The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 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 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/28/2012 Category: Technology
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,797 times Debate No: 25888
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




First round for acceptance and definitions.

nuclear power: power derived from nuclear energy. [1]
reasonable approach: needs no defining.

2 rounds for arguments and rebuttals
voting period 2 weeks
72 hours to argue
8000 character limit.

Good luck.



I accept the debate.
The energy problem is an important and urgent problem facing us today.
I hope this will be an enlightening debate.
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" Department of Public Health & Environnment January 2007


I believe nuclear energy is not a reasonable approach to generating electlicity compared with other forms of power generating methods currentry in use in the world today. We must keep in mind that nuclear energy has a number of disadsvantages as a reasonable energy source.
Firstly, nuclear energy brings about more dangerous effects not only on the environment but on the life of human beings than fossil energies like oil and coal. For example, some of the car industries of the world are introducing environment-friendly vehicle like an electlic car these days. This contributes to reducing the emission of carbon dioxide
drastically. This means that one of the disadvantages of fossil energies are being coped with by new technologies year by year. However, we can not find these developments in the field of nuclear energy.
For example, we must pay attention to the waste called radioactive produced from nuclear power plants.
``The waste remains radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. This is the biggest problem with nuclear energy.``(
Unfortunately, a safe way to deal with the disposal of nuclear waste is not found and developed.
Therefore, disposal is a serious problem. And if there is an earthquake, a large amount of radioactive waste which have been stored will be leaked. (
We must recognize that ``the effects of routine releases of radioactivity from nuclear plants depend somewhat on how the spent fuel is handled. A typical estimate is that they may reduce our life expectancy by 15minutes.``(

Secondly, we can point out the risks of nuclear power plants. First risk is that people living near nuclear power plants have a risk of suffering from cancer ``due to long term exposure to low levels of radiation released from nuclear power plants.``(
Second risk is that there is a possibility of attacking on nuclear power plants by terrorist groups.( The important thing is that ``nuclear power plant accidents can not be avoided 100 percent.``(

Thirdly, the construction of new nuclear power plant needs much time and a lot of money.
``Plants must invest heavily in containment systems and emergency plans. Extensive backup systems must be built and contingency plans must be developed to handle the rare threat of core meltdown.``(

Finally, in the developed countries many people are protesting against the building of nuclear power plants because of the danger and many risks which they produce. For example, ``there has not been a new nuclear facility in the United States of America since the much-publicized Three Mile Island incident. Furthermore, there are more than 40 special interest groups in the country that have been formed in protest and counter of the nuclear power industry.``(

As I have argued so far, nuclear energy brings about many detrimental effects not only to society but to the health of human beings. Therefore, nuclear power is not a reasonable approach to generating electricity.

Rebuttals are moved for Round 3.
Debate Round No. 2


I believe my opponents arguments boild down to the matters of:
a) Safety for the environment
b) Safety for humans
c) Cost
His last argument did not attempt to negate the resolution and thus I will not address it.

a) My opponent quite obviously did not read my arguments which demonstrated that nuclear plants are the cleanest non-renewable resource. His claim that technology is making them better than nuclear is also invalid and unsourced. The impovements he speaks of that are being done to cars only work due to the fact that the methods employed to run the engines are becoming more efficient. In a fossil plant, all efficiency is determined by the quality of the fuel. His next contention against nuclear power plants is that a safe way to deposit radioactive waste is non-existent. Please read my previous post, as for the notion that earthquakes can break these chambers? Unreasonable. The deposits are built into hard rock in the middle of tectonic plates. Their designers considered just about everything that could go wrong, from terrorist strikes to volcanic activity, these deposits are safe.

b) My opponents argument that nuclear power hurts people can be dismissed by the following statistic: for each person killed by nuclear power generation, 4,000 die from coal. [1] So how can you argue that Coal isn't as destructive to human life?

c) My opponent claims that the construction costs of a nuclear power plant are rediculously high, and thus we shouldn't build them. The cost of a nuclear power plant is quite expensive during the construction phase but is amazingly cheap in the maintanence and running factor. My opponent curiously forgot to put this fact in. Maybe because it trashes his argument? I think so. After a while of running a nuclear power station, you would save more money than coal plants, and you would save more lives too.

In conclusion, my opponent has given us no good reason to belive why he is correct, I look forward to his defense and rebuttals.



I present Rebuttals regarding to Pro`s arguments for Round 2.
A) Pro says that ``coal-fired power plants as the single largest industrial contributers to this crisis, producing carbon dioxide, fine particulates, and cancerous heavy metals including mercury.``(
However, in the developed country like the U.S. I understand that new, innovative technology is being tackeled for coping with the defects of coal power as a energy source.
We must admit ``coal-fired power plants generate 52 percent of the electricity in the United States.``( And ``Modern coal-fired power plants produce 90 percent less of major air pollutants than previous generations, and because of their increased efficiency, they emit less carbon dioxide(CO2) into the atmosphere per kilowatt produced.``(

We must pay attention to the economic benefits of coal.
For example, according to the researchers at Pennsylvania State University, ``By 2015, the annual benefit of coal use at currently projected levels is estimated at more than 1 trillion dollars in gross domestic product(GDP), 360billion dollars in additional household income and nearly 7 million jobs.``(
Furthermore, ``a 66percent reduction in coal-fired electric power generation would reduce GDP by 371 billion dollars, household income by 142billion dollars and employment by 2.7 million.``(

Therefore, coal-fired electric power generations play an important role in American economy.
We can say that coal-fired electric power is not inferior to nuclear power from the economic and social point of view.

B) Pro argues wind and solar power. I present my opinion.
Wind power needs stable amount of wind blow and solar power needs stable amount of sun shine.
However, coal-fired power plant can generate electricity constantly and safely if the operation of plants are effectively controlled. Therefore, it is better than wind and solar power.

Conclusion: Oil, coal and nuclear power are three major approach to generating electricity.
Each of them has advantages and disadvantages. It is important that each country must choose the best energy from among them by taking the economic, social and financial situation into consideration.
It is urgentry required that government and industry of the world should spend much money in developing a energy source constantly which is less harmful not only for the environment and the planet but for the human being for a long time.
From above arguments I believe that nuclear power is not the best approach to generating electricity.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by elplaga08 6 years ago
Sorry im tired i know my spelling was that of a 3rd grader
Posted by elplaga08 6 years ago
Fukasheema, 3 mile island, chernoble, russian military ships. So radiation leaks and mishaps are ok? Kind of weird he didnt finish with the fact that more plants means more spent fuel rods. We have nowhere to put them now so what are we gonna do with them? Or the fact that "glow trains" are expensive and dangerous.
Posted by Smithereens 6 years ago
Ahem, Con? you forgot to refute my arguments in the last round. Ah well, no matter. :P
Posted by Smithereens 6 years ago
Cheers, how nice of you. I rarely see an encouraging comment posted on any debates. :P
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
I like this topic, unfortunately I'm quite busy right now, but I hope you get a good debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by KuriouserNKuriouser 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed that current nuclear energy practices are relatively safe. Pro's argument of the detriment to human health and life expectancy, plus the significant costs of healthcare due to coal were convincing. Con's rebuttals, such as that they are working on new developments in efficiency or the relatively insignificant detriments of nuclear energy, did not sufficiently rebut this argument.