Should We Use Nuclear Power as a Main Source of Energy

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On April 20, 2010, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was watched by every nation as barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. This spill in particular was caused by a rush of natural gas that burst through the recently poured concrete which was used to seal off the oil well for later use. This caused the ignition of the rig (Pallardy).

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Eleven workers were killed and seventeen were injured. An estimation of the amount of oil that leaked into the gulf is four million nine hundred thousand barrels, polluting one thousand miles of shoreline (Pallardy).The Chernobyl accident of April 26, 1986 occurred in a similar fashion. According to Greenfacts, a routine test one of the four nuclear reactor’s electric control systems caused a power surge. This caused nuclear fuel to overheat which then as a consequence, caused steam explosions, destroying the unit four reactor and building (Chernobyl).

These explosions caused fires to spread along the roof of the machine halls as nuclear material came in contact with combustible gases (Chernobyl). Fires burned for ten days and large amounts of nuclear material was released (Chernobyl). It has been estimated that around three hundred and forty thousand people had to be relocated after the accident and one thousand first responders received the greatest amount of radiation (Chernobyl).In the process of obtaining both nuclear and fossil fueled energy, both present their own unique opportunities for danger. Supporters of power supplied by fossil fuels state that the investment and construction costs of nuclear power facilities are too high. Additionally, that the nuclear material produced by the process of nuclear fission-the splitting of an atom and the collection of the energy released, poses too great of a threat to civilians living near nuclear plants and a threat posed by terrorists who could potentially gain access to the nuclear material. Those who advocate the use of nuclear power emphasize the negative effects the burning of fossil fuels has on the environment as well as the danger of running out of the nonrenewable resource. Fossil fuel consumption has increased and nuclear power plants are reaching the age of retirement, and as of now, there are no new plans to build new facilities. This is where conflict seems to arise. Should countries continue to use fossil fuels as their main source of energy or resort to nuclear power generation?Ben Heard, a prominent advocate of nuclear power and an Australian environmentalist offers nuclear power as a realistic solution to climate change with todays’ technology (Scientists).

The basis of his argument is the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which started to increase when the industrial revolution began and it is in proportion with the burning of fossil fuels (History).

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