The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Nuclear power is a reasonable approach to generating electricity

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/9/2012 Category: Technology
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,497 times Debate No: 25512
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)




First round is for acceptance and arguing the definition, I will argue that Nuclear power is the way to go, Elkyriaze will attempt to negate the resolution.

Normal rules apply, no new material in the last round if it can't be refuted. No semantics nor trolling etc...

Nuclear power: The use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. [1]
Reasonable: being in accordance with reason. [2]
Approach:to make advances to especially in order to create a desired result [3]



Yep, good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Nuclear energy is a reasonable approach to generating electricity based on the fact that it is far superior to most forms of power generating methods currently in use.

Nuclear fission plants have been shown to be more:
a) Environmentally friendly.
b) Sustainable.
c) Economical.
d) Efficient.

Furthermore, they:
a) Improve energy security.
b) Encourage and convenience research conducted in atomic theory.

My first argument is the Environmental factor that sets nuclear energy apart as a more reasonable approach to creating electricity.
Each year, a coal power plant will produce 125,000 tonnes of ash and 193,000 tonnes of sludge.[1] Very toxic waste. This rubbish is then sent straight out into the environment courtesy of the humans who made it. In Australia, where I live, most of the country is run by coal plants. Why? Because some 'green' people do not want to see a start to a new era of cleaner energy. Instead, they advocate the immense destruction of our atmosphere with the dozens of coal plants that spit out all these toxins constantly. This waste they give out is far worse than nuclear radioactive waste. Nuclear waste will eventually decay until it is no longer harmful. Fossil fuel waste doesn't decay. It just hangs around until it destroys something. Now, compare what we do with these waste:
Nuclear: Deposit it in sealed containers in deep repositories that will have no contact with any part of the eco system.
Fossil fuel: Dump the sludge waste in landfill sites and send the CO2 into the atmosphere.
This is rather appalling. We pay so much attention to what we think is dangerous that we miss the actual danger that is slapping us in the face.
Furthermore, Nuclear power is the only large-scale energy-producing technology which takes full responsibility for all its wastes and fully costs this into the product.[2] Everyone else just doesn't seem to care.

Secondly, Nuclear power is so sustainable, it has the ability to last us until we definitely need it no longer.
With modern-day technology, we can potential use nuclear energy for 30,000 years. We will only need nuclear for a few hundred, but the implications are enormous. Instead of digging up the last of the coal we have and burning it, we can extract a little bit of Uranium from the earth and use that to power us until we have the ability to reach nuclear fusion or any other completely clean energy source. Compared to coal plants, where we have to burn 250,000 tonnes of coal PER DAY. I'd say we have a pretty good chance if we chose to go down the nuclear instead. We definitely won't survive much longer on coal.

Thirdly, Nuclear power is far more economical in the long run versus coal and oil plants.
For a start, it is the cheapest form of power available. The National Academy of Sciences in a 2009 report said that the cost of nuclear power is equal to or lower than natural gas, wind, solar, or coal with carbon capture. Reactors can operate for 80 years, while wind and solar last about 25 years. And nuclear reactors operate 90 percent of the time, while wind and solar are only available about a third of the time. [3] (Remember: wind and solar power can't be stored today in significant amounts.) Most people don't want their lights and computers working only when the wind blows.

Fourthly, Nuclear power plants are a couple thousand times more efficient than conventional coal plants.
Nuclear power turns 98% of the fuel into heat, [4] which is used in the electrical generating process. Of the remaining 2%, 40% of it is treated and turned back into usable fuel. The remaining 1% is the waste. In a coal plant, 65-75% of the fuel is turned into heat and the rest is waste product. That is an astounding difference that should make you cry. If that doesn't, then this will: for every 15 tonnes of waste produced in a nuclear plant, a coal plant will spit out 500 million tonnes. That is a giant win for nuclear power in terms of efficiency. So how can one say that it is an unreasonable approach? Have a look at these quick facts about nuclear energy:

Fithly, Nuclear power plants are on average, safer to humans than coal and oil.
Since I live in Australia, I don't have to worry too much about dangerous air pollutants, though they are an increasing problem, but in 2000, the Ontario Medical Association declared air pollution "a public health crisis" [4] and coal-fired power plants as the single largest industrial contributors to this crisis, producing carbon dioxide, fine particulates, and cancerous heavy metals including mercury. In 2005, the Ontario Medical Association estimated that air pollution costs the province more than six hundred million dollars per year in health care costs, as well as causing the premature deaths of thousands of Ontarians each year [5].[6]
Australia is soon to be Ontario if coal burning keeps up like this. Many places in the world are already worse than Ontario. China for instance, has air pollution in some cities that can be seen from upper orbit. Air pollution is indeed a grave problem on a global scale. Across the world 850,000 people are known to die prematurely because of it.[7].

