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Nuclear Energy: Pros and Cons

| Monday February 23rd, 2009 | 202 Comments

There is no perfect energy source. Each and every one has its own advantages and compromises. This series will explore the pros and cons of various energy sources.  Learn about other forms of energy generation here.

nuclear_power_plant.pngNuclear power is once again considered a prominent alternative, despite the disregard it was met with in the 1970s. This is because it’s now being touted as a more environmentally beneficial solution since it emits far fewer greenhouse gases during electricity generation than coal or other traditional power plants.

It is widely accepted as a somewhat dangerous, potentially problematic, but manageable source of generating electricity. Radiation isn’t easily dealt with, especially in nuclear waste and maintenance materials, and expensive solutions are needed to contain, control, and shield both people and the environment from its harm.

The dialogue about using nuclear power – and expanding it – centers on weighing these risks against the rewards, as well as the risks inherent in other forms of power generation. These are just some of the issues involved.


An excerpt from Design is the Problem, by Nathan Shedroff, published by Rosenfeld Media

PROS

  • Lower carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) released into the atmosphere in power generation.
  • Low operating costs (relatively).
  • Known, developed technology “ready” for market.
  • Large power-generating capacity able to meet industrial and city needs (as opposed to low-power technologies like solar that might meet only local, residential, or office needs but cannot generate power for heavy manufacturing).
  • Existing and future nuclear waste can be reduced through waste recycling and reprocessing, similar to Japan and the EU (at added cost).

CONS

  • High construction costs due to complex radiation containment systems and procedures.
  • High subsidies needed for construction and operation, as well as loan guarantees.
  • Subsidies and investment could be spent on other solutions (such as renewable energy systems).
  • High-known risks in an accident.
  • Unknown risks.
  • Long construction time.
  • Target for terrorism (as are all centralized power generation sources).
  • Waivers are required to limit liability of companies in the event of an accident. (This means that either no one will be responsible for physical, environmental, or health damages in the case of an accident or leakage over time from waste storage, or that the government will ultimately have to cover the cost of any damages.)
  • Nuclear is a centralized power source requiring large infrastructure, investment, and coordination where decentralized sources (including solar and wind) can be more efficient, less costly, and more resilient.
  • Uranium sources are just as finite as other fuel sources, such as coal, natural gas, etc., and are expensive to mine, refine, and transport, and produce considerable environmental waste (including greenhouse gasses) during all of these processes.
  • The majority of known uranium around the world lies under land controlled by tribes or indigenous peoples who don’t support it being mined from the earth.
  • The legacy of environmental contamination and health costs for miners and mines has been catastrophic.
  • Waste lasts 200 – 500 thousand years.
  • There are no operating long-term waste storage sites in the U.S. One is in development, but its capacity is already oversubscribed. Yucca Mountain is in danger of contaminating ground water to a large water basin, affecting millions of people. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for the U.S. to impose its will on the state of Nevada (or other places) if they don’t want to host long-term storage of waste.
  • There are no operating “next generation” reactors, such as high-temperature breeder reactors and particle-beam activated reactors, that are reported to produce less waste and have reduced safety concerns. Even if these technologies were ready, they wouldn’t be deployable commercially for another two decades.
  • Shipping nuclear waste internationally poses an increased potential threat to interception to terrorism (though this has not happened yet with any of the waste shipped by other countries). Increasing the amount of waste shipped, particularly in less secure countries, is seen as a significant increase in risk to nuclear terrorism.

***

Learn about the future of biofuels here.

What about other energy sources?

Nathan Shedroff graduated from Presidio in 2006 and currently runs the first Design MBA program at California College of the Arts


▼▼▼      202 Comments     ▼▼▼

Categorized: Renewable Energy|

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  • Lorraine

    What about the CO2 emissions created during the build of a a nuclear plant? That needs to be allowed for (in comparison to other energy souces) and added to the list of cons

    • Sunrise84

      Nuclear produces near-zero greenhouse gas. Search: “Carbon Footprint of Electricity Generation”

      Note to all: Stop passing on the old stories and rumors – use only authorative sources like the above. It's important to be able to know when a source is authoratative or not.
      Richard

      • Kickibrown

        Dude, KICK BACK! Dont Even Trip Bro iGot this(:

      • Andy

        Chikens

      • Zac

        I agree. 8D

        • Your face

          Nope

    • Kinkfixer

       CO2 actually helps trees it does not hurt the enviornment

      Q:what do we expell every time we breathe out

      A:CO2 (this has been happening since Adam and Eve people(this is not new info)

      GO Jesus!

      • NoOneYouKnow

        But not in the high amounts we’re releasing.

      • Jan Angevine

        Nothing is toxic until there is too much of it. I suppose you could have a nip or arsenic and be fine, but a dab of it will kill you. That’s the issue. We are producing too much CO2. 

        • bluelightzero

          Not to mention over-hydration

        • ab0032

          The IPCC just called off the climate catastrophe. So we can burn oil, gas and coal as much as we want to. Even from fracking.
          The point is though that burning fossil fuels also pollutes the air which kills people. That is why nuclear power has already saved about 2 mio lives.
          Also you are right about the dose, anything below 100 mSv per year is harmless, that is why the radiation in Fukushima, where doses are 0.001 mSv, is to small to even cause one case of cancer.

      • Avixii

        GO Satan (:

      • Pet44

        vzdxmfnvdm

      • Jack

        you fucking idiot…..

      • Kinkmaker

        Dude, are you saying Adam and Eve are real? Who created God, btw? Oh, yeah, he created himself. Because he was already created when he created himself.
        Makes lots of sense.
        Jesus, why did you do that??? = Jeezez, why did you do that???
        => Jesus is not real

      • Jaume

        Dude really heavily biased and trees don’t produce energy

        • Me

          They produce oxygen, and we, along with all other animals, need that to not die.

