Are Nuclear Plants worth the risk?

With the devastation in Japan and with the spreading fears of a nuclear catastrophe, world is re thinking about the nuclear power once more. We have discussed the pros and cons of using nuclear energy before, but it is time to have a relook in today’s unique context.

Is nuclear power really cheap?

This is the first question came to my mind when I thought about nuclear power. The answer is, yes it is cheap. But the problem is it is not as cheap as we may think it is. When compared the fuels and operating costs, it is cheaper by a big margin. Nuclear power will cost around just 2 Cents (US$) compared with something like gas which will cost around 8 Cents or Oil which costs around 18 cents per Kilowatt Hour. Refer this for more information. In addition it is easy to transport the nuclear fuel, as it is concentrated. It emits much less carbon, which is very important.

But above figures are excluding the capital costs and indirect costs. When capital costs come in to the picture above figures do change. Cost of nuclear power goes up to around 11 cents/ Kilowatt hour while coal looks much cheaper at around 5 cents/ Kilowatt hour produced. (Refer this for more info). So nuclear power costs almost twice when compared with coal, when just $ are compared.

But coal is not available in abundance as Uranium is. So depending on coal is risky. Coal pollutes the environment heavily by releasing tons and tons of CO2. So environmentally, coal is much more costly. So nuclear power can be the more reliable and less polluting alternative for the fossil fuel.

Is nuclear power worth the risk?

The obvious next question is “If nuclear is not cheap, but a cost effective alternative, is it worth the risk?” If we are to release massive amounts of carbon by burning coal, day after day, we will have a problem. We cannot simply let it happen. We will face more and more natural disasters and the world we live in will be not suitable for living. In this context we will have to look for alternatives.

But obvious alternatives like solar and wind power are just being used in industry scale and still have their share of problems too. So only large scale and reliable alternative proven is nuclear power.

In this scenario, we are left with no other option but to go ahead with nuclear power. But we need to find safer ways of doing it.

In addition, if we stop harassing the nature by emitting tons and tons of CO2 and other poisonous gases, nature will not throw us challenges like earthquakes and Tsunamis making nuclear energy much safer.

10 Responses to “Are Nuclear Plants worth the risk?”

  1. Tomas says:

    Tons and tons of CO2 and other poisonous gases does not cause the earthquake and tsunami, it is caused by movement of the tectonic plates. The plates are moving all the time caused by the geothermal core activities.

  2. Sampath says:

    Though nuclear power for energy generation had a proven record in energy generation scenario, with the green energy gaining momentum, nuclear power must be scraped out keeping in view of ever growing hazardous nature of the process involved.
    With green energy generation techniques, the emission of CO2 is reduced and thereby increasing the carbon credits earned.Govt. should device polices to promote green energy more aggressively.

  3. the experiments says that renewable compare with other sources ,coal, fossil fuel, methane, and other greenhouses gases emits from cows for sake of decreasing polution, we believe cows may actually play a large role in contributing to the release of methane into the environment, and other ruminant animals, it has been shown that 100 cow give in one year 62 050 cubic meters of biogas, equivalent to 1303050 cubic meters of carbone dioxide, so the rich country must invest in these scopes better than Nuclear energy becouse when a disaster hapen it cost thousands times of cost these plants. so i advice to go forwards to renewable energy.

    eng. M. Alomari

  4. rick.jesseau says:

    coal pollutes the air with co2. and nuclear pollutes the earth with the left over waste
    damed if we do damed if we don,t with all we have created we can,t be left with only two options

  5. mario says:

    nuclear tehnology and energy is safe, bat man is hi who makes it uncertain.

  6. Arunraj says:

    I don’t agree with the nuclear power energy completely. Nuclear power do not cause much pollution, but i don’t agree that this is good alternative compared to wind and solar power.Wind and solar power are ecofriendly but nuclear power is not. Also if we are promotig wind power in a wider way we can produce a large amount of energy from it.There is no other risk for wind energy compairing to the nuclear energy

  7. Srikanth Satish Kumar Darapu says:

    Say ‘NO’ to Nuclear Energy! That’s it!

  8. Priyank Bharti says:

    yes of-course it is a bigger risk.

  9. Priyank Bharti says:

    yes it is a risk to human existence.

  10. Interesting discussion. A poistive is that if 1960s technology can weather though this type of natural disaster – indeed all that can be thrown at it – do we not feel a bit more confident about the safety of nuclear energy?

    And as others have said = nature does not respond to high levels of CO2 withearthquakes – I trust that was a mistake. Next you will be telling me that God had a part to play in the death of so many people…..

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