In our society, nuclear energy has become one of the most criticized
forms of energy by the environmentalists. Thus, a look at nuclear energy
and the environment and its impact on economic growth.


Lewis Munford, an analyst, once wrote, “Too much energy is as fatal as
too little, hence the regulation of energy input and output not its
unlimited expansion, is in fact one of the main laws of life.” This is
true when dealing with nuclear power. Because our societies structure and
processes both depend upon energy, man is searching for the most efficient
and cheapest form of energy that can be used on a long term basis. And
because we equate power with growth, the more energy that a country uses, –
the greater their expected economic growth. The problem is that energy is
considered to have two facets or parts: it is a major source of man-made
repercussions as well as being the basis of life support systems.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Therefore, we are between two sections in which one is the section of
“resource availability and waste”, and the other “the continuity of life
support systems pertinent to survival.”
Thus, the environmentalists believe that nuclear energy should not be
used for various reasons. First of all, the waste product, i.e. plutonium,
is extremely radioactive, which may cause the people who are working or
living in or around the area of storage or use, to acquire leukemia and
other cancers. They also show how billions of dollars are spent yearly on
safety devices for a single reactor, and this still doesn’t ensure the
impossibility of a “melt down.” Two examples were then given of Chernobyl
and Three Mile Island, in 1979, when thousands of people were killed and
incapacitated. Finally, the environmentalists claim that if society wastes
less energy, and develops the means to use the energy more efficiency, then
there would be a definite decrease in the requirement for more energy
producing plants.


On the other hand, some business men and economists say that the
present conditions should be kept intact, as the other forms of energy,
e.g. oil, natural gas and coal, are only temporary, in dealing with
surplus, and give off more pollution with less economic growth.

Concurrently, countries wanted a more reliable, smokeless form of energy
not controlled by OPEC, and very little uranium was required to produce
such a high amount of resultant energy. Lastly, they said that renewable
energy is (a) unreliable in that the wind, for example, could not be
depended upon to blow, nor the sun to shine, and (b) were intermittent in
that a 1,000 mega-watt solar farm may occupy about 5,000 acres of land,
compared with less than 150 acres of land for a similar capacity nuclear
power generation station.


Because the energy technology that society employs directly influences
the quantity and quality of life, the energy option that is chosen should
have the greatest cost- benefit effectiveness as well as maximizing
flexibility and purchases. However, those who believe in continuous energy
consumption growth, seem to forget that there is only a limited supply of
energy in every energy system, and to “overdo” any resource may provide for
an unacceptable impact upon global and regional ecology.


Thus, if the business world pushes the environment as far as it can
go, Ceribus Paribus, please refer to figure 1. Thus, to use petroleum as a
substitute for uranium, which is needed to power the nuclear system, would
not be economically or environmentally sensible. I say this because, first
of all, there is a major supply of uranium considering it was one of the
last energy sources to be found as well as only a small amount of it is
required to produce a lot of energy. Secondly, petroleum gives off carbon
monoxide which is one of the reasons for ozone depletion; whereas, the
uranium does not give off pollution except that it produces plutonium which
needs to be buried for more than fifty years to get rid of its radiation.

Finally, because so much of the petroleum will be required to power the
vast area that nuclear energy can cover, the cost to us as the consumer
would be massive! This would mean slower economic growth and/or expansion,
especially when compared to nuclear energy. Therefore: Ceribus Paribus –
(a) if the cost decreases, the demand increases, and – (b) if the cost
increases, the demand decreases. Please refer to figures #2 and #3
respectively.


Nuclear plants are now replacing coal burning plants. It will cost
the taxpayers far more

Author