We will need nuclear energy to be used more in the future.
Debate Rounds (4)
The first round is reserved for accepting the challenge: I personally am a big backer of nuclear energy but I would like to see what other peoples opinions are.
My point: though nuclear energy is capable of producing more energy than most other forms of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, it is not a tenable long-term lifeline for us to use. Given the numerous risks, waste, and rarity of resources, it is best used for places that have no access to better forms of power, such as geothermal plants or hydroelectric dams. It's a great concept that works, but I don't think it'll be an extremely useful resource in the future unless major improvements can be made to the systems that run them.
You post your points first. :)
Well many people see it as being a risk to the people working their however this belief is unfounded since there have only been around 100 nuclear accidents despite the fact that nuclear power has been being used for almost 60 years now (http://en.wikipedia.org...) not to mention that the benefits of a pretty much inexhaustible method of obtaining electricity far out way the risks (in my opinion).
This is even without mentioning the fact that nuclear energy emits no greenhouse gasses as many of our current ways of obtaining electricity do. Some will say that it is far worse for the environment however this is also untrue since it has been shown on http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com... that your average coal plant emits roughly 300,000 tonnes of waste each year, these pollutants, which include arsenic and even in some cases mercury, are far more damaging to the environment that your average nuclear plant is.
You will probably mention a catastrophic incident such as Fukushima however most of these incidents happened in extreme circumstances such as hurricanes, tsunami's or earthquakes which are all unavoidable natural hazards.
Almost any type of power plant we create is vulnerable to the weather: solar panels need sunlight, wind turbines need wind, etc. There is unfortunately no renewable energy source which doesn't, in some shape or form, rely on something temperamental ergo nuclear, whilst somewhat dangerous, is still a far more rewarding and optimal way to produce electricity.
Many governments have seen that this is required, probably the most famous being japan (which has a full 54 nuclear generators available to it) http://en.wikipedia.org.... But more and more countries are realizing this is one of the only ways to stay sustainable in a coal and oil free future https://www.gov.uk....
I will concede to you that nuclear energy is, ultimately, one of the most reliable sources of renewable fuel in the world, but I do not believe it is a source of energy that can last for the next thousand years, at least not as the primary source of fuel.
Contrary to popular belief, nuclear reactors don"t "explode" when they suffer a meltdown, but incidents like Fukushima and Chernobyl are bound to occur (rendering the surrounding areas unfit for any kind of life indefinitely as a result of fallout, http://library.thinkquest.org... ). Every precaution is taken to avoid these, but the impact of a meltdown is still catastrophic (1 in a million still makes this: http://www.eia.gov...)
Uranium is already a resource lacking in abundance, and the enrichment process takes time. As such, thorium is rapidly being used to replace traditional uranium, since it does not suffer from the same overheating problems as U-238 (nearly no meltdowns). http://www.power-technology.com...
But for some reason, this is an unfunded project. Thorium would potentially destroy any need for plutonium-uranium reactors and create much more sustainable plants. SEE: http://en.wikipedia.org...
But as with all nuclear energy projects, Thorium produces radon-220 and radiation that, if leaked into nearby water supplies after being in contact with a reactor, could produce terrible long-term effects, increasing the risks of all kinds of disease, particularly lung cancer. And since thorium has a half-life longer than the age of Earth, it wouldn"t go away any time soon. And it still requires the costly equipment.
So here are the major cons of long-term nuclear energy:
Though risks are negligible for all nuclear projects, the effects of that ONE meltdown or leak would still be around for, potentially, centuries. Plus, these plants produce all kinds of radioactive waste that, given the half-life of radioactive materials, would need to be stored for thousands of years which, again, could have serious long-term damage involved.
There is no doubt that nuclear energy will play a major role in a fossil-fuel-free future. But what Walt Disney didn"t see was how it could be disruptive to our environment and our health just as much as it is beneficial. So while they may currently produce such massive sources of energy (http://www.eia.gov...), costly nuclear reactors are probably best suited for more energy-heavy projects, like, say, spaceships. Or lighting Hong Kong. Taxpayer money in Industrial countries would be best spent improving safer and cheaper forms of energy. A wind farm has a low return now, but technological advances could set it above nuclear plants one day in dollar-to-kilowatt ratio. Same with solar energy and hydroelectricity. It"s all about technology. Uranium, in a sense, is also a fossil fuel- minerals only last so long before they run out. Even if we do build a lot of plants, a resource like that won"t be around forever, and we all know what humans will do for important rocks.
Secondly, these resources would not be beneficial to poor countries. http://nuclearinfo.net...
India, the UK, Japan, and the US may make great use of a few new cooling towers, but West Africans are much better off recycling e-waste to fashion makeshift power supplies in their backyard. Ultimately, these plants will only benefit societies in which they are affordable and there is not a central group trying to keep these influences out. So why not focus on projects like this: http://www.businessweek.com..., that just about anyone can make, use, and afford?
My apologies if I sound a bit jumbled- I'm trying to type this on a mobile device and it's getting a bit scatterbrained. Maybe next time I can make it a little bit more sensible.
All I'm saying is that as technology expands and grows, so too will renewable energy products- and given the risks, nuclear energy might best be left as a secondary source of power, much like wind and solar are now.
You then said that wind power is more viable but I did some research and if you reference the UK's energy requirements (https://www.cia.gov...) and the average amount of power a wind turbine can produce (http://en.wikipedia.org...) as well as the fact that in the UK the average turbine runs at around ~30% capacity and given these calculations you would require over 60,000 turbines which would cover ~10% of the UK's land mass, that sounds bad to start off with but thinking about the backup plants and energy storage needed to smooth things out and it just wouldn't be practical given the landmass you would need to use.
You said that thorium could damage the water supply but you forget, so does coal, it causes acid rain damaging the water supply and the surrounding ecosystem to a massive degree, and this could even strike far away if the rain is carried overseas or into a populated area. Chemicals such as arsenic are also used in coal power plants and if this was to come into contact with water supply it would render that water harmful yet coal plants are still used with incredible frequency. My point here being that no energy resource we use is going to be 100% safe, there is a dangerous element to all major ways of producing power, yes we have wind turbines or solar panels however the land mass these would require and how temperamental they are just makes them impractical to put all our faith in.
You say that an average meltdown could last over centuries and this is in fact the case however most of the uranium used in nuclear plants is treated so that were a meltdown to occur the radiation would only last 30-100 years rather than centuries like you said.
sorry for the short argument, I'm not all that experienced with debates
jtfrost12 forfeited this round.
You pointed out earlier that there are less meltdowns and nuclear waste accidents however I would like to point out that Fukushima shows that, even back when nuclear power was still newly discovered and our safety technology was not as good, the effects were relatively light.
You also said that we are running out of several of the elements used for nuclear fission. Whilst this is true nuclear power is not based solely of fission which involves those elements, fusion uses hydrogen atoms, the most common in the universe and as such we will not run out of this fuel any time soon.
I would also like to point out that nuclear energy is the only viable "green" option for energy once our supply of coal is depleted.
sorry for the lack of arguments, I would normally use this to try and refute your previous points.
jtfrost12 forfeited this round.
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