Nuclear energy is one of the most controversial methods of energy generation ever since it was only a concept. It is not difficult to find counter-arguments that oppose nuclear energy. We bring you the most convincing reasons for opposing nuclear energy as per the environmentalists.
Proponents of nuclear energy present many good arguments about how nuclear energy is safe and clean. The raw material for energy generation is available in bulk and is future-oriented. These supportive arguments are not really justified along with only presenting a short term solution. They can be quickly dismissed with a closer look at the facts. Let us take a look at the reasons for opposing nuclear energy according to environmentalists.
1. Nuclear energy is not safe
According to the statistics, the lives lost per unit of energy that is produced compared to fossil power plants are much less. It is especially true if you take air pollution and its consequences into account. But what quickly lags behind the argument is the fact that nuclear power plants can easily be turned into a pure catastrophe by natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Nuclear power plants are more susceptible to these problems than other power plants and their accidents are more serious than those of other power plants. Even if the number of deaths is lower than other power plants, the impact on the environment in the event of an accident is also very strong and bad.
Accidents are often covered up which worsens the matter. Of course, this is a political problem, and power plants are not to be blamed directly, but it is definitely a point to consider when it comes to nuclear power. Old power plants are prone to problems especially if they are poorly maintained and it is only a matter of time before a major accident happens. The longer an accident is concealed, the more devastating the effects, and the more difficult it is to estimate the consequences as we have all seen what happened in Chernobyl.
2. Nuclear power is not clean
Nuclear energy is advertised to have a small ecological footprint. This is true to a certain extent because the power plants actually take up little space, generate a lot of energy with little raw material, and have lower greenhouse emissions than wind and solar power plants.
Even if radioactive waste is considered to be low and manageable, repositories are only a temporary solution. Complete shielding of the residual steel is questionable and there are always problems with the repositories like leaks and accidents which have a major environmental impact.
Apart from that, the repository is not a final solution. We still don’t know how to get rid of the toxic waste, other than just locking it away. Comparatively, solar energy is in its infancy and has enormous expansion potential even though the current solar power plant setup is more toxic than advertised.
3. Nuclear energy is not cheap
Although the electricity that nuclear power plants supply is cheap, yet, building nuclear power plants is extremely expensive and the power plants have to run for a long time before they can recover the costs. Renewable energies are only at the beginning of their development. Renewable energies, especially solar energy, could be used with the least amount of space, especially in cities.
Expansion in this direction is therefore not only sustainable but also cheap since renewable energies will replace atomic energy in the foreseeable future.
4. The raw material is not infinite
Another popular argument among defenders of nuclear energy is that the raw material for the power plants, mainly uranium, is easily available and can even be obtained from waste and seawater. Uranium may indeed last a long time, but as the population grows, these stocks will run out quickly. In order to become fissile, uranium has to be enriched beforehand, which is also not entirely harmless and is very expensive. A lot of energy is also required to manufacture it.
On the other hand, there will always be wind and sun, not only for thousands of years and without the repository problem already mentioned. Thus, wind, water, and solar power plants are better supplied in the long term than nuclear power plants.
5. Nuclear energy is not future-oriented
Leading climate policy experts regard nuclear energy as clean electricity for the future. This is true to a certain extent, after all, the power plants are very efficient and clean. There is little future vision for nuclear power plants as the power plants can only be improved to a very limited extent.
New forms of energy production such as hydrogen power plants are now on the rise and it is to be expected that the technology behind them will soon be a lot more efficient and safer than nuclear power plants.
These are the Reasons for opposing nuclear energy according to environmentalists. It also needs to be mentioned that there are hardly any alternatives to nuclear power plants that produce so much energy with a comparatively smaller investment and impact on the environment.