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

The US should encourage more nuclear energy use over current widely used energy forms.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,263 times Debate No: 11241
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




OK, I know someone just did something like this, but I like the idea and I like to argue about nuclear power, so yeah. Please no stealing arguments from that debate, or at least as little as possible and in your own words. Thank you!

OK, the United States currently uses mainly (51%) coal power [1] and this causes, among other things, acid rain, smog, lung damage, contamination of lakes and rivers, birth defects, and radiation releases. (Now, you'll say nuclear energy releases more, but I'll cover that later, so hold on.) This all comes from the tens of thousands of TONS of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ash, sludge, mercury and other chemicals. These are harmful to our environment and the people of the United States.

Nuclear energy can reduce this harm if it is used to gradually reduce or eliminate the use of coal and other fossil-fuels. This is because nuclear energy produces virtually no air pollution [3] and nuclear energy actually produces 100 times less radiation than does coal [4]. But all that is just from producing energy, what about getting the fuel? Well, we would mine less if we used uranium for power, as you'd need less uranium to produce the same amount of energy, 20,000 times less to be exact [5].

All these advantages of nuclear power mentioned are good, but they only cover health and the environment. Let's expand the view of this debate to look at other advantages of nuclear energy, specifically economics. Nuclear plants can create up to 1,800 temporary jobs and 1,400 permanent jobs. They can also generate $430 million for local economies [6] and this is only looking at the plants themselves, not at manufacturing parts, research, or other industries that would be stimulated.

Now let's look at the costs of building and maintaining. Nuclear plants cost less overall than does the advanced type of coal with sequestration that is now being researched and is the future of coal [7]. And, while coal is increasing cost [8], nuclear will lower in cost because of advancing technology [9].

So basically, coal has a lot of problems, while nuclear power is safe, economical, and good for our country. Thank you and I look forward to a response.



Thanks to my opponent for hosting and starting this debate. I wish him the best of luck.

As I will be negating the resolution today, I believe that the United States should not increase more nuclear energy over current widely used forms.

To start, I would like to offer the following definitions to ensure a fair and proper debate:

Nuclear Energy: The energy released by a nuclear reaction, especially by fission or fusion, regarded as a source of power.

"Current Widely Used Energy Forms": Since my opponent has only addressed coal as a widely used energy form, I will assume that this term applies to other forms of widespread used energy such as wind, solar, hydrogen, and tidal energies.

Contention 1: The increase of nuclear energy will proportionally increase the amount of nuclear waste, while other forms of energy produce little to no waste (non-radioactive).

According to a July 2010 study performed by the Nuclear Energy Information Service, nuclear waste is produced in many different ways. There are wastes produced in the reactor core, wastes created as a result of radioactive contamination, and wastes produced as a byproduct of uranium mining, refining, and enrichment. A typical reactor will generate 20 to 30 tons of high-level nuclear waste annually. There is no known way to safely dispose of this waste, which remains dangerously radioactive until it naturally decays. The rate of decay of a radioactive isotope is called its half-life, the time in which half the initial amount of atoms present takes to decay. The half-life of Plutonium-239, one particularly lethal component of nuclear waste, is 24,000 years. This dangerously radioactive nuclear waste has not been dealt with, and, historically (Yucca Mountain, EM program), cannot be solved in any form, presenting large amounts of radiation that has powerfully and negatively impacted much of our vital ecosystem, such as soil and water supply and marine and human life. Other forms of energy (excluding coal), however, have been proven to leave behind virtually no waste, greatly preserving vital sectors of our ecosystem.

Contention 2: The increase of nuclear energy will give rise to threatening proliferation risks, as other forms of energy cannot.

Plutonium is a man-made waste product of nuclear fission, which can be used for bombs. In the year 2000, an estimated 310 tons (620,000 pounds) of weapons-usable plutonium had been produced. Less than 8 kilograms (about 18 pounds) of plutonium is enough for one Nagasaki-type bomb. Thus, in the year 2000 alone, enough plutonium was created to make more than 34,000 nuclear weapons. The technology for producing nuclear energy that is shared among nations, particularly the process that turns raw uranium into lowly-enriched uranium, can also be used to produce highly-enriched, weapons-grade uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is responsible for monitoring the world's nuclear facilities and for preventing weapons proliferation, but their safeguards have serious shortcomings. Though the IAEA is promoting additional safeguards agreements to increase the effectiveness of their inspections, the agency acknowledges that, due to measurement uncertainties, it cannot detect all possible diversions of nuclear material.

