Some people hail nuclear power as the answer to all of our energy problems - others think it will cause the destruction of the earth. McCain fully endorses this source of energy, while Obama has now seemed to reluctantly accept it. What are the real facts and real dangers?
1. Compared to coal and oil, nuclear energy produces a negligible amount of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases.
2. Nuclear power plants can be built almost anywhere in our country, unlike oil which is mostly imported.
3. It's cheaper to obtain. More people can afford to have and use energy, hopefully giving a boost to our economy.
4. The waste produced is small and compact.
5. There has not been an accident since Chernobyl in the 1980s.
1. There is no safe way to dispose of radioactive waste. The material takes thousands of years to break down and outlasts the steel containers it is put into, meaning it could contaminate its surroundings.
2. Yucca Mountain, the proposed nuclear waste dumpster, is not only a sacred Native American land, but is also on top of a earthquake fault line.
3. Nuclear power plants produce thermal pollution - they require an incredible amount of water to cool down the interior. The water is then let out back into a body of water. The warmed water is harmful to marine wildlife. I have read that one power plant requires the same amount of water as the city of Chicago in one day.
4. Disasters and near melt-downs have occurred in the past.
5. Using more radioactive material could make it easier for terrorists to get a hold of dangerous substances.
6. No one wants to live near a power plant. When they are built, the people who cannot afford to move away are the ones disproportionately harmed.
7. The unknown. Do we really know all the effects and consequences?
So, do the pros outweigh the cons? Are the benefits worth the risks? I'm more well-versed on the cons of nuclear power, so if anyone has any opinions, please comment. What are your thoughts?
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