Is Nuclear Energy the Solution to the Climate Crisis?

At this point in time, a majority of members of both political parties recognize the severe consequences that continuing to burn fossil fuel will have on future generations. Although people still debate about just how drastic the situation is, and what the best solution is, the argument as to whether humanity is responsible for alarming temperature extremes has, for the most part, concluded. The current question is: what is the best way to prevent the planet from eventually being made uninhabitable?

Some experts point to electric energy as the obvious solution, as it’s evidently one of the cleanest sources of energy available. Surely, with everybody driving electric powered cars, the amount of Co2 entering the atmosphere would be significantly lessened. While this may seem like an ideal resolution, as electric cars are currently being mass-produced by car manufacturers, flaws exist with this plan.

The most important question to answer is, where will the electricity for vehicles all come from? While the burning of fossil fuels is having very negative affects on our planet, we have resorted to doing it because there is an ample amount available to burn. Again, given that continuing to do this will eventually prevent Earth from having the ability to sustain life, another source of energy must be found. But even if we somehow were able to obtain enough electricity to power everybody’s vehicle, how would the power grid handle it? The rapid influx of electricity would almost certainly resulting in the grid crashing, resulting in nation-wide blackouts.

This leads us to the other solution on everybody’s mind: nuclear energy. The pros of nuclear energy are that it’s a very clear source of power; it does not result in greenhouse gases being trapped in the atmosphere. It also is very low-budget, reactors generally aren’t very costly to build and maintain. Finally, it is a renewable energy, meaning that there is practically an unlimited supply of it available.

Critics of nuclear energy believe that while its usage is not dangerous for the atmosphere, radioactive waste is an incredibly toxic substance that is created from fuel that has been used to power a nuclear reactor. However most power plants have been able to shield their workers from being in close proximity to the waste, and have discovered ways to dispose of it properly. The process for disposal is complicated, but basically includes the concealing of the waste in areas inaccessible areas to the public, and then normally disposing of it once it’s no longer toxic.

A solution to climate change needs to be found rather quickly, as the planet’s condition has only gotten exceedingly worse over the past few decades, and will only continue to do so if burning fossil fuel is still seen as an acceptable method of obtaining energy. We certainly should consider nuclear energy as a the next go-to option, but should thoroughly examine the potential hazards that come from increased production of nuclear waste. What is for certain, however, is that the availability of nuclear power and the lack of harm that it has on the atmosphere, makes it a very appealing candidate for many as the solution to climate change.