The Facts About Nuclear Power


  • It's a reliable source.
  • It's cheap, almost as cheap as coal.
  • It is a lot more environmentally friendly than other sources of energy that we currently rely on.
  • Accidents rarely happen.
  • Safer to obtain the materials necessary (not dangerous like obtaining coal)
  • Provides secure jobs.
  • Power plants take care of environment.


  • Can be dangerous.
  • Relies on a rare element, Uranium or Plutonium.
  • Plants are harder to maintain.
  • Requires more time to produce energy.
  • Requires use of water sources and can affect temperatures of water which, in turn, effects the ecosystem that inhabits it.
Explained further in depth below.

It's Your Decision

                  Just as it is with everything in life, the use of nuclear power really depends on what we as a country support.  Nuclear power has its advantages and disadvantages just like every other type of energy source.  It is up to you to decide whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
                  The advantages of nuclear are numerous, beginning with the fact that it is a reliable source of energy.  Nuclear power has become a more popular source of energy, especially as of recent.  This is due to the fact that the price of the resource is not fluctuating.  Nuclear power has maintained a more steady cost than any other source of energy, which includes the costs of providing the power itself.  As for the low cost of nuclear power, there are many reasons that allow the energy to be so affordable, as mentioned in the previous paragraph.  The only problem with the economics of nuclear power is how much building the actual power plant can cost.  The average nuclear power plant in the United States costs eight billion dollars, which requires a few years of the plants income to pay off until they really begin to return profit.
  Another positive fact about nuclear power is that it is so environmentally friendly.  Although the cooling process can slightly impact a water source, the actual process of making nuclear power releases barely any greenhouse gases or emissions that could harm the environment.
                People hear a lot about the accidents that can happen with nuclear power, and even though these are possibilities, they very rarely occur.  Many precautions are taken in the process of providing nuclear power which allow for the jobs to be surprisingly safe.  Accidents are bound to happen every once in a while in the work place.  Nuclear power plant operators make sure that all possible accidents are avoided, especially when it comes to the nuclear reactor.  This is what caused the Three Mile Island incident that will be looked further into on the "Accidents" page.  The materials that are used in creating nuclear power are also a lot safer to maintain than that of other types of energy sources.  An example of this is how the process of obtaining coal for use in a plant can result in many dangerous situations such as cave ins and can also affect a persons health with diseases like black lung. 
               Along with these positives, nuclear power also provides a large amount of jobs with good pay.  So, nuclear power is not only helping the environment and its surroundings but also the community.  Many power plants take part in projects that help support the environment that it is located in.  Examples of this can be Florida Power and Light's, Turkey Point Power Plant taking part in alligator research and helping provide a suitable environment for the animals that inhabit the area.  Another example is Dominion's North Anna, VA Power Plant providing a man made lake that serves as a popular summer recreational area.  This is just another step that nuclear power plants take to make it a more likable source of energy.
               When it comes to the negatives of nuclear power most of them can be attributed to the few accidents that have occurred in the past.  Although there were only a few of these accidents, they seemed to have significantly impacted  the view that the general public has on nuclear power.  Nuclear power generation also requires a rare element, Uranium or Plutonium, which makes it a little more difficult than just being able to dig into any mountain and find the fuel.  Although rare, not much of the element is required to produce the energy which means that it is, in fact, reliable and that we can provide what we need using the resources we have here in the United States.  Prices of the Uranium used has very slightly gone up in the past few years, after reaching all time lows (seen in chart at bottom).  Another negative to nuclear power is that although it is much cleaner than coal power, the plants are harder to maintain due to the fact that if it is not watched carefully it can lead to accidents.  Producing nuclear energy also takes a slightly longer time than that of some other energy sources due to the complexity of the process.  This problem does not greatly affect the industry because the amount of power that a plant can produce is massive.  Lastly, a power plant requires a water source to help with the cooling process involved in creating the energy and during this cooling process the water is displaced and has the temperature raised.  Although the temperature is only raised slightly, it can still affect the animals that live in that area.  Power plants are currently working on a way to prevent this affect that they have on the environment and are hoping to be able to move past it.

Cost and Components In Regards to Nuclear Power

                The file is a report cover by the Nuclear Energy institute that clearly states the total costs of the most popular types of energy, including all of the components involved.  As previously stated the costs keep a competitive rate with coal and also have the lowest fuel costs by far.  The chart is a nationwide average so it doesn't accurately depict the exact numbers for a specific region.
                The fuel, Uranium, is a naturally occurring element which is actually more abundant than gold, silver and mercury and equally abundant as lead.  Like coal, Uranium is also mostly mined, but instead of being retrieved by humans, they use a process called leaching which separates the Uranium from the other materials.  Another fun fact is that the United States does, in fact provide Uranium.  Although it is only 6-10% of the worlds total, we can supply ourselves.  Australia leads the world in Uranium production making up for almost 25% (  Overall the U.S. can be self-sufficient when it comes to providing nuclear power.

Chart Provided by NEI (3)

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