“Modern nuclear power plants are safe contrary to what people may think.” – Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla and SpaceX
The idea of nuclear power conjures up images of Chernobyl, Ukraine, Three Mile Island, United States and Fukushima, Japan in many people’s minds. The fear is real….and unreasonable.
But, as we all know, perception is often inaccurate and when we act (or neglect to act) on it without the facts, we tend to head in the wrong direction.
With so much emphasis on energy these days, it would seem rational that we would put our fear aside and examine the many options related to powering our world. Of all those options, nuclear is by far the safest and most efficient. It is among the most reliable ways to harness energy in the world. In the United States in particular, nuclear energy plants have extreme safety measures and maintain the highest standard for operational safety, security, cybersecurity and emergency preparedness. Bill Gates once said, “Nuclear energy, in terms of overall safety record, is better than other energy.”
Before I tout all the reasons we should be seriously considering nuclear power as an option to our power woes, let’s address the three examples I mentioned above. Three Mile Island, the only United States-based nuclear power incident was a significant turning point in the global development of nuclear power. It was a partial meltdown of the Unit 2 reactor on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. The investigation into the incident strongly criticized the companies and individuals responsible for the plant because the failure was due to lapses in quality assurance and maintenance, inadequate operator training, lack of communication, poor management and complacency. All of which are human-driven issues and, as such, can be mitigated. This incident did not result in adverse health or environmental consequences.
In the other two examples I mentioned, Fukushima and Chernobyl, both resulted in radiation exposure to the public greater than exposure via natural sources. However, only the latter, Chernobyl, had significant health and environmental consequences and they too were avoidable.
At this point, you may be thinking to yourself, “Let’s not risk it, even the small chance of a catastrophic failure at a nuclear plant isn’t worth it.” I disagree and would argue that the risk we are taking not harnessing this energy source is even greater.
If you’re worried about the environment and climate change, nuclear energy is cleaner than fossil fuels and nuclear plants have zero carbon emissions. By comparison, in the United States in 2021, coal peat and oil shale accounted for 999.3 MtCO2eq, natural gas accounted for 1,604.6 MtCO2eq. The abbreviation MtCO2eq is the industry way to compare emissions. It stands for a million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, 1 tonne is equal to 1,000 kilograms. Those numbers are astronomical, especially when compared to ZERO emissions.
If it’s population safety that concerns you, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 31 people died in the three months following the Chernobyl accident, two from the explosion and the remaining 29 from radiation exposure. For Fukushima, only one person died because of radiation exposure. At Three Mile Island, no one died. Nuclear energy has the lowest loss of life ratio of any on other form of energy production, including other forms of clean energy. By comparison, from both air pollution and accidents, coal and oil have death rates that are hundreds of times higher than nuclear energy.
CALL TO ACTION: When you factor in the number of lives that would be saved by a switch to nuclear energy, the risk is far greater if we don’t switch to nuclear power. Don’t take my word for it, research this topic. The data is out there and easy to verify. Nuclear power is simply better. It’s a solution to many of our energy problems and we need to start production of nuclear energy again, sooner rather than too late.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Originally Published: https://nevadabusiness.com/2023/03/lets-go-nuclear-a-misunderstood-energy-resource