuclear energy, but there are minimal complaints against the plants.
Nuclear power costs are relatively stable and competitive. The cost of nuclear fuel is of a small fraction of the nuclear kilo Watt-hour price as compared to the cost of gas and oil, which depends on the market value (Comdy 5). Nuclear power plant is inexhaustible in that uranium is all over the earth crust and is more abundant than a mere tin. It is also easily recovered for seawater. During the construction of a nuclear power plants, considerably huge financial investment is incurred. This prompts the owners to be extra careful with the plant life extension and management. Reactor’s operating life is extended by regular assessment of plant structure conditions, components and syste...
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