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The nuclear power debate centers on countries accessing and using nuclear power energy to power generate electricity. This debate about nuclear power has been going on for decades now with some controversial statements on why or why not countries should be empowered to access nuclear power. This is because nuclear energy produces almost zero pollution as opposed to many viable alternatives like using fossil fuel. The risk associated with storing nuclear power wastes is virtually a smaller component that can be greatly reduced by using the latest technology in nuclear reactors (Brook & Lowe 2010). As a proponent of global access to nuclear energy, this paper will argue that nuclear power is a clean and sustainable energy which can greatly increase energy security across the globe.
Why Nuclear Energy
The concerted UN meeting dubbed Sustainable Energy for All Initiative noted that energy is a golden thread that spurs economic growth and allows the world to thrive. The UN calls for efforts to ensure countries are empowered towards accessing sustainable energy (UN.The Secretary-General's High-Level Group 2012). This goes in hand with UN’s sustainable development goal number 7, which is affordable and clean energy, and for the UN to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The UN predicts that if developing countries around the world used nuclear energy, then most of its population will be lifted from poverty. Most of these countries as a result of using nuclear energy will be able to achieve their Millennium Development Goals and lift millions of their people from poverty by empowering them with safe, reliable and pollution free energy (MDGs) (Dickson 2006).
What other better ways to empower the global population than letting them enjoy the benefits that come with using nuclear power? The debate on the use of nuclear power has two opposing camps in respect to whether the international community should push for global access to nuclear power. At the center of this debate are different views of risks and benefits associated with the use of nuclear power by willing countries around the world. A number of questions that will help us ascertain whether using nuclear power is safe include whether it is reliable, safe and pollutant, and whether it is a renewable source of energy. Although opponents like Arnold (2015) argue against the use of nuclear power, they seem to agree on the positives of nuclear power; its lack of greenhouse gas emissions, efficiency, and reliability. There are a number of answers that response the above questions and which articulate the reasons why the international community should say “yes” for a global access to nuclear power (Brook & Lowe 2010). The following are some of the arguments in favor of nuclear power push for countries.
Nuclear power is listed as a renewable resource. Although some opponents argue correctly that use of uranium fuel is limited and will run out one day, technological advancement has ensured that by using fusion reactors and a breeder, it is possible to produce other fissionable elements that can work as uranium in powering the nuclear plant. An example is plutonium. Plutonium is produced as a byproduct of the chain-reactions (McLeish 2007).
Nuclear power is definitely more proficient than using fossil fuels. Nuclear energy innovations have proved to be more feasible than using fossil fuel with the high energy density. Scientists have calculated that the amount of energy required by nuclear power plants is way less than the one required by fossil fuel atoms for fission; it is about 10 million times greater than that required by fossil fuel atoms. This is one of the reasons why the international community should push for global access to nuclear power as it does not rely on fossil fuel and does not require gas and oil fluctuating costs. This is unlike fossil fuels and coal that discharge carbon dioxide into the air causing unprecedented environmental degradation. With nuclear power plants, emissions of carbon and related gases are inconsequential (Conservative Energy Future n.d.).
According to the World Nuclear Association, use of nuclear power is generally safe. Since inception of nuclear power use, 32 countries are currently using it and only three major accidents have been reported. The World Nuclear Association requires countries aspiring to use nuclear power to obtain the most favorable nuclear safety standards. Unlike the use of coal or fossil fuel, few injuries and accidents have been reported in relation to thev nuclear power use (World Nuclear Association 2015).
Costs Less than Fossil Fuel
The utilization of nuclear power is way less than using fossil fuel. Although setting up a nuclear power plant can be expensive, costs associated with running the nuclear power plant are extremely low. The cost of uranium which is used as fuel for running the power plant is also low. With the normal running of a nuclear power plant around 50 years, it makes the use of such a power plant affordable to most countries; getting cheap and uninterrupted power for 50 years looks a good deal for many countries around the world. These entire variables when combined make the cost of delivering power quiet low (Brook & Lowe 2010).
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Studies suggest that nuclear power usage has fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Due to the prevalence in using of nuclear power, scientists have determined that the amount of greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by about half. Nuclear power does not discharge greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide or methane and thus, has the least effect on climate change. In cases when transport is involved, the utilization of nuclear power does not in any way have impact on land or water making it the safest to use worldwide (Brook & Lowe 2010).