Why Nuclear Power Plants are Horrible
Senator John McCain has recently proposed a goal of 45 nuclear fission power plants to be constructed by 2030 in order to satisfy America's increasing energy demands. However, I do not think this plan takes into account these three major issues with all nuclear fission power plants.
First, nuclear fission power plants are non-renewable. Eventually, sources of uranium, plutonium, and other radioactive materials that are used to create electricity will decrease over time. As mining of these resources decreases, the cost of these resources will increase dramatically, just as oil has increased in the past few years. Therefore, only renewable sources of energy will probably have much more stable prices. Additionally, renewable energy sources are the only long term solution.
Second, despite how safe new nuclear power plants are now, these power plants will never be 100% safe, yet the risks are higher than other sources of energy. For instance, there are still remote chances of major disasters striking nuclear powers. A common example is that Japan has a lot of "safe" nuclear power plants despite being in an earthquake prone area. A truly massive earthquake could easily destroy any nuclear power plant, thus possibly killing a larger number of people than the earthquake would normally have. The same is true from any major disaster. Furthermore, there are still quite a few older nuclear power plants that are not as "safe" as newer power plants, and they are still in operation. Therefore, nuclear fission power plants are not 100% safe.
Third, nuclear power plants produce extremely harmful radioactive waste. Most, if not all, of this radioactive waste is stored in temporary containers that will eventually disintegrate because of the extremely corrosive and toxic radiation. When this starts to happen in possibly a few decades or years, if it has not already started happening already, then this radioactive waste could spill into the environment and put people at serious risk. Furthermore, a long term solution for storing all radioactive waste has still not been decided upon. Additionally, a major disaster, such as an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane, could easily spread this radioactive material over a large area thus impossible to completely clean up yet still very lethal. And the potential usage of radioactive waste as a weapon is also disheartening. Therefore, the lethal hazard of all radioactive waste still needs to be addressed for existing nuclear power plants before more are constructed.
The only three reasons for building more nuclear fission power plants are availability, proven technology, and cost. First, availability is only a short term solution, since their fuel is limited. Second, other sources of energy have already been proven, including renewable sources. Third, the cost of these power plants does not include the cost of replacing these power plants when the non-renewable fuel starts becoming depleted and more expensive. In the long term, the cost of renewable sources of energy will be cheaper. As a result, the only logic long term solution is only build renewable sources on energy.
by Phil for Humanity