Advantages of nuclear power

  • Nuclear fission does not release the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.
  • A controlled nuclear fission reaction releases one million times more energy per kg than a chemical reaction such as burning coal, oil or gas. This means much less fuel is required than for a conventional power station which keeps transportation and mining costs low and reduces the associated hazards.
  • Nuclear power creates employment opportunities for many people.
  • Modern reactor designs are extremely safe.

Disadvantages of nuclear power

  • Many people have concerns about living close to nuclear power plants and the storage facilities used for radioactive waste because they fear radioactive material may leak out into the environment.
  • Incidents at nuclear power plants in Ukraine and Japan have caused huge economic, health and environmental damage to the area surrounding the power plant.
  • The mining, transport and purification of the uranium ore releases significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
  • Like fossil fuels, nuclear fuels used for fission, such as uranium ore, are non-renewable energy resources since supplies will not last forever.
  • Radioactive waste is extremely dangerous and long lasting. Expensive measures must be taken to store it. In some cases, the waste is stored deep underground and must be kept for tens of thousands of years. Over time, this could leak and cause underground water and soil pollution. This is a particular worry in regions where there are earthquakes.
  • Decommissioning a nuclear power plant is extremely expensive and requires a skilled workforce.
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