The Instigator
Republican95
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
headphonegut
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Nuclear Energy

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/31/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,053 times Debate No: 16794
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (0)

 

Republican95

Pro

Resolved: The United States federal government should increase investment in nuclear power sources.

I am representing the affirmative position of the resolution. I will be claming that the USFG does need to increase investment in nuclear energy.

Definitions:
1) Investment--a contribution of something such as time, energy, or effort to an activity, project, or undertaking, in the expectation of a benefit (source: MicrosoftWorks dictionary)

2) Nuclear power--the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and do useful work, most of the time with the goal of producing commercially servicable electricity.

Contentions:
1) Nuclear energy is a more environmentally friendly alternative to other, more conventional means of producing electricity.
2) Increased investment into nuclear energy would alleviate the United States' dependence on imported, environmentally unfriendly, petroleum-based energy sources.
3) Nuclear energy is a scientifically proven, known energy source that is "ready for market".

Explanation of Contentions:
1) Nuclear energy is a more environmentally friendly alternative to other, more conventional means of producing electricity.

Nuclear energy is among one of the world's cleanest energy sources. It produces very low levels of CO2 emissions and, during its lifetime, is comparable to so called "green" energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydro emissions [1]. The most up-to-date study, conducted at the Forsmark nuclear power facility in Sweden during 2005, shows that the plant was producing only 3.10 grams of CO2 per kilowatt per hour [1]. In contrast, information gathered from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency shows that the average coal power plant in the United States during the year 2000 produced 2.095 pounds of CO2 per kilowatt per hour [2]. A simple mathematical calculation revels that nuclear power, on average, produces almost 97.8 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than coal power. Thus, nuclear power would be beneficial because it would lower carbon emissions consequently increasing air quality and curtailing this nation's contribution to global climate change.

2) Increased investment into nuclear energy would alleviate the United States' dependence on imported, environmentally unfriendly, petroleum-based energy sources.

Currently, oil is the lifeblood of the American economy. Oil supplies 40 percent of the United States' total energy demands [3]. Today, nearly 60 percent of the oil utilized and consumed in the United States is imported from foreign countries [4]. Using middle school math, we can concur that 24 percent (nearly one-fourth) of our energy is supplied by oil drilled, refined, or otherwise produced in foreign countries. Noting the current geopolitical situation and the worldwide increase in oil demand, relying on foreign oil does not seem like a viable long-term economic strategy for the United States. Thus, the United States should be investing in other sources that can supply our nation with the energy its needs for continued global economic dominance. Nuclear power is the energy source that is best positioned to take that role as it has become one of the leading energy sources in the world. For example, nearly 75% of all energy consumed in France is produced by nuclear sources [5]. Not only has nuclear energy provided the French people with energy security, it has lead France to become a net energy exporter as it gains over 3 billion Euros (4,312,800,000 USD) from exporting nuclear power and nuclear power technology [5]. As it is clear to see in the precedent set by the French government, nuclear energy is a sustainable long-term energy source that can lessen a nation's dependence on unreliable, foreign-energy sources.

3) Nuclear energy is a scientifically proven, known energy source that is "ready for market".

Unlike wind and solar energy, nuclear energy is a proven energy source that has been in use since 1942 [6]. Thus, the wide-scale adoption of nuclear energy in the United States would require very little additional research and development as most of the technologies to be used have already been formulated. Furthermore, the more widespread adoption of nuclear power in the United States would require no changes be made to the national power grid as it was constructed with nuclear energy in mind. In contrast, there are some questions about the practicality of wind, solar, and geothermal energy sources.

I thank whoever shall accept this debate challenge in advance. Happy debating!

Sources:
[1] http://www.world-nuclear.org...
[2] http://www.eia.gov...
[3] http://www.energy.gov...
[4] http://www.quoteoil.com...
[5] http://www.world-nuclear.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
headphonegut

Con

thank you for this debate my good man.

definitions:
Nuclear power source: nuclear power plant,

C1 - Location -
One cannot account nor predetermine what kind of weather patterns will change due to global warming. Location is the biggest issue with a nuclear power plant. You can't place it anywhere where there is a high risk place like natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.). The power plant cannot be placed in any urban area due one simply needs to see japan to now why or Chernobyl but even then a spill can contaminate for miles in any direction. Furthermore We are still fighting a "war on terror" this makes nuclear power plant high risk. So the power plant cannot be built anywhere in the coasts or near faults or in high density areas that leaves the rural areas however it cannot be placed there either because if there is a spill the people there loose their source of income and maybe thier lives due to human error.