      • Vampirezheart

        CO2 is a greenhouse gas..It absorbs the thermal radiations and doesn’t let the radiations reflect back which are coming from the sun instead warms up the earth…It is the negative effect

    • LTJX

      This is a really tiresome line of argument against nuclear power.  What about all the CO2 emissions created by the manufacturing and assembling of wind farms or solar energy installations?  All of the very heavy wind energy components must first be manufactured from metals, plastics and other substances which themselves must be mined, refined and transported in multiple steps.  Not only the equipment, but also the employees, managers, contractors, etc must all have transportation out to remote sites and back home each day.

      So from a CO2 perspective, exactly how is the building of a nuclear plant all that different from the building of any number of renewable energy plants – or any other modern structure for that matter?  It’s not that different.  Therefore this becomes yet another in a long line of poorly thought out (and mostly emotional) objections to nuclear power.

      Actually, the best form of nuclear power may be Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors (LFTR’s) which can dramatically lower the risks of nuclear power, and which are much more efficient in using a Thorium/Uranium233 fuel cycle to produce energy (compared to use of a fuel cycle based on Uranium235/Plutonium, as found in existing nuclear plants). Also, Thorium is believed to be about 4 times more plentiful in the earth’s crust than is Uranium.  Not only do Thorium LFTR plants produce just a small fraction of the nuclear waste produced by current plants, they can also consume much of our existing nuclear waste stockpiles by adding certain amounts of this waste directly into the liquid Thorium/Molten Salt core of an operating LFTR plant.  In this way LFTR designs can actually consume the still substantial heat of nuclear waste to generate useful electrical power from this formerly unwanted and greatly feared by-product.

      • LTJXXX

        I’m pretty sure that nobody wants to read a page long article about what you think. And you have no life if you spend your free time making giant responses to random articles.

        • I dont want a name

          I’m pretty sure that that’s what the comments section is for. And if that’s how he wants to spend his free time, good for him. You’re spending your free time replying to him and being cynical.

      • andy

        It has lots of cons to it doesnt it. I no

      • Justin

        but with all the energy that the wind farm save later in life it is worth it. there is no perfect energy source yet and i doubt there will be for many years to come so we have to make due with what we have. And the other form you mention is WAY to expensive… if u want to pay that much be my guest.

    • asdfa

      Your so dumb, nothing is fricking emitted when it is getting built

      • ghosty

        you are by far the stupidest person i have ever had the displeasure of calling a dumbass everything we do every movement every one of your horrid convulsions that come out of you’re mentally retarded body emits a gas you stupid faggot

  • KleP

    what other type of energy will be able to fully relieve the need for fossil fuels? Wind? Solar? Geothermal? I dont think so.

    • Tim

      Not only will nuclear power not fully relieve the need for fossil fuels, it won’t relieve it AT ALL for very long. The amount of Uranium on the earth isn’t NEARLY enough to sustain us for long enough to relieve the need of fossil fuels, we’re talking no more than 80 years for the remaining Uranium to be mined and used. What do you think happens when the Uranium is used up? You guessed it! Right back to fossil fuels again. Nuclear power is not a solution. It’s a dangerous, potentially deadly, TEMPORARY fix.

      Also, for your information…Wind and solar power is becoming more feasable every year. The efficiency of the wind and solar power plants are getting higher every year and could potentially be used to relieve our need for fossil fuels, at least more than nuclear power could. Geothermal energy is also usable as a reasonably permanent renewable resource. The plants are extremely expensive to make, but in time they will pay for themselves, since there are no known drawbacks of using geothermal energy yet.

      You really should get your facts straight before posting something like that.

      • matt

        you need to think ahead rather than right now. do you realize how long 80 years is? look at how much technology has expanded in the last 30-40 years and imagine how much it will expand, especially in the field of energy where there is such high demand. nuclear energy cannot be seen as a permanent fix, but rather as a procrastination device while we develop better technology to use renewable energy resources. you are obviously too small minded to think that much. im not saying youre wrong im just saying youre stupid

        • Tim

          Well, sure. 80 years is a long time for the CURRENT generation. But think two generations from now. The bottom line is that nuclear power is not a permanent fix and that it’s not a procrastination device. Yes, we might come up with other sources of energy, but then…that would just prove my point, which was that NUCLEAR ENERGY IS NOT A SOLUTION TO OUR DEPENDENCY ON FOSSIL FUELS. But obviously, you’re too small minded to see that. I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m just saying you’re just as stupid as I am.

        • Zac

          FACEPALM

        • peete

          I believe that you both need to do more research before you start throwing out opinions and accusing each other of being stupid. Nuclear power is a very debatable source of energy. Having many pros, along with many cons. Your point of arguement is flawed though. According to my research, the amount of uranium on the earth, and the amount of uranium used in the reaction process would supply the United States with enough energy to run at its current rate for approximetly 2,000 years. That is an extremely long time, and in that amount of time, our technology could come so far as to not require fossil fuels or nuclear power plants. This could happen, or this could not, we will never know until the time comes. As we wait though, you should both do more research before you accuse others of being 'stupid' when you yourselves are the ones that are uneducated.

        • joseph

          hello, just a curious student. do you mind linking me to the site/sites you have found this information?

        • johnathon

          yes that is true but you have to think of the other nations using nuclear power plants. if you do the math it will run out a lot faster than your so called educated theory.

        • Bobby

          shut up get out of here no one needs your negativity

        • johnathon

          look he is not stupid but you are if yo think about it when you look at the disaster in japan or cherynobal you will see that if an accedent happens it could result in a lot of distruction and here in America we have so many nuclear reactors that if one melts down it could cause a chain reaction.

