The U.S. should reconsider the Light Water nuclear reactors for a far less damaging Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. Yes it uses a radioactive power source but this releases Alpha Radiation with very little Gamma radiation. Also, this can bring down some of the waste from Light Water reactors since part of the waste can be used as a kick starter for a LFTR and the nuclear waste will burn out in the reaction process. So what happens to the depleted Thorium Salts? while it still is radioactive instead of 2,000+ year half life it is only a 200 year half life until the radiation goes away
The selling point for nuclear energy has been its low environmental impact. However, we are unable to effectively dispose of the waste, without it being a continuing threat to the environment wherever it is disposed of. Even when placed in containers thought to be safe and impermeable, there is a chance that those containers can be breached. If we cannot find a method in which to burn off or otherwise destroy the residual radioactive materials that are the side effect of nuclear energy, the possibility for environmental contamination remains. We should hold off on all future nuclear power developments and focus solely on safe, effective methods of waste disposal, until the problem is solved.
Before approval, nuclear energy's total costs, including pollution, should be compared closely with other forms of electricity production. It is possible that the benefits outweigh the costs, but nuclear energy is expensive to build and maintain. Hydro-electric power and newer "clean coal" technologies would make more sense, if nuclear is really a larger polluter.
It is not clear why any support for nuclear energy plants exists, considering the fiasco in Japan. There are several safer options that pose little or no risk to people or the environment. These sustainable sources of energy are the only new energy plants that should be encouraged. We do not need help in destroying the world. We need to work on saving it.
If there is new evidence than nuclear energy pollutes the environment, law makers and policy advisers should re-examine their positions on nuclear energy. While it may be the case that the benefits of nuclear energy outweigh the costs, the new estimates of the pollution created by nuclear plants should be included in the debate.
I feel the U.S. should definitely reconsider its plans. We are currently in the midst of a global warming crisis and are experiencing extreme climate change. Building new nuclear plants presents a risk of only making the problem worse, especially since they have found that they are more harmful to the environment than initially thought.
Being found to pollute as much as traditional energy sources, yet with the added bonus of potential nuclear meltdown, it makes no sense to continue to pursue this form of energy. We are moving toward green energy in the form of wind, solar, and increased use of hydro. It makes no sense to continue to pursue this dangerous form of energy when there are so many better alternatives.
Day by day, our world is suffering because of pollution. Whether from car exhaust or factories, our earth is deteriorating. If we can take small steps, like creating better plants that don't produce pollutants in their fumes, we can slow the process and lengthen the life of not only the people, but the world itself.
There are three problems with focusing our resources on developing nuclear energy as a primary energy source for America. First, not enough research has been performed to clearly define the health risks. These risks come from possible undetected and/or unexpected radiation leakage from the nuclear plants, and also from the manner in which the plant could cause corruption of the ground water and the ground itself in areas surrounding the plants. Second, we have not done sufficient research into the stability of the ground under and around the plants. We know relatively little about platelet activity in most of the earth's crust. Nuclear energy is the only energy source that poses a danger because of possible earthquake activity.
Third, and possibly the most compelling: We have NO way of "fixing" the highly radioactive spent fuel rods. We say we can just "store them" in a mountain. This is NOT a solution. We are merely hiding the evidence that we are permanently polluting the earth we live on.
We should focus our financial and other resources on developing a broad range of alternative environmentally friendly energy sources, and let nuclear energy go the way of the dinosaurs.
Rather than build new nuclear energy plants, it would be better if the government and private businesses put more effort and funding toward non-polluting energy sources, like wind, solar, or hydroelectric power, or some other sources that haven't been discovered yet. The investment in research toward cleaner and sources of energy will pay off in the long run.
In 2000, the US DOE published a plan for a plant that converts long term nuclear waste to isotopes that decay quickly. France and Japan glassify waste to isolate it from the environment. Eventually the glassified waste will be converted, but now the economics favor storing it. The glass has to be reprocessed every 150 years. The US should move immediately to the glassification system. Storing waste in mountains works also works fine; that's where the waste from weapons programs is stored. Anti-nuclear activists prevent using the practical waste disposal solution.
Energy consumption is a growing problem in the United States, where its society relies heavily upon electricity. The growing problems are pollution, along with supply and demand. Building new nuclear energy plants will provide the resources that the U.S. needs to maintain high levels of productivity. Some benefits to these new nuclear energy plants would be job creation, opportunities for contractors and suppliers to generate new business, and research into cleaner energy production.
They are a great polluter and can be environmentally unstable, potentially wreaking long-term havoc on ecosystems and human beings. It would be much better if the U.S. aggressively devoted its resources to further developing clean energy sources, like solar, wind and hydro.
Nuclear power has been used by many countries for years as a primary energy source, without a pollution problem being evident. The person asking this question is obviously confused. What "new evidence" are they talking about? The pollution in Japan was caused by a freak accident that a tsunami caused. Unless the person can provide evidence other than this, then there's nothing to debate about.
I believe we still have a need for nuclear power plants. They do pollute the air, but this is not a good enough reason to call for the U.S. to stop approving new plants. The main reason for this is the United States is still far from an alternative energy solution that would replace nuclear power. It should be noted that, in the future, it may be viable to remove the plants because of pollution. However, it is not at this present time.