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Jake Steele

Period 4

Nuclear Sustainability: For Nuclear Power


For years the debate of nuclear energy holds the place as the most controversial topic in
all of nuclear science. After one researches about the topic, and weighs the pros and cons, it is
obvious to be supportive of nuclear energy. Despite the words nuclear power having a negative
and ominous connotation due to superstitions, the nuclear industry is one of the safest and highly
regulated businesses in the United States. For many, the disaster at Fukushima intimidated and
maybe even turned opinions about nuclear power, but the Nuclear Energy Institute offers a
comprehensive response program to deal with such emergencies. Nuclear energy is also much
cleaner than any other form of fossil fuel; it gives off the least amount of carbon-dioxide and
outputs the most power per pound out of all energy resources. The only negative part about
nuclear energy is the nuclear waste, but one does not need to worry because the spent nuclear
waste is handled with the greatest care. It is taken into facilities that are highly regulated and
protected. There are plans already constructed and put into motion to eliminate nuclear waste
safely. Also, the possibility that one will discover how to eliminate nuclear waste in the near
future is very high. Nuclear energy is the practical and rational resource for energy proven by the
viable options for handling spent nuclear waste, the safety of nuclear power, the beneficial
environmental impacts, and other energy possibilities possess abundant drawbacks which far
exceed nuclear energys setbacks.
On the topic of handling nuclear waste, there are three main types of storage. The first
and widely approved/used option is through geologic storage. This is the safest and most logical
way because the waste comes in no contact with life as it slowly diminishes into a less
radioactive state. This option is also the least expensive way of nuclear storage. After the
Fukushima accident in 2011, new, well-thought out plans of safekeeping were proposed and
used. The main function of a geological storage for nuclear waste is to protect it from the
environment until it has decayed into a non-radioactive substance. Geological disposals contain
three features of protection from the environment: corrosion resistant containers where the waste
is stored, retarding material placed around the waste containers, and the geological formation
itself which isolates the waste from the environment. The second way of storage is below
geological formations under the sea floor, also referred to as subsea bed disposal. Finally, the last
way is in a glacier which is expensive and not practical currently. In all countries using nuclear
energy there are well established procedures for storing, managing and transporting such wastes,
funded from electricity users. Wastes are contained and managed, not released. Storage is safe
and secure; plans are well in hand for eventual disposal (www.world-nuclear.org).
Nuclear power is one of the most safe and protected industries in the United States. With
over four decades of focused experience and technology, this business develops strategies and
tactical procedures in order to keep the title of being one of the safest places in the U.S.. The
number one priority of the power plants is safety. They do this by staying communicated and
discussing issues and resolutions for issues that occur. For the past few years, the training for
workers on the nuclear plants has increased to ensure safety for themselves and the community.
Yet, people still question nuclear plants safety because of the Fukushima disaster. In response to
this, the Nuclear Energy Institute launched a new program called FLEX to guarantee safety in
the plants. Because of this technology the United States is more protected and safer than ever
from nuclear incidents. The FLEX program deals with the problems Fukushima faced: loss of