        • johnathon mcdaniel

          what was said by me earlyer gose for the both of you. and if you are woundering it was just JOHNATHON. and I agree with tim it will not last and for your information wind and solar energy feilds are moving up in technology

        • bpb

          why do all your comments include stupid?

      • Seth

        Nuclear energy is NOT a god source for power due to supply of Uranium, cost for the plants to run, high risks of danger, radiation problems, extreme radiation releases in the atmosphere during accidents and the long time that it takes waste to lose radioactivity

        • Fluffi

          your point is who cares nuclear energy is a good energy source for the time being it gives us something while we wait for something better

        • gus

          1. For how long will nuclear power be available? Present reactors that use only the U-235 in natural uranium are very likely good for some hundreds of years. Bernard Cohen has shown that with breeder reactors, we can have plenty of energy for some billions of year.
          Cohen's argument is based on using uranium from sea water. Other people have pointed out that there is more energy in the uranium impurity in coal than could come from burning the coal. There is also plenty of uranium in granite. None of these sources is likely to be used in the next thousand years, because there is plenty of much more cheaply extracted uranium in conventional uranium ores.

        • Andy

          I LIKE PIE!!!!

        • Andy

          Food ARE YUUUUUUMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Fluffi

        you should too sooo >=P

      • klep

        Well lets look at total power output here. wind and solar range from kW to barely into Mega-Watts. Nuclear power is capable of guess what, here it comes, Giga-Watts (10^9). And you said efficiencies are getting better with wind and solar. well i hate to break it to you but it isn’t sunny enough every where or windy enough everywhere to reach full efficiency. Efficiency that doesn’t even come close to that of coal or nuclear. and its more like 100 years for the uranium fuel supply. And that would last longer if we reprocess the fuel. SO get your facts straight before you write something so moronic.

        also don’t forget about fusion. Last i heard thats 20 to 30 years away from being perfected. well within the “80″ years you claim.

        • lovecook

          http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/global_winds.html

          mark z jacobson

          found this on ted, writing a paper on it, usefull information check it out

        • johnathon mcdaniel

          well yes that is true but as i said if there is a melt down it will have catostrophic cassualty reports.

        • johnathon mcdaniel

          and if memory serves correctly fusion is the prosses of which the sun produces energy do you really want there to be a melt down with that amount of energy and heat

        • Kinkfixer

          fusion is cool

        • Kinkfixer

          i agree (as opposed to low-power technologies like solar that might meet only
          local, residential, or office needs but cannot generate power for heavy
          manufacturing).

        • Kj

          learn how to be a better scientist

        • Zac

          RAGER

      • bpb

        Tim is right. Nuclear energy requires lots of uranium 235 and the amount we have may last us 40 to 80 years. ALSO nuclear power plants have a high possibility of being terrorists targets. 

      • bpb

        he should

      • Raymondpan123

        There are newer generations of Nuclear powerplants such as the new and exciting generation 4 reactors which can reuse some of the wastes, this new plant will uranium consumption and therefore make it last longer.

      • LTJX

        There may be longer term issues with uranium supplies, especially with any large degree of growth in traditional nuclear plants.  But as I suggested in my prior post to this thread, the real energy treasure is thorium, which has hardly been mined at all until now, and is believed to be at least 4 times more plentiful than uranium in the earth’s crust.  There is also no need to tediously separate different forms of thorium (as with uranium 235/238).  Nearly all thorium is 232 and ready to go as is.  The efficiency of thorium is far beyond any other source, even uranium.  A quantity of thorium smaller than the size of a ping pong ball can provide all the energy needed by an average American over an entire lifetime, including the electrical equivalent of a lifetime of gasoline/diesel transportation for that person.  No other energy source is even close to this level of energy density.  Also, nearly all thorium is used up in the fuel cycle of a Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) which is the most promising plant design for using the massive thorium supplies in the USA – some already refined and stockpiled out west from the days of the Manhatten project, with even more still in the ground in well-known locations, and no doubt even more yet to be discovered.  Besides producing relatively little nuclear waste of their own, Thorium-based LFTR reactors also provide the unique ability to safely “burn” most of our existing nuclear waste to produce electricity – turning a potentially major pollution problem into a cheap new energy resource!  Furthermore, thorium plants present far less danger of diverting materials for making nuclear bombs – for one thing they produce far less plutonium than existing nuclear plants.  And this is the very reason that thorium designs were passed over in the first place (many of the early nuclear experts were thorium advocates) – but the thorium designs don’t produce nearly enough plutonium to support the kind of aggressive nuclear bomb building program that the USA ran from 1945 until ~1990.  But thankfully this requirement no longer exists like it did during the Cold War.  And far from being a decisive advantage over thorium designs, plutonium production is now considered a major proliferation (and possibly terrorist) risk factor of existing Uranium/Plutonium nuclear reactors.
        There are some excellent websites on the potential of thorium energy.  Try google and search on something as simple as “LFTR”.  Or you could search on ”thorium”.

      • nick

        uranium last as long as 248000 years to 4.5 billion years

        • nick

          and solar doesn’t produce enough for its size and prize

      • Zac

        Woah man too much RAGE!!!
        calm down… Nuclear Power isn’t that bad… there only has been a few recorded disasters. Plus it is one of the most efficient ways to produce electricity… Also the most harmful of all nuclear wastes can be turned into solid relatively harmless blocks stored deep inside the earth.

      • James Watts

        80 years is only an estimate. When you factor in improvements made to surveying techniques and the development of new technologies this number is expected to increase. Also, directly mining Uranium is not the only source we can use. There are a long list of secondary sources we can use such as nuclear stockpiles and dismantled war heads.

