Will the U.S. Build More Nuclear Power Stations?
As concerns about climate change mount, the pressure on the oil industry continues to build and the coal industry struggles to clean up its emissions, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says “it’s essential that the United States license new nuclear plants”. Much demonized, nuclear power has the singular advantage of containing all of its emissions in nuclear waste, which, as hazardous material, must be contained immediately and indefinitely. This differs from coal power in that its emissions can be released into the atmosphere without immediate and dangerous side effects being evident. Another benefit of nuclear waste is that there are new technologies that can generate heat energy from spent nuclear waste, thereby providing additional energy from the radioactive material.
It has been 30 long years since the last nuclear power plant was built, as the United States citizens and their government frowned on the technology due to the fact that nuclear waste is so hazardous to contain, not to mention the potential for accidents like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Another major concern with nuclear power plants is that the water used to cool the reactor cores needs to be cleaned up before it can be discharged back into nature. In the past, this process has not always been regulated properly.
President Bush is receptive about the possibility of modern nuclear power plant construction in America, as he has discussed in some of his press releases to the public. According to the energy secretary, the demand for electricity in America is constantly increasing, and he thinks nuclear power is the only large scale solution to this supply and demand problem.
While sustainable and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biomass and geothermal are much safer technologies, most industry sources agree that they cannot provide enough electricity to meet the demand of the American consumer. Sustainable energy sources will be a part of the ratio of future American electricity resources, but it may not be as big a part as we had hoped.
Voice your opinions about this impending nuclear power question. How do you feel about nuclear power? What are the risks and benefits? If the U.S. does not go with nuclear power, what alternatives exist? Is there a power plant nearby your home that you want to put on the Eco-mmunity Map?
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