Nuclear Energy And Its Status In The US

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Introduction        

Nuclear energy is energy used in making of military weapons and generation of electricity. This form of energy is generated from either nuclear fission or fusion. Today, the United States is one of the industrialized countries with a highly developed nuclear energy sector.

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Initially, the country used nuclear energy to make military weapons. However, today, a significant proportion of electricity used in the country is generated from nuclear energy. Nevertheless, the kind of energy has its benefits and its disadvantages. As a source of electricity, nuclear energy provides sufficient base load energy for power grids. On the contrary the nuclear energy industry is filled with secrets that may pave a way for illegal trade that will compromise the safety of Americans. The primary aim of this essay is to evaluate the status, pros and cons of the nuclear energy in the United States.

Status of Nuclear Energy in the US        

The increasing demand for electricity and fluctuating prices and coal and natural gas in the United States accounted for extensive use of nuclear energy as from the late 1950s. Between mid and late 1880s, the Americans embarked on exploiting technological developments to generate electricity for the increasing domestic and industrial customers. As electrification extended from major cities to other parts of the country, demand for electricity increased. As such, production depended on coal, hydropower resources, oil, and gas for peak-time generation (Stoker & Baker). As from the 1950s, increasing population and high rates of industrialization increased the demand for electricity significantly. On the contrary, the United States gas producers reverted to less demanding conventional reserves as the country’s gas reserves were located in shale rocks that were hard to reach. With the falling production of natural gas, their prices became unstable and price of electricity increased. Additionally, increasing prices of coal increased the price of electricity; paving a way for the development and high use of nuclear power (Stoker & Baker).        

The late 1950s marked the beginning of commercial production of electricity from nuclear energy in the United States. Early in the 1950s, the Atomic Energy Commission embarked on proving that nuclear energy was not only for making military weapons, but also other uses (Stoker & Baker). In 1953, the AEC introduced the civil nuclear power program that also enabled access to the country’s nuclear fuels. Between 1957 and 1963, both the General Electric and Westinghouse adopted the use of light water reactor technology to generate electricity. With the increased competition between the two companies, General Electric developed the Boiled Water Reactor technology and used the resulting steam to turbines that generated electricity. As a result, AEC began to export nuclear reactors from France and Germany to continue with the production of electricity from nuclear energy (Stoker &

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