C2 -cost-
nuclear power plant construction costs—mainly materials, labor, and engineering—rose by 185 percent between 2000 and 2007. More recently, costs have been increasing even faster: In mid-March, Progress Energy informed state regulators that the twin 1,100 MW nuclear plants it intends to build in Florida would cost $14 billion, which "triples estimates the utility offered little more than a year ago."

Jim Harding, former director of power planning and forecasting for Seattle City Light, estimates that nuclear plants constructed today would provide electricity at between 12 and 17 cents per kilowatt-hour. To put this cost into perspective, the average U.S. electricity price in 2006 was 8.9 cents per kWh, and well-placed wind turbines can produce electricity for less than 5 cents per kWh. So nuclear power actally costs more than wind or water power.

C3 - investment -
Subsidies for nuclear reactors wouldn't subsidize nuclear technology—they would subsidize the nuclear industry. Congress should fund research of clean, alternative energy technologies that promise to rival fossil fuels in cost—without subsidies. Congress should also provide tax credits that would make such technologies cheaper by encouraging production and moving them down the experience curve.

Such support would encourage a growing American industry and create American jobs. By squandering our limited resources on subsidies for the nuclear power industry, the United States is missing an extraordinary opportunity.

C4 - Waste -
Where is all the waste going to go? nuclear power generates toxic waste never mind that america hasn't really built one in over thirty years and never mind that japan steel is the only company which produces the central part of a nuclear reactor containment vessel. All the waste generated by uranium/plutonium ( and we don't have vry much uranium so availability is also a problem) will go in big containers and be buried in the earth which is sort of ironic because nuclear energy is supposedly clean.

Conclusion: The united states federal gov't should not invest in nuclear power sources because of lack of understanding nuclear power plants, there is no viable location of where to put nuclear reactors, They would be high risk targets for terrorists, an investment in them would not be wise, and there would be a generation of waste and the availability of uranium is another problem as well.

Thank you for this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Republican95

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response. I would like to bring to my opponent’s attention that I will be leaving town Sunday and will not be able to continue this debate after that, so I hope that my opponent will be hasty in his responses so that this debate may conclude before then.

My opponent’s first contention is that there are no suitable locations for nuclear power plants to be constructed.
However, my opponent fails to realize several things. Firstly, regulations at both the state and federal level mean that nuclear power plants constructed in the United States are among the safest, most secure in the world. The plants are very resilient to natural disasters. For example, in the wake of Fukushima nuclear disaster several safety concerns were raised over U.S. nuclear facilities. One such plant was the Callaway Nuclear Plant near Fulton, Missouri which is located less than 500 miles away than one of the most active fault lines in North America: the New Madrid Fault. In the event that an earthquake caused damage to the facilities at Callaway there are several safety measures that could be activated to avert disaster, including:

-Billions of gallons of fresh water from the Missouri River (which is located only a few miles away) could be pumped into the reactors to cool them
-Backup diesel generators would supply emergency power, meaning that water could continue to be pumped into the reactors even if the plant had to be powered-down
-The plant is capable of being powered down completely in several ways
-Equipment at the Callaway site would detect any major, seismic activity and immediately power down the plant

[1]

In response to my opponent’s claim that U.S. nuclear facilities would be targets of terrorist activity, I will have to agree with him. Radical, Islamic terrorists would love to cause just a partial meltdown at a nuclear power plant near a major American city. However, once again precautions already in place would prevent such from happening. U.S. nuclear facilities are very secure in the sense that they have a 24-hour security presence and semi-restricted airspace exists around all U.S. nuclear facilities. In the post 9/11 world, the notion that anybody with malicious intentions could gain access to an American nuclear facility is simply speculative and unsubstantiated. As it is clear to see, the safety precautions at U.S. nuclear power sites help safeguard them from natural and man made disasters.

By opponent’s second point of contention is that nuclear power plant’s require a large amount of monetary investment in the form of licensing and construction costs. However, I have some points that I would like to bring up in refutation of his argument.

Firstly, one of the main goals of extra government investment into nuclear power would be the reduction of start-up costs. More government investment could lead to the formation of new, less costly construction techniques that would consequently increase the feasibility of nuclear power plant construction. One method by which government could lower the costs of nuclear power would be removing two-hurdle licensing and encouraging uniform design.

Two-hurdle licensing is method of licensing still used in some states that require a license be obtained in order to construct the plant and an additional license be acquired to actually operate the plant. In some instances, this delayed the dates of the plants’ planned openings by several years resulting in additional, unseen costs. The worst case scenario happened at the Shoreham Plant on Long Island which was constructed but never allowed to operate. It is estimated that this cost New York taxpayers over five billion dollars [2]. By streamlining, the licensing process the government could lower costs associated with nuclear development.