Jake Steele
Period 4
power to maintain effective cooling. If the reactor cores are cool, the plant is safe, and that is the
number one priority (nei.org). David Heacock clarifies the ambiance of nuclear plants when he
states We have backups, and then we have backups for the backups. The FLEX technology is
named appropriately because it is a flexible approach to respond to all types of issues. This new
technology implements back-up generators and coolers in and closely around the power plant.
Lastly, the government secures a ten mile radius around the plant to protect the public and the
environment and to ensure maximum safety if a nuclear meltdown occurs. Because of the
communication, experience, new technology, and care for the community and environment,
nuclear power plants have evolved to become the most trusted and safest industries in the States.
Even though some believe nuclear waste is destructive to the environment, the impact is
virtually nothing compared to the power it outputs. The radioactive waste nuclear energy gives
off is relatively small compared to the emissions of wastes done by fossils fuels. Despite many
beneficial causes to the environment, uranium is dangerous to mine and transport. There is no
guarantee that the processes will be accident free, but the companies that handle the task are
well-respected and do a good job. Nuclear energy is good for the atmosphere because it outputs
the most energy and emits the least amount of carbon-dioxide into the environment compared to
any form of fossil fuel. In addition, the radioactive waste poses the same the same level of
radioactivity as the natural, uranium ore. Meaning that the radioactive element is equal in
radiation and was already in geologic features from the start; so, no more radioactivity is added
to the environment. Furthermore, the water used in the nuclear generators does not come in
contact with the radioactive elements. For this reason, the cooling ponds are often developed as
wetlands and the water is almost clean enough to drink. Lastly, nuclear plants take up the least
amount of space for their energy; from a land use perspective, multi-reactor nuclear power
plants like Palo Verde in Arizona can at a single, confined location produce electricity in
quantities that would require over sixty square miles of photovoltaic panels, and anywhere from
fifteen to over one-hundred and eighty square miles of wind turbines (inlportal.inl.gov). The
extreme land usage of wind turbines and solar panels take away much needed habitat for the
animals that surround the areawith the animals getting pushed out by the construction of new
homes and cities, animals are constantly retreating. Nuclear plants, despite having a reputation
for giving off waste, are the friendliest form of energy to the environment electrical technology
today has to offer.
A decent portion of the public does not believe nuclear energy is a good alternative
source of fuel. Most of this opinion comes from a few irrational thoughts. First, they believe
using nuclear energy produces too much waste and we should use renewable resources instead of
nonrenewable. Second, they believe if a plant got in the wrong hands, it could be used like a
nuclear bomb. Third, people are worried that a terrible incident like Chernobyl would occur and
kill or wound the public or community. Through reason and thought, these accusations are easily
proven invalid by a few rational ideas. Primarily, using nuclear energy as fuel instead of a
renewable resource is much cheaper, and new safe methods for the final disposal of high-level
radioactive waste are technically proven states world-nuclear.org. Secondly, one does not need
to fear nuclear plants getting taken over because they have a 24/7 patrol of the area, the best and
most complex defensive tactics, and underground artillery states Douglas Steele, a marine based
out of Camp Pendleton. Lastly, ever since Chernobyl, new ideas and plans have sprung forth to
assert it wont happen again and the industry has constantly been progressing and learning from
its mistakes. For the people who still are against nuclear power, I would like to emphasize that
nuclear energy is used in one out of every five homes in America. Meaning nuclear energy is

Jake Steele
Period 4
responsible for 20% of the electrical energy and all other alternative ways combined add up to a
measly 14%. Adding on, nuclear plants pose minute threats to the environment and take up the
least amount of space compared to the other alternative energy producers. If we didnt use
nuclear energy in America, we wouldnt be able to sustain ourselves. Furthermore, alternative
sources of energy, like solar and wind power, are only available part of the time (when the sun is
shining and the wind is blowing) when nuclear energy is available 24/7. Nuclear energy is a
necessity to America because without it, we would not have enough electrical power to operate.
The cheapest, environmentally friendly, and powerful source of electrical energy is
nuclear power. Nuclear plants are safe, regulated and the industry communicates with each other
consistently and progresses every day. Nuclear power is used in around thirty-three different
countries and powers the Mars rovers. The nuclear waste is efficiently stored and safely shielded
away from the environment. The energy output of nuclear power is not equaled by any other
form of fossil fuel. Every year, the training for workers in the plants become more thorough and
through mistakes, the nuclear industry learns from them and strives to be a better and safer
workplace. Through logic and reason, it is apparent that nuclear power is the practical energy
source of the present and future.

Jake Steele
Period 4

Bibliography
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Current-and-Future-Generation/The-Nuclear-Debate/
This website mostly covers assertions geared against nuclear power. It covers almost all
arguments against nuclear debate and responds to them.
http://www.naturaledgeproject.net/thegreatsustainabilitydebates-nuclearpower.aspx
This website explains the main points of both the pros and cons of nuclear energy. The point of
the website was to propose arguments on each side of the debate and let the readers decide which
side to choose.
https://inlportal.inl.gov/portal/server.pt/community/nuclear_energy/277/benefits_of_nuclear_ener
gy/7019
The Idaho National Laboratory supports nuclear power by weighing the pros and cons. The pros
are listed on the website.
http://www.nei.org/News-Media/Media-Room/News-Releases/NEI-Video-Explains-FlexStrategy-to-Respond-to-Ext
In response to nuclear disasters, the NEI proposes the FLEX strategy to deal with nuclear
emergencies.
http://world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Nuclear-Wastes/Radioactive-WasteManagement/
This website proposes facts about radioactive waste management and argues that nuclear power
is rational and the disposing of it is safe and practical.
Interview. 11/15/14. Douglas Steele. Conversation about the security of a nuclear power plant.
Douglas Steele, a marine, praises nuclear plants for being intricately defensed against any
foreign invaders