Is Nuclear Power The One And Only To Help Our Climate?
Climate change is knocking at our door.
Every year, the World listens to the same urgent advice. We need to decrease greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere. More than ever, we need sustainable solutions. The search for clean energy became mandatory, and nuclear power showed up as a solution. Yet, it can be a climate change contributor in disguise.
There are several reasons why we should place nuclear power aside and consider other solutions that meet our energy needs. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima proved us how unsafe nuclear power can be. However, nuclear power can create vast amounts of energy without carbon emissions. Needless to say, there are several disagreements between environmentalists about this topic.
Is it the wisest choice?
Time, money and CO2
Imagine you want to build a nuclear plant. The production of hundreds of thousands of steel and concrete you need will produce about 79.000 and 180.000 tons of CO2, respectively. You will also realize how expensive is its construction and maintenance. You may need to invest up to $2 billion.
However, once the payment and material are ready and set to go, you still have to wait a long time for its completion.
Any nuclear plant needs different studies on water supplies, earthquake zones, and neighborhood. Such studies are time-consuming. In addition, the average construction time of 441 reactors that exist today was 7,5 years. The design and approval time is not included and may double the waiting process.
It definitely takes time, money, and energy to build such a complex structure. Once it's done and ready to work, other concerns arise.
Consider the impact of uranium as a fuel source. Uranium requires delicate maneuver and is extremely radioactive. It is also dangerous in the wrong hands. Even if uranium is carefully taken care of, it still has to go through some expensive processes. It has to be mined, synthesized, and activated to produce energy.
Most importantly, it is a limited supply which may be eventually "out of stock."
Making the right choice while time is ticking
In a World where sailing pass 1.5°C in global temperatures will decide how human species can live, finding solutions is at the top of the list. Yes, time is ticking and this is the final call. However, it's important to be smarter about how we can solve our climate's issue. Other sustainable solutions may be better in the long-term. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power have an infinite supply. They also require fewer investments to build.
The wisest thing to do may be to keep the investment needed for a nuclear plant. Choosing safer and less demanding solutions may be the right path to follow, towards sustainability.
Keywords: nuclear power, clean energy, climate change, sustainability