How to fix the World’s energy crisis
As the world grows, the United States will need more efficient ways for the production of energy. To stay competitive with other growing countries in the world, America needs more energy to stay number one, and to be number one you must have cheap and abundant energy. Today nuclear energy is one of the most reliable, efficient, and clean forms of energy that is offered. For these reasons, the United States should maximize output from the current 102 operating reactors, start constructing more nuclear reactors, take advantage of Yucca Valley, and conduct more research and development on advancements in nuclear technology.
For a moment pretend it is April 26th, 1986 and you live in the Soviet controlled territory of what is now Ukraine. An explosion is heard around 10:30 P.M. but life goes on as usual. You don’t find out until the next day that Chernobyl reactor number four had a core meltdown causing the one-thousand ton plate, covering the reactor core, to become dismantled. This caused the first uncontrolled release of radiation into the public in world history. The Chernobyl plant is no example of how nuclear power plants are operated today. Chernobyl operators shut off the reactor’s only emergency core cooling system, which provided water for cooling in case of emergency. This was a major red flag, a circumstance that would never take place in today’s age.
In case of emergency, nuclear plants have a specific protocol that will be followed. Multiple emergency backup systems are in place to prevent a nuclear core meltdown. As stated previously, Chernobyl had zero emergency backup systems running at the time of the accident. To further dismantle the use of the use nuclear power due to Chernobyl is silly as it is impossible for an accident like this to occur here in the United States because that type of reactor is not even allowed there. As well, the one-thousand ton plate that covered the reactor core that collapsed during the explosion at Chernobyl, it has since been replaced at every nuclear reactor in the nation with a four foot thick concrete and steel containment dome. These domes are built to withstand the impact of a major airline colliding with it.
As the world grows, we will need more efficient ways for the production of energy to further sustain life on Earth for future generations. According to The U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal is the leading energy source for the United States. Coal plants every year release 1,562,000 metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere, responsible for seventy-six percent of the emissions in the United States.With America trying to be more eco-friendly to sustain life for generations to come, it just makes sense to do away with the coal industry. If the United States government is staying committed to slow process of eliminating the coal industry, than there must be an alternative to replace it. According to The Nuclear Energy Institute, Nuclear energy produces more clean-air energy than any other source and is the only one that can produce large amounts of electricity twenty-four-seven. Nuclear energy also produces sixty-three percent of all U.S. emission-free electricity. It is evident within the statistics, nuclear energy provides clean and efficient electricity.
Safety is the number one priority when it comes to nuclear energy. For that reason, nuclear plants actually don’t admit as much radiation into the environment as one may think. In fact there is more natural radiation in the air than there is released from a nuclear plant. According to The Center for Nuclear Science and Technology information, Only .005 percent of the average American’s yearly radiation dose comes from nuclear power; one-hundred times less than what we get from coal, two-hundred times less than a cross-country flight, and about the same as eating one banana a year. So essentially monkeys are receiving more radiation from bananas than humans are from nuclear power plants. One does not hear of monkeys dying from consuming bananas.
The number of nuclear reactors being constructed right now in the United States is far too low compared to those of other imperiums. China is constructing thirty nuclear reactors across their country right now, opposed to the five that we are constructing. It is not an unfair argument to say this may be a national security issue, the country that has the cheapest and most available energy will likely be the most dominant country in the world, and as of right now nuclear energy is the most efficient when comparing cost of production to efficiency.
Though the Federal government has approved construction of five new reactors, that doesn’t mean they completely support nuclear power. Nuclear waste has to go somewhere, that is one of the largest arguments against nuclear energy. Congress approved a solution to that problem in 2002, they were to build a nuclear storage facility in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Now completed, and ninety six billion dollars later, the storage facility virtually does nothing. In 2008 president Obama promised to shut down Yucca valley in efforts to move nuclear waste to a different location. There is no better place on the Earth to store nuclear waste than Yucca Valley. According to The Nuclear Energy Institute, Yucca mountain was selected because it’s idiosyncrasy: remote, arid, and geologically stable. The nuclear waste would be stored one thousand feet below dry bedrock, yet one thousand feet above the water table, making it one of the best locations in the world. Since the shutdown of Yucca Valley, plants have been storing their waste on site, a short term solution to a very long term problem. Nuclear waste doesn’t just disappear, the half life or enriched uranium is thousands of years. We have a long term solution to the management of nuclear waste right in our very country. The matter is not a technical problem, rather a political one. A step in the right direction of a more green and efficient country is the reopening of Yucca Valley, it is our best solution.
To conclude, to ensure this step in the right direction Americans need to get behind nuclear energy and look at all the benefits it has to offer.They should make logical decisions based on fact, not with the help of a political figure. This form of energy is one of the most reliable, efficient, and clean forms of energy that is offered. It has been a major contributor to getting the United States to where it is at today, and it needs to remain apart of the picture.