        Nuclear energy is a practical solution to many of the problems posed by fossil fuels but of course it will not completely replace fossil fuels. There is no alternative energy source that will completely replace fossil fuels because they are the cheapest choice as of now; of course excluding environmental impact.

        Fusion offers the potential for basically an inexhaustible source of energy. Although it is not expected to be ready for 50-100 years it holds the most promise for nuclear energy. It is a clean source of energy and would be cost effective. I strongly disagree that wind and solar have a higher chance at being able to meet our needs over nuclear energy. They just are not that effective on their own. If we want to stop using fossil fuels it will likely contain a nuclear component, along with wind and solar. Dicktard.

      • idek

        What a nuclear fusion? That can use deuterium particles for the ocean. 1/6500 particles in the ocean are deuterium, so we have a practically infinite source of energy when nuclear fusion energy is made to be able to produce energy on a large scale.

      • Ben

        Grea news this didnt help at all

    • bpb

      exactly

    • Josh

      Fuck your couch….

  • Bob

    why are there so many more cons then pros?????? <3

    • Mathius

      Because of the risks of the U-235 and the risks of terrorists targeting nuclear energy plants.

      • que

        It's not the simple. Sure terrorists could try to hit a nuclear power plant with a plane, but it wouldn't do much. The reason the WTC buildings fell was due to fires, not the actual plane crashes. On the hand when one of the hijacked planes hit the pentagon all that happened was that you saw a small dome-shaped hole in the concrete wall. Put yourself in the shoes of a terrorist. First of all you would not be looking for any large towers or out of place pentagon shaped buildings. What you would most likely see would be a cooling tower. Feel free to crash into a cooling tower, it will not do much if anything. Where the nuclear reactor is actually stored would be in the containment dome which is a thick dome figured concrete compound, even if you were to hit it all you would see like with the pentagon example the plane exploding with the minimal damage to the actual concrete structure.

        • Toadssalsa

          If you wereto crash into a cooling tower, What would cool the reactor? Good luck with your overheating.

        • travis

          they could just build a couple of underground backups

        • bpb

          How do you know what a terrorist would do…..

    • johnathon mcdaniel

      nuclear energy has so many more cons than pros because n reality unless you have a good enove cooling system the fision process is very unstable and just measing with uranium-235 can kill you and if that dose not explain it imagine puting a block of c4 in your mouth and ou body is a city then it explodes.

      • Guest

        Sorry, I became disturbed by your ignorance. I can hardly read your comments, and in addition, many of the points you have made are wrong. I have to ask you this:
        Are you trolling us?
        actually?

    • http://youtu.be/P9M__yYbsZ4 Alasdair Lumsden

      Because the article was written by someone with a pro-renewable anti-nuclear bias.

  • scott

    Thanks you for this valuable bit of information, it really helps us students.

    • mitt rot-ney

      scoot da poot!! :D lol you are scott, right?

  • @mi

    i think we just too lazy to replace everything with solar stuff. we have the technology to do it.

    • UR DUMB

      Except solar energy is not available 24/7.. so unless ur willing to explain to every1 why they cant have electricty when its dark out go ahead.. or u cood not be dumb

      • Jen

        Solar is not available 24/7 but in the right areas, wind is there all the time all year round. And with solar the area under the panels can not be used but with wind you can use almost 100% of the area around it. You do that math.

    • bpb

      if we replaced everything with “solar stuff” we would have the entire earth covered with solar panels.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Dude

        I would laugh (not really) if the world becomes completely dark and all those solar panels are not going to work.

      • Meh

        that would look cool

        • Hugu

          Half the time it’s cloudy anyways. . .

        • D. Best

          proper enlish is anyway not “anyways”

      • awesome

        You’re so dumb, you only need 0.1 % of the U.S.s land to provide enough energy for the U.S.

        • eatmedrinkme

          too bad we’re on shitty terms with china which is the only country to find the key material in making a solar panel and you didn’t check your sources to find out what you said isn’t true you stupid fucking retarded bitch asshole

    • D. Best

      We don’t have the tech to do it that would only power a miniscule part of the need that the world has for energy

    • Guest001

      actually, while we do have the technology, it is not yet efficient enough to affectively and reasonably provide power from solar panels as an independent energy source.

  • Lalainia Bryant

    Thanks for this post! I really needed it to complete my project on the positives of nuclear energy. It helped a lot, BUT I need an author name. I have to cite this site in order to finished my annotated bibliography.

  • gus

    1. For how long will nuclear power be available? Present reactors that use only the U-235 in natural uranium are very likely good for some hundreds of years. Bernard Cohen has shown that with breeder reactors, we can have plenty of energy for some billions of year.
    Cohen's argument is based on using uranium from sea water. Other people have pointed out that there is more energy in the uranium impurity in coal than could come from burning the coal. There is also plenty of uranium in granite. None of these sources is likely to be used in the next thousand years, because there is plenty of much more cheaply extracted uranium in conventional uranium ores.

  • someguy
  • Evan

    High risk? Terrorist attack? If any of you who say high risk is a factor coal power plants cause 28,000 deaths a year. Guess how many deaths have been caused by nuclear power total approximatively 3,000. And if you guys would wake up to relize there are no terrorists and that its just the government than you would have a much better understanding. Nuclear power is the most efficient, but do you think that multi billion dollar corporations will just allow the world to switch to nuclear power?! No!! The only 2 viable sources of energy are nuclear and geothermal. Every one is arguing about the dangers of nuclear power go research how many deaths have been caused by fossil fuel plants do it or your being very biased. BTW no one should be calling anyone else stupid opinions are what make the world go round :)

    • johnathon mcdaniel

      take a look at Iraq what are they we have troops their to stop terrorist

    • Dtubs

      shut up

    • Yes

      Dude, you make a strong point. However, you don’t do so in a very efficient way. Also, I don’t really mean to be a grammar Nazi but… Approximately, not approximatively. Realize, not relize.

