By Max Phillips
In the 23 short years I’ve lived on this planet I’ve become increasingly aware of the current state of our planet’s environmental future. While there have been extensive advancements in clean energy, such as wind and solar, as well as less pollutive modes of transportation ( thank you Elon Musk), there are other options we can pursue. One of the downfalls of current popular trends is their extensive use of land, land that could be used more efficiently considering our world population. This could, however, be fixed by seriously considering increasing investments and research into nuclear power.
While some see nuclear power as something to be avoided due to its toxic waste, data shows this is not entirely the case. According to World-nuclear.org, only 10% of the waste produced by nuclear plants is classified as between intermediate and high-level radioactivity. In addition to this, the waste for a single person’s electricity needs for a year will only weigh as much as a single piece of paper ( around 5 grams) (World-Nuclear.org). Evidence also shows that it is also extensible more reliable than all current energy production methods, with it being 2.5 to 3.5 more reliable than wind and solar (Office of Nuclear Energy). While nuclear in some cases could be more expensive than its renewable counterparts, the increased reliability could come at an advantage.
Moreover, we can take advantage of the tax revenue on those who pollute (such as a carbon tax) and use the funds to subsidize the funding of new nuclear plants. While some suggest that nuclear power in itself produces too much waste, there is evidence to suggest that a single households will only produce waste equal to the weight of a single piece of paper, this is in addition to the majority of the waste produced by nuclear facilities not being classified as extremely toxic and relatively safe to get rid of.
A further reasoning behind my push for increased nuclear capability is the amount of land required to host large wind or solar farms that are capable of producing enough electricity for large populations. However, sometimes citizens who own land are not willing to give up portions of their land to have them built, despite monetary compensation. A case study I had recently noted this in a circumstance in Oregon. While some citizens saw this as a good way to promote clean energy production, many of the farmers in the area in which they wind farms would have been built were not keen on giving up portions of their land citing issues with noise and visual pollution the wind farms would cause.
Overall, this issue is quite complicated and while it may not have been the most informative, I think its important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of nuclear and how it can be used in conjunction with renewables such as wind and solar.