Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy, as we can guess, has a series of advantages that can be highlighted and that position it as one of the main sources of energy that our planet has. However, in the same way, this non-renewable energy also has drawbacks.

Before proceeding with the article, we must know what nuclear energy is.

Nuclear energy is the energy that is produced when a nuclear reaction occurs. That is, a reaction that occurs in the nucleus of the atom and that, after a series of processes, ends up being converted into energy. Energy that is later used for numerous purposes.

These reactions occur in what we know as a nuclear power plant, plants that convert said reaction into energy. Thus, we are talking about large-scale plants, in which energy is released and, as we said, it is transformed.

Its appearance is easily recognizable, as it has large chimneys that can be seen from a great distance.

nuclear power plant seen from the outside

Disasters such as Chernobyl or Fukushima, or even their appearance on television in such well-known series as "The Simpsons", have also made these nuclear power plants famous around the world.

Nuclear energy has numerous advantages that make it an energy that is highly demanded by society. However, the risks of disasters, or the very cost of building a nuclear power plant, are disadvantages that must be considered.

For this reason, in Economipedia we have compiled the main advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, which we present below.

Advantages of nuclear energy

In the first place, among the advantages of nuclear energy, the following should be highlighted:

It is a very powerful energy

Nuclear energy is a very powerful energy. It generates a large amount of electricity. This is a great advantage for this type of energy, which can supply large populations without the risk of power outages due to insufficient supply.

It is a very stable energy

The nuclear power plants are operational, generating electricity continuously, almost 90% of the year. This makes the supply quite stable.

The price is also very stable.

Given the above, this regularity in supplies means that the price is also quite stable, not undergoing drastic changes over the weeks and months. In addition, it is quite cheap to produce, so this last entry also benefits you.

They do not emit greenhouse gases

We must know that these large chimneys that we see in a nuclear power plant do not give off gases at all. The smoke that we see coming out of these large chimneys is actually water vapor. During the fission process of the nuclei of atoms, water is used, which subsequently evaporates and comes out through the chimneys.

Therefore, what we see is not CO2 or N2O, but water vapor that does not pollute.

Reduces the use of fossil fuels

Although we are talking about a type of non-renewable energy , this is much more respectful of the environment than fossil fuel.

Therefore, the existence of alternatives such as nuclear energy reduces the use of a fossil fuel that is positioned as the most polluting fuel in the world.

More environmentally friendly

It does not release greenhouse gases, nor does it promote the use of fossil fuels, so this energy is more respectful of the environment. In other words, less erosion of the ecosystem is clearly observed.

Even being non-renewable, it is almost inexhaustible

Throughout the article we have referred to nuclear energy as a non-renewable energy, since it is obtained thanks to the fission of uranium isotopes. However, many experts agree that it is a source of energy that will not go away easily.

Due to the high reserves of uranium, this energy is practically inexhaustible. In fact, there have been many experts who have considered changing its typology and including it as one of the renewable energy sources.

Disadvantages or drawbacks of nuclear energy

Likewise, once we have seen the advantages of this type of energy, let us see its disadvantages or inconveniences, among which are the following:

Accidents have catastrophic consequences

Chernobyl or Fukushima are well-known examples of the consequences of a nuclear disaster. Despite its safety, accidents at nuclear power plants killed thousands of civilians, who were victims of other cases as notorious as the previous ones, such as that of Three Mile Island, in the United States.

Waste also has dangerous consequences

As we know, radioactive waste has consequences and not precisely those that we are used to seeing in cartoon series. In this sense, these residues take a long time to degrade, while human exposure to them can cause diseases that could end people's lives.

Building a nuclear power plant is not cheap

We previously said that nuclear power plants are large in size and have a robust infrastructure . And this is because no cost is spared during its construction.

Building a nuclear power plant has a very high cost, so it is not an option for everyone who wants it.

Excessive dependence on uranium

Nuclear power plants depend exclusively on uranium for the development of their activity. This could lead to overexploitation, ultimately leading to shortages and higher costs.

not useful for everything

We cannot use it to provide energy to means of transport. Therefore, its use, even though it is more beneficial for the environment, cannot be extended to those sectors that are the most polluting.

Alternative uses

As a nuclear weapon, or even as a target for a terrorist group, nuclear power plants are very dangerous and have alternative uses that could put the lives of many people in danger.

Another disadvantage to take into account, especially if you live near one, and in a territory with constant war activity.