  • Evan

    BTW this site is suuuuuuuper bias “unkown risks” haha and takes away money from renewable energy systems wow lolol

  • Pingback: The nuclear vs renewable energy debate – an investigation | walu2

  • Cheralyne

    Everyone is entitled to their own oppinions. Relax if someone doesnt believe in yours, not everyone always will. I appreciated this site for having contained all the information that it does. It was very informative for me :)

  • bobby

    not nuclear!

    • Lalaland360

      why not?

  • DIZI WIZI :D

    lol i only need this info for work and let the government decide all this ok dont go ahead of yourself.NOTE: owned by a primRY SCHOOL KID

  • Shelly

    Wow … I have never read so many comments by so many small minded people. In order for a single solar energy plant to be able to produce as much electricity as a nuclear plant it would have to be the size of half of Texas. Additionally, since the sun isn’t available for all 24 hours then the plant would not be operational for half a day at a time. Oh, and lets not bring into account overcast days. Wind energy you say? Ha! What a joke, it has roughly the same land requirement and even on the best of days your only going to get about 10 hours worth. Everyone wants an instant solution now to our problems. How about we take it a step at a time? We’ve done fossil, now it is almost depleted. Next step is nuclear as until something better evolves. BTW … solar power isn’t the final answer either since it will eventually burn out also. Nothing is permanent, everything is fleeting.

    • bpb

      how does solar power burn out?

      • Kinkfixer

        the sun will in like 70 gazillion years

        but we’d be dead (poo)      ;(

        • Lashbrooknoah

           ture but we will find more planets to live on
           

        • Sixmexicans

          Actually, it’s going to burn out in 5 billion years.

        • Sixmexicans

          Scratch what I said. It’ll basically EXPLODE in ABOUT 5 billion years.

        • Sixmexicans

          But Earth would be inhabitable in ABOUT 5 billion years because the Earth would be to hot to live on. All water will boil and life will ceased to exist.

        • Sixmexicans

          I mean, uninhabitable in ABOUT 2 billion – 3 billion years. I’m making mistakes left and right.

    • Sab

      Shelly your calling everyone small minded, yet your not stating all the facts on solar energy. Solar energy and wind power will not eventually burn out, how can you make assumptions like that. We all know that the sun isn’t available 24 hours. Your right about it be operational for about a half a day. But do you realize that solar power and wind power, do not cause pollution. And by using wind and solar energy, we wont be relying on fossil fuels. I can’t understand why so many of you are for nuclear energy. It is far more dangerous and costly.

      • Thatguy

        Sab if you have not realised yet solar and wind power will not be a suitable means of power in the future. The population of the world will increase therefore using more electricity. There are new better ideas for electricity, it may not be the nuclear power plants right now which use nuclear fission but future ideas involve the idea of nuclear fusion. It is significantly more efficient and safer and I believe it is the way to go.

        • D. Best

          correction “realized”

    • Rob

      Finally some one who understands that solar power will eventually be useless.

    • AeroEng89

      Agreed. IMHO solar power is a secondary power source and will always be one.

  • HopeforAmerica

    Another CON on Nuclear is that it requires an extremely precious natural resource; WATER. Moreover, clean and Safe water will become even more precious as we face climate change. Insurance companies long ago refused to insure Nuclear Power plants, and that’s we the Taxpayers on the hook. All in All, the cons of nuclear power far out way any benefit.

  • Jessica Sup

    Is nuclear energy someting you would like to see in our everyday lives? Why or why not???

  • Hi

    hi

  • Dtubs

    guys lets all just love each other and get along <3

  • Poop

    boob is a funny word hehe :)

  • Earth Lover

    People need to reduce their use of electricity and develop products, renewable energy sources and buildings that provide the most efficient use of energy and raw materials.  Nuclear energy is at best a short term solution.  Nuclear energy is not ‘green’ nor renewable energy.  Everything from the mining of the uranium, to the manufacturing process, to the unaswered question of what to do with the toxic nuclear waste that lasts for centuries is questionable and alarming. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redistribute……..  It can be done.  The question is…..do we have folks insightful and intelligent enough to do it???? 

    • Kinkfixer

      shoot it into space (-.-)

      • Cool Kid

        My thoughts exactly.

      • MEH

        If only building a rocket or some sort of proectile to launch it into space was affordable, =_= WHAT IS ALIENS FIND IT AND GETS PISSED OFF THEN TRACE IT BACK TO US WHAT WILL WE DO THEN?

        • Amanda

          RUN LIKE HELL

      • Matt

        There was an international ban on that.

      • Jaume

        I agree but that would still cost a lot

      • Hi

        that would be nice

    • GrumpyEngineer

      Burner reactors reduce nuclear waste half-life. Uranium/thorium sources (when reburning) are predicted to last on the order of billions of years. That sounds renewable to me.

  • Brahculah

    brahculah was here.

    • Icetalonwolfgirl

      Is it just me or is the ‘cons’ list a lot bigger then the ‘pros’ list? O.o

      • IKR

        I HAVE REALISED THAT AND i RECKON THE PERSON WHO MADE THIS IS BIAS, it is flawed.

      • Ponyobsession

        it is

    • Deathleader

      WTF!?!?!

  • Houwmana

    dood thats awesome man!