Lastly, Nuclear power plants help the development of more cleaner and efficient uses of nuclear energy namely, nuclear fusion. In a talk on energy and climate entitled, "Innovating to Zero", Microsoft's Bill Gates gives a compelling argument for why we need nuclear power in an age of increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 [8]. Using a simple equation, he argues that CO2 is a product of the number of people on the planet, the services delivered per person, the energy needed per service, and the amount of CO2 produced by each unit of energy. The first two are heading up and are unlikely to be stopped. The cost of energy is decreasing, but not enough. So that leaves the fourth factor. We must use energy that does not produce greenhouse gases, but we need reliable energy – energy that's available when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. Gates believes that nuclear power offers this promise and should be part of the mix, especially if improved (safer) technology is employed. Energy conservation should be a viable way to transition from dirty to clean energy, but increases in services delivered per person along with a growing population would quickly eat up conservation savings.

So think of nuclear power like a bridge. its not what we want forever, but we cant stay with what we have for long, and we cant get what we need for the future now, so while we wait, we use the best alternative we can muster. Since that is the purpose of nuclear power, we can definitely call it a reasonable approach to generating electricity for the time being.

[8]Estimated deaths & DALYs attributable to selected environmental risk factors, by WHO Member State, 2002World Health Organization Organisation mondiale de la Sant´┐Ż Department of Public Health & Environnment January 2007


Firstly rebuttal:

Nuclear energy is not environmentally friendly at all in the sense that the waste produced from a nuclear plant is so much more dangerous that waste produced by Fossil fuel plants. The radioactive material stays radioactive for a very long time. And it is very dangerous to life, if people come into close contact with the waste, they can get cancer and other terrible diseases. Plus, radioactive waste can contaminate entire water systems under the ground where people put them. This will lead to the destruction of life forms that use the water.

Smithereens also says that it is sustainable. But its just like coal. its non-renewable. Once you dig it out of the ground, its not going to replenish itself in a hurry.

He says that nuclear power is economical. But because of the amount of money that needs to be spent on the maintainence of the safety gear that must go along with the plant, it doesnt cost as much as coal or oil or gas. Smithereens failed to take these costs into consideration

Now, my arguments are:
-Its not safe to people
-It poses a risk of nuclear war
-nuclear waste is a big problem

Its not safe:
chernobyl was a great example of a nuclear failure. And whose to say it wont happen again? The disaster at Chernobyl was caused by human error. And human error is something that 21st century technology cant fix. There will always be people making mistakes that kill other people.

Risk of nuclear war:
What do you expect will happen when you gather enough high-quality nuclear material into one spot. The country that has it will be too tempted to make weapons out of it and exert world domination over those that dont. Its a very real threat and cannot be simply ignored by Smithereens.

Nuclear waste:
There is no real safe place to put it. if you put it underground, it will contaminate the ground, if you try to launch it into space, it would cost too much money. So we have this dangerous waste with us and nothing at all to do with it. So it is completely inhumane to dump it all into nature and the ecosystem where it will kill things. There are plently of better things we can do, like not use nuclear at all.

We can use solar or wind turbines as an alternative. Smithereens has been arguing under the false impression that nuclear is all there is. Well, it isnt. There are many things we can do, just dont use things which are so destructive.
Debate Round No. 2


Defense of my arguments:

1) Environmental.
Nuclear waste is not as dangerous as fossil fuel waste. There are different types of radioactive wastes, most forms are low level waste produce that decay in a matter of hours or days.[1] The waste that can't be recycled is sealed in special containers that are sent deep underground in loads when enough waste has been gathered. The waste gradually decays out of reach of any part of the ecosystem. But note: It decays. The same cannot be said of fossil fuel waste that will never decay. It will always remain deadly. Think of nuclear waste like a favour to nature. We dig it out of the ecosystem where it was doing harm to nature, then we turn it into a lesser isotope that is sealed away to become stable and safe. If you have any fears, let the Australian government dispel them here:

2) Sustainability.
Uranium is not sustainable. If we keep digging it up and using it inefficiently and wasting it, it may last us only 60 years. But with the best of 21st Century technology, we can now extend that to 30,000 years. The same cannot be said of fossil fuels. We will burn them out much faster and then finally concede that we need a more reasonable approach to the creation of electricity.

