Should We Continue Supporting Nuclear Energy?

Nuclear Power PlantAfter what happened to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan following the tsunami that hit their country March 11, more and more Americans are concerned about nuclear plants near them. The biggest question in their minds – is it safe? Do we really need it?

The need for nuclear power depends mainly on the available natural resources of a country. At present, the United States has 104 commercial nuclear reactors and they supply 20% of our electricity needs as confirmed by the United States Energy Information Administration. That percentage is lower than Japan’s dependence to nuclear energy which supplies for 27% of their nuclear energy needs.

Experts said that Japan will have a hard time shutting down its nuclear plants because they do not have natural resources to compensate for the possible electricity loss. Moreover, fuel cost of nuclear energy is low.

Aside from the possible risks should another natural calamity strike such as the Tsunami in Japan, one other growing concern about nuclear energy is its tendency to be used for nuclear weapons. That is the reason why Professor Frank von Hippel of Princeton University said that nuclear power should only be used as a last option.

He further said that instead of looking for more ways to generate energy, we should focus on energy efficiency instead. We should look for ways to reduce electricity usage so that whatever natural energy source we have, it will be enough for our day to day electrical consumptions.

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