Nuclear Power: Advantages and Disadvantages

ADVANTAGES:

  • Nuclear power plants don't require a lot of space - they have to be built on the coast, but do not need a large plot like a wind farm.
  • It doesn't contribute to carbon emissions - no CO2 is given out - it therefore does not cause global warming.
  • It does not produce smoke particles to pollute the atmosphere.
  • Nuclear energy is by far the most concentrated form of energy - a lot of energy is produced from a small mass of fuel. This reduces transport costs - (although the fuel is radioactive and therefore each transport that does occur is expensive because of security implications).
  • It is reliable. It does not depend on the weather. We can control the output It is relatively easy to control the output - although the time factor for altering power output is not as small as for fossil fuel stations.
  • It produces a small volume of waste (although that waste is radioactive - see below)

DISADVANTAGES:

  • Disposal of nuclear waste is very expensive. As it is radioactijive it has to be disposed of in such a way as it will not pollute the environment.
  • Decommissioning of nuclear power stations is expensive and takes a long time. (In fact we have not ever decommissioned one!)
  • Nuclear accidents can spread radiation producing particles over a wide area, This radiation harms the cells of the body which can make humans sick or even cause death. Illness can appear or strike people years after they were exposed to nuclear radiation and genetic problems can occur too. A possible type of reactor disaster is known as a meltdown. In a meltdown, the fission reaction of an atom goes out of control, which leads to a nuclear explosion releasing great amounts of radioactive particles into the environment. See Chernobyl.