Nuclear Energy and Its Effects on Environment

Introduction

Energy is required for industrial and domestic uses; some countries have uranium and titanium deposits that are the major raw materials in the production of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is produced after the chemical reaction of reactive products, which emit energy that can convert to electric energy; the process is called nuclear fusion. By the end of 2009, 10-15 % of world electricity was believed to have come from nuclear energy sources (Walker, 2004). This paper discusses the current and future uses of nuclear energy; it will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the source of energy.

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Nuclear energy

Nuclear power has been used for a long time as a weapon; they have a destructive power. They have high energy that can be utilized to the benefit of industries as a source of energy; when used as an energy source it is produced by controlling nuclear reactions and directing them to yield energy. In the United States, naval vessels using nuclear energy are more than 150; they generate the power that comes from a fission process where thorium or plutonium is mixed with uranium or it can also be derived from the fusion of hydrogen into helium.

According to Walker 2004, nuclear energy is estimated to have a 10million times more power than coal; again, the reserves for the products are still not exploited thus the world can rely on the serves; Australia has the world’s largest potential for nuclear power (Walker, 2004). The energy when well developed can be relied upon to be used in industries, homes, and transport industry and in other energy uses.

The future of nuclear power and uses

World increase in population, industrialization, urbanization, and modernization has resulted in higher demand for energy among people and countries. Globalization and technology have to lead to an increased number of industries in the world. In the process of production, fuel is required to run some machines. However, these fuels are major sources of pollution in the environment. Some countries like China, Japan, and the United States, Germany, France, and South Africa have tapped nuclear energy and used it as a source of energy in factories and homes; the energy is produced by controlling nuclear reactions and directing them to yield energy.

To feed the increasing needs for energy, the world has to exploit the available sources of energy. Nuclear energy falls in the category of some of the less used energy sources. When exploiting the potential, the world is warned or should be warned of the dangers that the exploitation can have on them and the environment. When nuclear reactants come across the environments and people, they are highly destructive and can lead to massive damage.

In the recent case of the Japan earthquake of 2011, the world stands threatened of dangers that having a nuclear plant in their country can pose; there is an increased threat that Japanese nuclear energy plants are going to be destructive to human beings and the environment. This move is making governments of different nations to rethink the new development of nuclear energy sources. Despite the threats, the world is likely to come up with best practices in developing nuclear plants and use the energy for various uses after having put measures to mitigate any dangers from the engagement (Maul, 2006).

Nuclear effects on the environment

The major world source of energy is fuels used are petroleum sources, however, in the process of use; they emit greenhouse gasses to the environment that injure human beings and the environment at large. Nuclear energy emits minimal greenhouse gases to the environment thus regarded as an environmentally friendly energy source; however, in the case of a leakage, the effects that the products have on the environment are massive and long-lasting,.

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Nuclear reagents are destructive to human beings and the environment; they “burn” the environment and the effect can be passed to generations. Nuclear energy when well-controlled is one form of clean energy; wastes from the plants are estimated to be less than 1%. The emissions (wastes) produced from nuclear energy can be tapped and used for other factors. Uranium and plutonium that are major components in a nuclear energy plant, can be tapped up to 95% and used to make mixed oxide oil and put in other commercial benefits (Cravens, 2007).

Advantages of Using Nuclear Energy

The world has adequate nuclear reserves potential that can be used to substantiate the current rates of energy sources. Again, nuclear energy can be manufactured in laboratories so that if well regulated, it can be the future energy source; this guarantees its unending existence; to the environmental advantages, using of nuclear energy reduces the emission of carbon to the environment; carbon is one of the green house emissions that lead to global warming.

Disadvantages of nuclear energy

Of late, there have been no 100% remedies for nuclear reactants effects; it is believed that even those plants that seem to be tightly sealed have some leakages that affect the environment; this leads to environmental, health, and economic injuries that are long-lasting. Radioactive wastes that are produced in the production of nuclear energy affect the life of human beings and the environment that they live in negatively.

The effects of nuclear reactants spillover can be understood by the effects that it had on Japan after the 1945 attack by the United States. Today, many years after the bombing, the effects are still felt on the people who survived as they suffer from cancer, leukemia, and other related illnesses. These diseases have been carried forward genetically to their offspring in the succeeding generations.

For security purposes, nuclear plants are target points and if successful, the effect can be widespread. If the manufacturing plants are bombed, emitted radioactive materials which will have adverse effects; developing a nuclear plant are fighting campaigns that are aimed to reduce nuclear weapon production. When a plant is the target point, the damage is expected to reach areas that they were not supposed to reach.

The recent Japanese earthquake has also opened another threat that the plants can bring aboard; the effects of the earthquake are feared that if they destroy the Japanese nuclear plant, then the world will be in problems (Cravens, 2007).

Conclusion and recommendations

The world has the potential of producing nuclear energy; when plants producing the energy are well regulated, the energy can be relied upon for industrial and domestic use. However, producing nuclear energy has security and environmental risk if the plants are attacked; despite the threats, an increase in demand for energy in different sectors and the growing international relations are likely to compel governments to develop nuclear energy plants.

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References

Cravens, G. (2007). Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy. New York: Knopf.

Maul, P. (2006). Environmental impacts of nuclear power: past experience and future prospects. Web.

Walker, S. (2004). Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective. California: University of California Press.

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