What is Nuclear Power?
Nuclear power is meant to extract energy from atoms. The technology used to date in nuclear power plants is called fission. This means splitting atomic nuclei and extracting the energy created by this. There is also something called fusion. This means merging light atomic nuclei into heavier ones. However, this has not yet been used in commercial use.
A nuclear power plant is actually a thermal power plant. When the uranium is split, heat is created which in turn heats water to steam which then drives a steam turbine and in this way energy is created.
Is nuclear power environmentally friendly?
Nuclear power does not give rise to emissions of greenhouse gases and dangerous gases in the atmosphere and is therefore considered by some to be an environmentally friendly energy source.
There are primarily two reasons why, according to some, nuclear power should not be classified as environmentally friendly.
The only reason is that the used uranium must be disposed of somewhere after it can no longer be used in energy production. Since the uranium emits radioactivity for a long time, it must be a safe and stable place to store this. This poses a potential risk to future generations, as it is a matter of very long periods of time before the waste is no longer radioactive. Proponents of nuclear power, however, argue that this will not be a major problem in the future, because what is today classified as nuclear waste will be able to be used for other purposes as well as fuel much longer than today.
The second reason is the risk of accidents and assaults. There have been a number of nuclear accidents in history. Most recently 2011 in Japan in connection with the earthquake. Before that, the most serious accident was in Chernobyl in Russia. Of course, despite the fact that safety is given high priority in nuclear power plants, one can of course never guarantee with 100% certainty that no accidents will occur.
A third argument against nuclear power is that the mining of uranium is considered harmful to humans and to nature. There is information that uranium mining can cause damage to the landscape, pollution of waterways and lung cancer among miners.
Following the nuclear accident in Japan, some countries have changed their attitude to nuclear power. There, among other things, Germany has closed down a number of works and has changed its plans for nuclear power going forward. According to the World Nuclear Association, nuclear power accounts for about 13-14% of the world’s electricity generation.