My conclusion will be another sort of contention, but it didn't nominally fit as a contention. Nuclear energy, as my opponent stated, does provide jobs & revenue. However, alternative energy provides the same, if not greater, economic stimulus without the risks of proliferation and hazardous nuclear waste that are brought on by nuclear energy. According to a 2007 study performed by the American Energy Society, in 2006, alternative energy development industries/efforts generated 8.5 million new jobs and grossed nearly $1.22 trillion dollars overall.

Nuclear energy may seem like the best way to go, but it is merely a wolf in sheep's clothing. The furthering of nuclear energy usage would be a very detrimental choice. Coal is not, as my opponent has insinuated,the only choice to contemplate other than nuclear energy. Alternative energy use will complete all of the benefits my opponent mentioned of nuclear energy without posing any risk to our ecosystem, human life, or proliferation-resultant attacks. If someone is presented with an obtainable reward, but given the choice to either walk to recieve it with no threats, or to take risks of any sort to recieve the reward, the choice would and should be obvious.

For all of the aforementioned reasons in this debate, I strongly urge a vote for CON. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate and for responding in a serious manner, with effort shown, in contrast to some others.

First off, let's look at the energy we use in the United States now, as I stated before coal burning makes up about 50% of our energy production. According to the same source (that's [1] in the above round) 15% is generated through natural gas, and 3% comes from petroleum. These basically have the same problems as coal, minus the mining issues. They contain harmful chemicals and they emit toxins when burned (again, [1] from above round). Now that makes up for 69% of our energy, but where does the rest comes from? Well, nuclear makes up about 20% of our energy [10], leaving about 11% or so for renewable sources.

My opponent brings up wind, solar, hydrogen, and tidal energies. Now, I know a little about wind, solar, and hydrogen. But I am not that aware of tidal energy beyond the bare basics. I would love it if my opponent would provide backing that tidal energy is actually being used in America to generate energy, and how much energy it generates, percentage wise. As it isn't even listed on the Energy Information Administration's site, I would assume that it isn't a significant part of our energy make-up

Now, let's look a little at wind energy, solar energy, and hydrogen energy. These types of energy, while they may be non-polluting, are simply not economical. When choosing the energy make-up of our country, it is important to choose a main form of energy that can provide what is known as a base load power. A form of energy that can actually be economical, so that companies will choose it, and can take a big portion of our energy. Nuclear is the only base load power that is clean. There is simply no other choice [11] available at the present time or in the foreseeable future.

Now that we have seen that our present choice is basically between fossil fuels and nuclear power, let's look at why nuclear power is the superior choice:

Response to Contention 1:

The piece quoted excludes coal, precisely because the organization knows that coal does leave behind waste. As I have already shown, we only have two large-scale choices of energy at the present time. Coal, as I have already shown in the above round, produces 100 times the radiation of nuclear energy. So we see the harm from coal is greater than the harm from nuclear.

Now, I'd like to just talk about nuclear radiation. How much is produced? What effects has it had? Well, nuclear waste produced by a plant is less than a golf ball, per person, per year. About 40,000 tonnes (~44,092.5 tons) of waste come from nuclear plants from all across the WORLD every year. The whole world produces about 44,000 tons of nuclear waste. Compare that to the billions of tons of more radioactive waste from coal plants, and the choice is clear. Nuclear is the way to go. But, let's look less at the theory and more at the record. What has happened. Well, there has never been a single death or health incident in the United States from nuclear power in our almost sixty years of using it [13]. This includes its use on ships in the Navy, where men and women live and work on basically, floating nuclear reactors, for months or years of their lives. Again, compare this to coal. Under normal operation, coal and other fossil fuels kill 25,000 people EVERY YEAR [14]! The choice for the good of the citizens of the United States is clear.