  • Kinkfixer

    the sun will burn out in like 70 gazillion years

    but we’d be dead (poo)      ;(

    • Ponyobsession

      hahaha

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  • Xaereph

    PROS
    * Lower carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) released into theatmosphere in power generation.* Low operating costs (relatively).* Known, developed technology “ready” for market.* Large power-generating capacity able to meet industrial and city needs (as opposed to low-power technologies like solar that might meet only local, residential, or office needs but cannot generate power for heavy manufacturing).* Existing and future nuclear waste can be reduced through waste recycling and reprocessing, similar to Japan and the EU (at added cost).
    CONS
    * High construction costs due to complex radiation containment systems and procedures.* High subsidies needed for construction and operation, as well as loan guarantees.* Subsidies and investment could be spent on other solutions (such as renewable energy systems).* High-known risks in an accident.* Unknown risks.* Long construction time.* Target for terrorism (as are all centralized power generation sources).* Waivers are required to limit liability of companies in the event of an accident. (This means that either no one will be responsible for physical, environmental, or health damages in the case of an accident or leakage over time from waste storage, or that the government will ultimately have to cover the cost of any damages.)* Nuclear is a centralized power source requiring large infrastructure, investment, and coordination where decentralized sources (including solar and wind) can be more efficient, less costly, and more resilient.* Uranium sources are just as finite as other fuel sources, such as coal, natural gas, etc., and are expensive to mine, refine, and transport, and produce considerable environmental waste (including greenhouse gasses) during all of these processes.* The majority of known uranium around the world lies under land controlled by tribes or indigenous peoples who don’t support it being mined from the earth.* The legacy of environmental contamination and health costs for miners and mines has been catastrophic.* Waste lasts 200 – 500 thousand years.* There are no operating long-term waste storage sites in the U.S. One is in development, but its capacity is already oversubscribed. Yucca Mountain is in danger of contaminating ground water to a large water basin, affecting millions of people. It’s difficult, if not impossible, for the U.S. to impose its will on the state of Nevada (or other places) if they don’t want to host long-term storage of waste.* There are no operating “next generation” reactors, such as high-temperature breeder reactors and particle-beam activated reactors, that are reported to produce less waste and have reduced safety concerns. Even if these technologies were ready, they wouldn’t be deployable commercially for another two decades.* Shipping nuclear waste internationally poses an increased potential threat to interception to terrorism (though this has not happened yet with any of the waste shipped by other countries). Increasing the amount of waste shipped, particularly in less secure countries, is seen as a significant increase in risk to nuclear terrorism.

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  • Brooklyngoodsel

    You people make no sense.  You are ALL biased because the cons can outweigh the pros.  Stupid Nitwits. 

  • Idg

    omg

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  • Albonia

    The author is obviously anti-nuclear and obviously favors renewable energy. In my opinion, this is a heavily biased article that I can punch so many holes in.

    “Known developed technology ready for market.” It’s been ready for over 60 years. Get with the times.

    “Subsidies and investment could be spent on other solutions (such as renewable energy systems).” Guess what? The vice versa can be said with renewable energy! The stuff could be spent on nuclear energy instead of renewable energy! Again, obvious opinionated article.

    “High-known risks in an accident.” The risk of a meltdown, even a partial one, is extremely low. If you’ve ever researched the safety features that are included in a reactor, you would know how low the probability is. Sure we know about Chernobyl, Fukushima, TMI, but guess what? The extensive coverage of such accidents was distorted heavily by the mass media and distorted even further by the ignorant population that believed them. You would not believe how anti-nuclear the media is. Especially ABC.

    “Target for terrorism (as are all centralized power generation sources).” This is blatantly false. Not only has a terrorist never attempted to blow up a nuclear power plant, there is, a) no evidence that a terrorist group is plotting to blow up one, and b) a terrorist would never attempt to do such a thing. The reasons are simple if you DO YOUR RESEARCH. Any car bomb wouldn’t work, as the several meters of concrete separating the reactor core from the outside world would protect it from such an explosion. It is also extremely difficult, even for experienced pilots, to fly an airplane, especially one as large as a 747, at a very low altitude (100-500 feet), and even more difficult to crash it into the reactor. This is not video games or Hollywood, this is real life.

    “Uranium sources are just as finite as other fuel sources, such as coal,
    natural gas, etc., and are expensive to mine, refine, and transport, and
    produce considerable environmental waste (including greenhouse gasses)
    during all of these processes.” It is true that the uranium mining process produces greenhouse gas emissions, but then again, so does the process of creating renewable solar panels and wind turbines. It is DEFINITELY NOT TRUE that uranium is “just as” finite as dead plants. While coal, NG, and petroleum are bound to rise and decline, much of the uranium has not been mined and lots more have not been discovered. Uranium is expected to last for centuries before it is exhausted, and if we still don’t have commercialized fusion plants by the year 2300, then humanity might as well self-destruct.

    “Waste lasts 200 – 500 thousand years.” The author obviously chose the isotope, Tc-99 that has a half-life that lasts the longest  by far and stretches out the half-life. In fact, the isotope has a half-life of 211,000 years, so don’t try to stretch it out to 500,000 years. And by the 200,000 year mark, the danger has (likely much earlier) long passed due to the fact that radioactivity decreases with time. While the statement is true, it is highly misleading.

    “There are no operating “next generation” reactors, such as
    high-temperature breeder reactors and particle-beam activated reactors,
    that are reported to produce less waste and have reduced safety
    concerns. Even if these technologies were ready, they wouldn’t be
    deployable commercially for another two decades.” It isn’t a con that a next-gen technology isn’t ready to deploy yet. Likewise, it isn’t a con that Toyota is researching an all-EV car, but is still in the development phase.