3) Economy.
"because of the amount of money that needs to be spent on the maintenance of the safety gear that must go along with the plant, it doesn't cost as much as coal or oil or gas."~quote from a very misguided opponent.
The costs associated with Nuclear power plants can be broken down into four areas where money is needed to be spent in large amounts:[2]
>The construction cost of building the plant.
>The operating cost of running the plant and generating energy.
>The cost of waste disposal from the plant.
>The cost of decommissioning the plant.
Construction costs are always the biggest cost for a nuclear power plant. It costs more to build it than to maintain its safety features however much my opponent may disagree. He mainly overlooks the fact that construction costs are about to drop dramatically during the USA development of its next phase of Nuclear plants[2]. The USA have been studying the French, and have used their knowledge and experience to make a new design of reactors. This means that nuclear plants will be cheaper to build than Coal plants and will be able to build much faster. As for the running of Nuclear plants, 0.2 cents per KW-Hr[2]. That's lower than coal plants,[3] which are not much different to run. But the mining and transport costs have not been considered. So nuclear is cheaper to build, and cheaper to run, which is the main costs associated with the running of it. Mantianance is just cleaners and safety checks that don't even rank as a noticeable cost.

4) Efficiency.
Has not been refuted. Extend argument.

5) Safety.
Has not been refuted. Extend argument.

6) Technological advancement.
Has not been refuted. Extend argument.

1) Nuclear is not safe
Nuclear power has been given a very bad light by the media. There were a couple dozen deaths at Chernobyl, a nuclear power accident that will never happen again, and so far there have been no fatalities at fukishima, where people there have got a decent understanding of safety. My opponent is rather hypocritical here. He acknowledges that the pollution of fossil burning kills 850,000 people every year,[4] but gets really angry when one of the first prototype reactors goes bang due to some really bad handling that was easily avoided but is now managed. Out of all the accidents that have happened at coal plants, I think its the media to thank that we never hear of them and that nuclear plants have been given so much scrutiny. They are safe due to all this attention we give them, now we need to give equal scrutiny to fossil fuel plants.

2) Poses a risk of nuclear war
Nonsense. He says that the temptation of having fissile material will be too much for most countries. What he might as well say is: These countries will take the Uranium they have and build giant underground bunkers dedicated to the creation of nuclear missiles hidden from sight. Now, to make a nuclear missile, you need permission from the countries that already have nukes. As it stands, all of them are saying NO. Should your country choose to disregard that, that will not end in a nuclear war, but it will make a lot of powerful people angry. Which causes dissension and non-nuclear war. But keep in mind this isn't because of nuclear power plants, as the Uranium used in plants are not high enough quality for nuke use and the enrichment centres are illegal to be built and cannot be done so without provoking retaliation. So it isn't the power plants, its the want for weapons of mass-destruction. Uranium used in power stations is useless as weaponry.

3) Nuclear waste
I feel that I have given this point enough attention for one day, refer up to my defense of argument #1 for info.

My opponent proposes the use of wind turbines or solar power as an alternative to nuclear. They wont work. They don't produce enough electricity, its not always windy or sunny, you cant run a country on sunlight and wind. The solar panels required would cover an expanse that would make the world look like an ant. There aren't enough places where you can put wind turbines, etc, etc... There are just so many reasons why the government has not already turned to this type of primitive energy.

Nuclear is the only reasonable approach to generating electricity in this day and age.



I dunno what to say, I give up...
my only contention is that you spend too long working on your arguments when you should have better things to do with your time.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Smithereens 5 years ago
I wrestle my case
Posted by Zacmoo0007 5 years ago
I thought nuclear power would be so dangerous considering whats been happening in other countries like Japan.
Posted by jamie56 5 years ago
so to give one to smithereens but chernobyl was a EXPERIMENTAL reactor
Posted by jamie56 5 years ago
your second definition is cyclical
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Davewerty 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Go green, go nuclear!
Vote Placed by KuriouserNKuriouser 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession by Con. Sources for having sources.
Vote Placed by famer 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Arguments were left conceded at the end.