What are some pros and cons of using nuclear power?


Quick Answer

Nuclear power is a known energy source, it has low carbon dioxide emissions, and it is relatively low cost; however it still has an environmental impact, produces radioactive waste and has the potential for nuclear accidents. Another pro of using nuclear power is that it is considered a somewhat sustainable resource but the con being that the cost invested to build nuclear power plants could be focused towards wind, solar or geothermal energy sources.

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Full Answer

Nuclear power produces much less pollution, including greenhouse emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane. However, the mining, enrichment and waste management supporting nuclear power does produce these pollutants.

Each nuclear power plant creates 20 metric tons of nuclear fuel per year, which, in turn, produces radioactive waste. The handling and transport of nuclear waste is dangerous and can be a target for terrorists, especially when shipped through underdeveloped countries with lax security.

The initial construction costs for a nuclear power plant are high and often require subsidies from governments. These costs could be used to support other renewable energy sources. However, nuclear power is a "known," proven energy source and the initial cost are justified by low maintenance costs. Radioactive materials also have higher energy density than fossil fuels, creating a much more efficient way of producing energy.

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