    “Shipping nuclear waste internationally poses an increased potential
    threat to interception to terrorism (though this has not happened yet
    with any of the waste shipped by other countries). Increasing the amount
    of waste shipped, particularly in less secure countries, is seen as a
    significant increase in risk to nuclear terrorism.” What is the goal of terrorists? To cause terror, and ultimately bring down civilization. What can a terrorist do with nuclear waste that cannot be used in nuclear weapons? Only Plutonium and Uranium are feasible in nuclear weapons, and uranium is not a waste product. Pu-239 is, but it has been shown that it can be used as nuclear fuel itself. It isn’t waste, it is unused fuel.

    While any energy source has its risks, including nuclear energy and renewable energy, the person who created this article obviously needs to go do some more research on nuclear reactors, especially the safety features. Now, I’m not arguing for nuclear energy in this comment, but I am defending nuclear energy against blatantly false and misleading attacks that anti-nuclear groups, especially the ignorant Greenpeace, tend to use.

    • lololaahaha

      I agree with your terrorist thing, but your reasons are horrible. And get a life. and a also aren’t you a bit biased yourself?

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  • Frank the Horse

    You biased person

  • Frank the Horse

    mwahehehehe

  • taylorae

    i can actully have an idea of what to say for avid

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  • guitarguurrrl69

    #swaaaggg #yolo

  • billnye69

    i think we shoul all just live in rainbow land we can have all the magic power in the world

  • Alysa

    leave this person alone he or she helped me with my homework this persons smart he said everything i learned in science

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  • des

    Why are humans so prone to insult each other? Read over some of the comments.

  • carlos

    all of this stuff is really stupid
    god is good

  • carlos

    god is good

  • george bush

    god really is good
    lets go jesus

  • Troll face >:D

    Maybe your all motherfucking dumbasses?

  • kristi

    you guys are nerdyy

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  • ddd

    the atmosphere not theatmosphere

  • Cameron

    Awesome info!

  • Jaume

    solar energy is expensive because of the manufacturing costs of
    the silicon crystals.
    also alternative metals don’t work as well

  • schuyler schrader

    This is just another person ragging on Nuclear Energy and making it look bad with a long list of cons. its not bad people, literally almost no waste and high potential to power the world, come on!

  • blah blah

    very helpful.
    it’s a shame what we do to our environment!

  • Hazel

    I am completely against nuclear power. i think it is nothing but trouble and should have no pros.

    • ab0032

      But instead the cons listed here are vage and fuzzy like “has been catastrophic” hence more emotional than factual or simply wrong.
      Trouble is it has a good deal of pros, some not even listed here, like nuclear has saved 1.8 mio lives by air pollution prevented. So why dont you face reality? Are you one of the “I dont like gravity” kind of guys?

    • Amber

      same.

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  • Tribble32

    is there some where i can find pros any where for a report

  • ab0032

    Most of the cons are nonsense. If the USA would go nuclear it would have to build thousands of nuclear power plants, how can you call that centralized?
    Known uranium resources that can produces uranium at low costs last 1 billion years, with breeding 100 billion years.
    The cons are just the standard greenpeace lies. It is important that people are educated about the current real risks, about the much improved safety of new generation NPPs. People need to know that the mercury in energy saving light bulbs harms people more than the radiation in Fukushima.
    “High risks” “Unknown risks” What kind of arguments are these? Vague and fuzzy emotional arguments? Can you quantify them? Like Chernobyl had 50 deaths. Of course that is a high risk, but if you put that in relation to the energy produced you find all of a sudden, that nuclear is by far the safest and cleanest of all known energy forms, that solar and wind have 10 or 100 times higher risks of killing someone and more pollution. Hydro and liquefied gas are the greatest killers, even before coal, but do environmentalists care? No. And that even though Hydro and biomass energy destroys the most nature of all.
    It is a real pity people know so little about energy. People dont know that in the production of PV nitrous trifluoride is released, which is a 17,200 times stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, thus completely defeating PV. People dont know that radioactive tailings are produced in the production process of neodynium for windmills, and that neodynium is therefore no longer produced in the USA. People dont know that coal plants blow out and release radon, thorium and uranium in large quantities, About 800.000 tonnes uranium globally and 2 mio tonnes thorium.

    “High construction costs”, “high subsidies” Unquantified. Nuclear is much cheaper than wind or PV and for wind and solar greens always argue, yes the costs high, but we have to bear them for the sake of the environment. And costs are only so high, because safety standards have been forced to absurd levels by greens. Wind and PV could never reach the zero death requirement that nuclear has to fulfill.

    “Money could be spent on other energies” Why would anyone in his right mind want to spend money on something else where he would either get less energy, prevent less CO2, cause more deaths and more pollution? Yes, you can always do something else, but this is not an argument, at least not a rational argument.

    “Long construction time” Mainly caused by opponents that go to court and have forced security standards to absurd levels. If we reduced safety standards to those applied to wind and PV, a nuclear power plant could easily be build in the same time needed to build a conventional coal or gas plant. Micro NPPs like the Toshiba 4S could even be mass produced on an assembly line like cars.

    “Target for terrorism” That also applies to other things like hydro, but modern micro plants can be underground so that even an airplane crash would not harm the reactor.

    Nonsense, nonsense nonsense. “The majority of uranium lies under tribal land” No the majority of known uranium is in the oceans. And even on land this is nonsense. Who makes up all this?

    “Waste lasts 200 – 500 thousand years.”, “There are no operating long-term waste storage sites” Greens always want to recycle everything, just for nuclear they prevent recycling? Why? Because they know that if you recycle fuel rods, you dont have a waste problem and they lose an argument against nuclear.

