When it comes to nuclear energy I’ve noticed that there are mainly three types of people; those who think it’s a great ‘sustainable’ energy source, those who are terrified of it and those simply don’t care. Well, today is the day of education. Today is the day you learn the truth about nuclear power. In Australia, this is a big issue. Should we go nuclear? My answer, no, and I will tell you exactly why.
People tend to think that nuclear energy is entirely sustainable because it releases no greenhouse gases. It is true that the process of nuclear fission (the splitting of an atom) is carbon neutral, however, the mining of the uranium needed for this process to occur is not. The activity of mining has vast negative impacts not only on the greenhouse effect, but also water contamination, erosion and habitat loss. Thus, in this respect it is not sustainable at all, let alone carbon neutral.
Then there’s the radioactive waste. As if we don’t have enough rubbish already! Where do we put this dangerous waste? Can it pass through towns and cities to reach it’s final destination? What happens if the storage area is breached? These are all important questions that we have no real suitable answers to, and are the result of using nuclear power. Wouldn’t it be best if we didn’t have these questions at all?
In addition, nuclear power is not even renewable. The uranium needed for it will run out. “But we have plenty of time until that happens” I hear you say. That’s exactly what our ancestors thought about oil, and look where we are now. At the current rate of consumption, oil will run out in under eighty years. Let’s not put our future generations in the strife that we’re in now.
Then there’s the risk of a Chernobyl-like event, one of nuclear disaster. The risk of this is very low and there are many strategies to prevent it, but as we’ve seen in the past, it’s not impossible. Why should we even take that risk? We have other options, why choose one of the most dangerous ones? Those who think we can, would you be happy with a nuclear power plant in your neighbourhood? I know I wouldn’t.
All may seem lost to you at this point. What chance do we have now of being renewable? But never fear! It’s not time to bury our head in our hands just yet. There are still lots of truly renewable and 100% sustainable energy sources at our disposal that have little to no effect on our environment. Wind power, wave power, geothermal power, solar power and many more that have yet to be discovered! We do need a solution to our global warming crisis, but nuclear power is not the answer, nor will it ever be. So say “no” to nuclear power, and “yes” to truly sustainable and renewable energy sources.