Response to Contention 2:

There is simply no link between nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear power, anymore than there is a link between coal power and BBQ-caused house fires. The United States uses fuel from nuclear warheads. They are actually TAKING APART some of our weapons to use as fuel for nuclear reactors [15]. Using more nuclear power will, if anything, decrease weapons proliferation in the United States. In fact, it is far easier to make a nuclear weapon with plain uranium than with uranium fuel from a reactor [16]. No one is going to steal uranium fuel so they can have a tougher time making bombs. Now, up to this point, I've been summarizing the articles I cite, in my own words, however this article says it better than, I believe anyone really could. "The fissionable isotope of uranium must be enriched to 90% to create a weapon. In a reactor it is only 3%. You could not blow up a nuclear reactor if you tried." [17] It is simply impossible to take uranium from a reactor and turn it into a weapon.

Response to Conclusion:

This argument actually includes nuclear energy, as it is a form of alternative energy. The study cited included nuclear, as that is an alternative.

Source Comparison:

My opponents has used three sources, an admission from the IAEA (this argument doesn't actually stand anymore), the AES (this that my opponent actually mis-interpreted) and a Illinoisan anti-nuclear organization. I have used sixteen to this point, including the Energy Information Administration, the Washington Post, the National center for Policy Analysis, the Wall Street Journal, doctors, scientists, nuclear technicians, even a senator. It is obvious my sources are superior in enforcing the Resolution in the round you are viewing.


I would like to apologize to those who have to read this response as it is rather lengthy. I am very pro-nuclear and have a lot of information availably to me on the topic, that I could pack into here with almost no limit, so it rambles on a little. Thank you to those that persevered to the end of my response and to my opponent, who must slave through this lengthy read.


Nuclear energy simply is our only option other than fossil fuels on a large-scale, and we can see its superiority to fossil fuels. Consider it this way. There is a door, this door leads to energy. There are three paths. The first, renewable energy stops in a dead end short of the door. The second, fossil fuel power kills some of the people that pass through it and injures others. The third is nuclear power. It has never killed anyone and it goes all the way to the door. It doesn't have the downsides of other forms of energy. It is simply, the logical choice, the best choice, the choice for a cleaner, healthier, and wealthier America. Thank you!

[11]: I have many other sources saying the same thing, if the Con speaker or anyone else would like those URLs too.


kphkid forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


OK, my opponent forfeited. I deserve to win the following categories:

Conduct - My opponent left with no warning, no apology, no anything. This obviously goes to me.

Arguments - My opponent has given up. He decided he didn't want to argue about this topic anymore. No one else is actually making arguments other than me, so I get this one too.

Sources - I had more and better sources than my opponent, therefore, I win this issue.

I should get six out of the seven points from your votes for sure, as I did have a few grammar mistakes.


Man, you don't even know me.

I just had to drive 500 miles to a funeral for one of my closest friends. Sorry I can't always be on the computer 24/7.
I surely wanted to debate this topic, as I took it up in the first place.

Sure, my opponent won this debate. Vote for him. Unavoidable circumstances sometimes make you lose in life. Sorry that happened to me.
Debate Round No. 3


No further arguments, see above.


kphkid forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
gb did a surprisingly good job in this debate.
Posted by gbpacker 6 years ago
K, 27 minutes left. I'm guessing this means he forfeits. I'm kinda mad right now.
Posted by gbpacker 6 years ago
kphkid, what is the correct date on your study under Contention 1? I'm assuming it wasn't really July of 2010, as that hasn't happened yet. Also, could you include the URLs of where you got your information? Thank you!
Posted by gbpacker 6 years ago
Wow, that response took me, like an hour. lol I have too much time on my hands. Thank God for iTunes playing in the background or I would've gotten bored.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
I'm pro-nuclear power, but STRONGLY against subsidizing anything...I might take this.
Posted by gbpacker 6 years ago
I'd say yes, by a significant amount. Significant meaning at least a good 50% or so increase in nuclear power. I was thinking of putting down the loan guarantee program as a way of doing it. But I'd rather argue about whether it should be done than how to do it.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
That is an important word to define.

I, personally, would think it to mean. Take actions to make easier. Which could be subsidizing, or repealing restrictive laws, or various other things. However, I would also take it to mean, make easier a significant amount (or noticable amount). Cutting the needed paper work from 50 pages to 45 pages it technically making it easier, however, not by any important amount.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
By "encourage", do you mean "subsidize"? If not, then what DO you mean?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by gbpacker 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60