    “There are no operating “next generation” reactors, such as high-temperature breeder reactors” False, the Germans build one, that never went into operation, because the criminal environmentalists prevented it, but the chinese have build a licenced copy in Beijing. The even did the “chernobyl experiment” they ran it to full power and turned off all safety and cooling systems and watched what happened. As designed by the german engineers, temperature rose over a couple of days and then the system stabilized 1000degrees celsius below where any structural damage could occur. So of course the first jets had construction mistakes and crashed, but we learned and build better jets. We know what the errors in the construction of Chernobyl and the 1950s design in Fukushima are. These things are preventable, once you know more. And we do know more now.

    “There are no operating “next generation” reactors, such as high-temperature breeder reactors” Yes, what are they going to do? Take the large castors and load them on a small rowboat? Open the castors and die of radiation? This is something completely unrealistic, something for a Hollywood catastrophe movie. It is much simpler to get the stuff elsewhere.

    So all this is bunk. But what is good and reaffirming, is that we are now finally entering the nuclear age. Not the USA, but humanity. China, South Korea, Brasil, Russia, India are all active. In the end America will even buy NPPs from China. They have brought costs down and are now enetering the export phase. Good that greenpeace has no influence there to prevent the cleanest and safest energy of all.

    • ab0032

      Sorry, last one should have been “Shipping nuclear waste internationally poses an increased potential threat to interception to terrorism” that was a copy and paste error.

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  • steven

    im a student and I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about nuclear energy pros and cons

  • Seth

    What about the poisoning of trees with gas from cars.

  • asdf

    There is a grammar error in the first bullet in the pro section. The first pro says theatmosphere when it should correctly say the atmosphere.

  • asdf

    There is a grammar error in the first bullet in the pro section. The first pro says theatmosphere when it should correctly say the atmosphere.

  • brandon

    I can safely say that a terrorist probably WILL do that

  • Amber

    Nuclear Energy is fairly clean for years but after it becomes Nuclear Waste which results as a huge harm and damage to Earth for… Forever. Has anyone ever thought of how to handle it when it gets very bad? What will we do?
    Yes, there are advantages but most importantly, the disadvantages… What will it do to Earth? We have to keep in thought that our future DOES count. There must be better ways than that.

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  • anonymous

    You need to put a space on the section of “Pros”. >”theatmosphere”.
    Its the first sentence.

    • NotAnonymous

      I AGREE!!!

      • BarackObamaz

        IM GOING TO HACK U

        • DOGE

          THERE IS A WONDERFUL DISCOUNT OF GOGURTS AND WALMART.
          WOW.
          SUCH GOGURT.
          VERY MONEY SAVING.
          SUCH SPAM.

        • Hi

          why r u printing wit caps locs on

  • bob

    suck a dick

    • Bob

      Poppies u have no life

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  • josh

    you spelt “the atmosphere” wrong

    • Guest

      Don’t be a dick, man. He has a point, asshole.

  • lucas

    “”(and other greenhouse gases) released into theatmosphere in power generation.”" they spelled “the atmosphere” as one word. needs to be fixed.

  • johnchase

    that would be good if it was good for you

  • plasmataco

    we need to start protecting these stuff cause once world war 3 starts, they will be the targets.

  • john chase

    it would be good if it didn’t kill us in 2.4 seconds

  • mannaman

    theatmosphere

  • mannaman

    nucular power is safe

    • monomann

      supr sfe

      • Hi

        excuse me what did u say

  • Barrack Obama

    Do not worry America. I will assure you all, Nuclear power is very safe, and we will not be attacked by terrorists.
    God Bless America.

  • Kim Jong Un

    I LIEK NUCULAR.
    IMMA NUKE U ALL

    • KIm Jong Il

      You’re doing a very good job son.

  • Lucifer Satanica

    When it leaks, I’ll be seeing y’all soon

    • Dean Winchester

      No you won’t because you’re trapped in hell

      • Adam Milligan

        Remember me, the one you “accidentally” trapped in hell? Well ya, I’m still there…

        • Sam Winchester

          Oh shit

        • John Winchester

          I’m also still in hell

        • Dean Winchester

          Sorry Dad

        • Castiel

          lol

  • swag

    wot if da terroists bomb us wit da bombs

  • Seymour Butts

    Alright, let me end the comments argument for you chucklenuts since you can’t seem come to a conclusion by showing the pros and cons of the most oft mentioned here in the comments.

    Coal and Oil: Fucking awful in the worst ways imaginable. They pose security, environmental and health risks at every step in their operation. They’re cheap, but that won’t matter when people are calling to ask why coal ash is in the river. Less than a century of oil left, about 4 centuries of coal.

    Geothermal: This would be ideal, but it only works in places with a lot of tectonic activity, like Hawaii and Iceland. Otherwise is hard to beat.

    Wind/Solar: Expensive as hell and don’t generate alot of power, but definitely have their niche uses. Solar can lower demand spikes by producing the most power on the days when the most power is used (hot, sunny days when people run the AC). Like geothermal, it depends alot on the area.

    Nuclear: The crowning mother of expenses, nuclear is the blunt force of power generation for things like super-heavy industrial use or large cities. It’s quite dangerous, but thanks to obviousness of the danger, precautions are taken. In pure numbers, there have been more coal power accidents than nuclear.

    Fusion: I’ll get back to you in twenty years. Depending on reactor design, there may not be enough Helium-3 fuel on earth to supply it.

    More to come if anyone wants.

  • Hi

    this list was nice

  • Tarzan

    I’d like to point out that so many people equate nuclear power plants with nuclear bombs. This is erroneous. Nuclear bombs are enriched to at least 90% while nuclear plants enrich uranium to about 3-5%. Also, some say that terrorists may target nuclear plants to cause widespread damage; however, in reality, during the cold war, neither Russia nor the US targeted one another’s nuclear facilities because they knew it would not amount to anything.

  • dan

    suck my dick

  • dan

    seriusly come to my house at 145 little hill rd

  • dan

    please

  • dan

    it will be fun