Even still though, the government could go a step further and encourage uniform design. Currently, all U.S. nuclear power plants are highly specific and use unique, one-of-a-kind equipment. This increases costs because it costs extra money to develop all of the unique equipment required for nuclear power plant construction. Also, it lengthens the construction process because all of the unique equipment has to be inspected and approved by federal regulators. By using tax credits and tax waivers, the federal government and state governments could encourage uniform design. [2]

In his third contention, my opponent claims that investment should be directed towards cleaner, “greener” sources of energy.

My opponent has made a mistake. He has assumed that by “investment” I mean additional funding into nuclear power plant development. However, by reviewing the definitions posted in Round 1--one can clearly see that the term “investment” does not just mean money. One way in which to increase investment in nuclear power would be to streamline and simplify the licensing process--something that would not require any additional funding.

Secondly, my opponent claims that it is foolish to invest in nuclear power when so many “better” energy sources exist. However, more careful examination reveals some alarming facts about the practicality of wind energy. Windmills are extremely large, yet produce very little electricity. If the fully operable windmills in California, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Washington and Oregon were to run and produce electricity, the amount produced would be equal to one-third of 1% of the electricity produced in the United States in one year [3]. In addition, these wind farms impair environmental, ecological, scenic and property values, for obvious reasons. The bulk of the windmills become an eyesore in many scenic areas, may affect bird migration, and potentially would adversely impact ecological rarities.

In his fourth point, my opponent brings up the environmental concerns related to nuclear waste and the availability of uranium resources. I agree with my opponent in saying that the waste produced by nuclear power plants is a real concern and that uranium and plutonium are not infinite resources.

However, the nuclear waste problem is one that has been solved for quite some time. Regulations by the EPA, the DoE require that nuclear waste be disposed in such a manner that keeps it safe for at least one million years [4]. Burying the waste underground is a sensible means of disposal as it reduces its environmental impact while keeping it safely away from the human population. Also, as advances in technology continue one option that may become available for nuclear disposal is that nuclear waste be launched into outer space. Imagine, our nuclear waste hundreds of light-years away! How is disposal in this manner not environmentally friendly.

My opponent also makes a point about the availability of uranium and plutonium--these things are not infinite resources. However, recent studies by independent agencies seem to suggest that the world holds more radioactive material than one might think. In fact, we have not reached “peak uranium” and new uranium deposits are being discovered everyday [5]. Also, recycled radioactive material form nuclear waste and decommissioned nuclear weapons serves as a major source of nuclear energy. While estimates are somewhat arbitrary, scientists predict that enough uranium exists in the world to sustain nuclear energy for several hundred years [5].

I would also like to point out to my opponent that he supplied no sources and did not even challenge my contentions. Thus, at this point I can claim to win by default.

headphonegut

Con

headphonegut forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Republican95

Pro

All arguments extended. I declare victory by default.

===
Conclusion
===

My opinion failed to meet his burden of refutation. He did not specifically respond to my individual contentions. Thus, my arguments stand unchallenged. RESOLUTION AFFIRMED.

Everyone have a nice weekend.
headphonegut

Con

Sorry for the forfeit mate. Vote for my opponent
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by headphonegut 6 years ago
headphonegut
WTF? I still had 10 hrs
Posted by headphonegut 6 years ago
headphonegut
WTF? I still had 10 hrs
Posted by Republican95 6 years ago
Republican95
You can define "nuclear power sources" however you want to, my friend...
Posted by Republican95 6 years ago
Republican95
I hope that CON is quick in his responses, as I not be available after Sunday and thus hope to finish the debate before then.
Posted by headphonegut 6 years ago
headphonegut
So question, you defined nuclear power but you didn't define nuclear power sources. So what are nuclear power sources you know what I'll define it can't see why should have all the fun
Posted by headphonegut 6 years ago
headphonegut
Your plan is pretty smart republican but I'm on to you.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
I believe that most people on this site are Pro for this.
Posted by quarterexchange 6 years ago
quarterexchange
I would love being Pro.
Posted by rogue 6 years ago
rogue
I don't wanna take this because it would be very time consuming, but I hope someone brings up what just happened in Japan. If it weren't for the fact that we don't know how to deal with nuclear power plants being destroyed and emitting radioactivity, I would agree with you.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
dang nabbit, why can't you be Con. I love this topic.
No votes have been placed for this debate.