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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
  • Word count: 4124

Is Nuclear Power the Answer for the Future?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Plan - Is Nuclear Power the Answer for the Future? Introduction 1. Write out question and explain what is meant by it. 2. Explain what nuclear power is. 3. How it works. 4. Explain a bit of the history of when the idea of using nuclear power started and was developed (explain what is meant by the term 'sustainable'). Main Core 1. Write out current 'pros and cons' of nuclear power. 2. Explain in detail each positive point. 3. Explain in detail every negative point. 4. Suggest alternatives and why they would/wouldn't be a good solution. Conclusion 1. Write out what some people think and why. 2. Give opposing views. 3. Write out my view. 4. Explain the reasoning behind my view. 5. Give overall statement after finishing the case study and answer the question fully. By James Harrison:) Contents Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Pros and cons of nuclear power Page 6 - Why we should use nuclear power Page 7 - Why we shouldn't use nuclear power Page 8 - Alternatives Page 13 - Conclusion Page 14 - Bibliography Introduction Is Nuclear Power The Answer For The Future? In recent years, the Earth has seen changes in its climate. The causes for this have been blamed on human behaviour as opposed to changes that have occurred naturally (http://www.bbc.co.uk/climate/evidence/). So the question 'Is Nuclear Power the Answer for the Future?' refers to the problem of climate change, and suggests that Nuclear Power could be the answer to this problem. This is because scientists claim the emission of greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is the principal constituent, are the cause of climate change. Nowadays, our main source of energy comes from burning fossil fuels, which generate vast amounts of CO2. Should we decide that Nuclear Power would be a sustainable source of power, we might be able to slow down or possibly even stop climate change, because Nuclear Power does not generate any appreciable CO2. ...read more.

Middle

Nuclear power has also been a successful way of powering other countries. Probably the best example is France. They make nearly all their electricity from nuclear power. They have made an electric train that can travel at 200 mph and thus can claim to be the only country that has intercity travel which is wholly carbon-free and non-polluting. "These green lobbies mean well, but their good intentions are truly the road to a hell of a climate" (Lovelock, 2007). Here, James Lovelock, who is famous for his Gaia theory and an active supporter of green energy, says that nuclear power would benefit the Earth more than fossil fuels would. That such an eminent eco-pundit should recommend nuclear power as a rational source of green (i.e. non CO2 producing) energy shows just how much this alternative is now being considered favourably in the face of the imminence of potentially catastrophic global climate change from greenhouse gas generation. Nuclear power has one key feature that is a big drawback, and that is that it produces waste, which at this moment in time, cannot be disposed of safely. The waste produced is highly toxic and radioactive. "Each 1000 megawatt nuclear power plant produces about 500 pounds of plutonium a year and about 30 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste." http://skeptically.org/onwars/id10.html. Although many say that nuclear power produces no CO2, they are referring to the fact that the nuclear process of electricity generation doesn't produce carbon dioxide, however, the procedures leading up to the generation of electricity emit the gas. Thus, uranium mining is a very CO2 intensive operation and so wouldn't be saving our planet to the extent that we thought it would. Also, if we are to fuel Britain with nuclear power, we will need to build many more nuclear power plants, and such building will also create CO2 and cost a colossal amount of money from all the expensive technology to build a power plant and all the workers being paid etc. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nuclear power stations would have to be carefully monitored regularly, especially the waste products so they don't get into the wrong hands. Also, the waste would have to be safely retained in a way which doesn't harm the environment until we find a way to dispose of it safely. Additionally, there would need to be an idea constructed in which all the costs involved in nuclear power such as building power plants would be curbed and controlled due to the massive amounts of debts countries are in today. Many people claim that nuclear power doesn't directly emit CO2 and therefore doesn't affect the earth's climate; however, it has been shown that vast amounts of CO2 are emitted during the cycle of making nuclear power from mining, fuel enrichment and plant construction which defeats the purpose of the argument. There are many other alternative energy sources that are in contention of being the 'fuel of the future'. Solar power is excellent in hot sunny countries and it is renewable, however, it can only produce energy for an average of 12 hours a day and possibly less in countries further away from the Earth's equator. Wind power does not produce a significant measure of energy when considering how vast the wind farm would have to be to make a difference in our impending fuel crisis. Additionally, creating such sources of energy cost substantial amounts of money and produce considerable quantities of CO2 via their construction. Tidal and wave energy produce no anthropogenic pollution, however, wave energy is unpredictable in consistency of energy produced daily and tidal only provides energy for 10 hours. I am aware that renewable sources don't produce enough power to fuel Britain but they could certainly contribute, and all the energy we get from renewable sources, rather than nuclear power, would be helping our environment as much as possible yet still nuclear power is looking an inevitability if we don't make significant progress in sources such as hydrogen fusion other energy sources that produce a low amount of CO2 and high yields of energy. ...read more.

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