Nuclear Power: An Alternative To Fossil Fuels

2216 Words 9 Pages
Humanity is in a race against time as the threat of global warming looms on the horizon. To prevent catastrophe, the nations of the world must focus on decreasing their carbon dioxide output by as much as possible. While agriculture and industrial processes have a high carbon footprint, fossil fuels are by far the biggest contributor to anthropogenic global warming. Therefore, the best way to mitigate the problem is to replace coal and oil with cleaner sources of energy. Solar and wind power are among the most commonly cited solutions, but there is another alternative. Nuclear power, an emission-free and efficient source of energy, should be strongly considered as an alternative to fossil fuels. Nuclear power is often unfairly maligned and …show more content…
For example, many people believe that nuclear reactors are like atomic bombs, just waiting for the right moment to go off. The image of a nuclear meltdown leveling an entire city is a powerful one. It 's also a myth. Even the most catastrophic meltdown will only result in some radiation being released into the atmosphere, and almost all nuclear plants are built to prevent such a leak from ever happening. Of course, not all arguments against nuclear power are that ignorant. Some are entirely legitimate. For example, the argument that fission reactors produce highly radioactive waste that lasts for a very long time. This is true. However, the amount of waste produced is fairly small, and all of it is stored safely away inside the plant (Lynas 95-96). Most countries have a way of safely storing large amounts of nuclear waste, but unfortunately, such a project never took off in America due to politics and anti-nuclear …show more content…
The truth is, people are already exposed to lots of radiation just from sunlight alone. That 's because the Sun, like all stars, is just a gigantic fusion reactor. On average, people receive about 2 to 3 millisieverts (mSv) a year from background solar radiation, as well as from medical equipment. Living next to a power plant will increase that by only 1 mSv per year. An airport scanner gives up to 0.00005 mSv per scan. Eating a banana, which is high in potassium, adds about 0.0001 mSv (Lynas 72-73). Nuclear plants are estimated to have only increased background radiation by 0.001 mSV. In fact, coal plants release more radiation than nuclear plants

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