Nuclear power – Yes or no?

Climate and environment blog

Loved, hated nuclear power.

The views on whether or not nuclear power varies more than midsummer weather. The debate is, to say the least, loaded. What are the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power and how is the discussion going?

What do you think yourself?

Nuclear power or non-nuclear power is discussed well. The disadvantages include safety, high construction costs and, not least, the environmental problems related to uranium mining.

On the other hand, there are many who believe that nuclear power is a carbon-free energy source that more than meets our energy needs, both now and in the future. Fossil-free energy sources such as solar, wind, and water cannot meet the energy needs of the future, some people understand, and therefore nuclear power is an extremely important complement in the future.

The International Energy Organization (IEA) believes that nuclear power must be expanded much more if we are to control climate change. To further warm up the debate, many point to 4th generation reactors that should be safer, cheaper and a hundred times more efficient in utilizing nuclear fuel (Uranet). At the same time, others point to the risks of storing spent and radioactive nuclear fuel underground for 100,000 years. You can get headaches for less.

Some advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power:

Nuclear Power Benefits

  • Because carbon dioxide emissions are very small in nuclear power generation, it does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.
  • The emissions are actually about as small as in electricity generation with wind power.
  • Nuclear power is not at all dependent on weather and wind. This means that we can produce electricity on a very large scale regardless of whether it is windy, dark or dry.
  • The production cost of electricity using nuclear power is cheap. Partly because the cost of uranium is low.
  • Working at a nuclear power plant is relatively safe. The mining of coal and the extraction of hydroelectric power account for more deaths than the operation of nuclear power plants. Mainly due to accidents in coal mines or water ponds that burst.
  • The so-called 4th generation reactors provide opportunities for the future. 4th generation reactors utilize the fuel up to 100 times more efficient than today’s nuclear reactors. This reduces the waste’s long-lived components and thus the storage time.

Disadvantages of nuclear power:

  • Although the costs of extracting uranium and the actual production costs are low, it is very expensive to build a nuclear power plant.
  • Although nuclear power itself is very environmentally friendly, uranium mining carbon dioxide emissions have a negative environmental impact. When the uranium is quenched, large amounts of radioactive residual material are created which can leak into the watercourses.
  • It also has a negative impact on the environment when building nuclear power plants because very large amounts of concrete and steel are used.
  • Accidents involving leaks are of course a major disadvantage. Radioactive waste from nuclear power affects the environment, people and animals for generations. It is so bad that inhalation of one million grams of plutonium can lead to lung cancer.
    Nuclear power disrupts the marine ecosystem. This is because the cooling water in the reactor is released straight into the nearby sea and heats the water by about 10 degrees.
  • Final disposal of radioactive waste is a difficult problem. When nuclear fuel decays, it emits ionizing radiation (radioactivity) that can have very negative and severe effects on both the environment and human health. Therefore, nuclear waste must be stored and stored in a so-called final repository. Since the 1950s, the world’s nuclear power plants have produced 370,000 tonnes of long-lived nuclear waste, only one country has started building its final repository.
  • Today it is not really so. Decommissioning has proved somewhat more complicated and we seem to be doing everything at the same time: we are decommissioning, expanding and modernizing. Why? Yes, we want to take the environment into account while at the same time having to meet the energy needs of today and the future. What do you think yourself? Nuclear power – yes or no?

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