Nuclear Energy: Pros and Cons



Nuclear energy is a fairly new technology which currently provides nearly 7 per cent of our primary energy requirements. It is based on harnessing the very large quantities of energy that are released when the nuclei of certain atoms, such as uranium-235, are induced to split or fission. Estimates suggest that there is sufficient fuel for many decades or even centuries, depending on use rates.

Like fossil fuels, nuclear energy is a finite resource. However, it does not emit greenhouse gasses and is, therefore, considered by many to be a ‘greener fuel’.

Nuclear energy is not without risk and there are major concerns over the disposal and safety of nuclear waste and the power plants themselves. These concerns were validated following the Tokyo earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant experienced meltdown of three of its reactors, leading to contamination of the surrounding region and sea.

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