There are many forms of energy that power our world: solar, wind, hydro-electric, fossil fuels, and so on. These are all viable, but there’s no fuel quite like nuclear energy. Although if you live in Nevada, you may not know much about that. While there are about 59 nuclear plants that hold 97 nuclear reactors in the United States, none of them are located in Nevada.
That’s not to say that Nevada can’t possibly receive nuclear energy in the future. Is nuclear energy even right for the Silver State? Should we be using nuclear energy at all? With nuclear energy becoming more relevant nowadays, there are a few misconceptions floating around. To set things straight, here’s some background on this unique form of energy.
What Is Nuclear Energy?
It’s a type of energy that’s born from splitting atoms in a reactor. This is done to heat water into steam, which then moves a turbine and generates electricity. It has zero emissions, which is remarkable when compared to the burning of fossil fuels. The typical vehicle emits around six tons of carbon dioxide per year. Nuclear energy’s lack of greenhouse gases makes it one of the cleanest forms of energy that we have.
Nuclear energy is so widespread that it produces electricity that is used in one in five houses and businesses across the United States. That’s twenty percent of America’s total electricity production.
Benefits of Nuclear Energy
There are numerous benefits to using nuclear energy. When viewed all at once, it’s no surprise that it’s used so often. Here are a few pros to using this type of energy:
- It’s efficient. Nuclear energy is already used to power numerous buildings in America.
- It’s clean. It produces zero emissions, making it one of the cleanest forms of energy. This also makes it essential to fighting climate change.
- It’s sustainable. There’s a potentially infinite supply. Especially if technology advances to the point of controlling atomic fusion.
- The economic opportunities. It’s cheaper to generate electricity via nuclear reactors than it is to generate it from gas, coal, and oil. The management of nuclear power plants requires a skilled and well paid labor force, as well.
Drawbacks of Nuclear Energy
While nuclear energy seems to be a very efficient and reliable source of energy, it does have its fair share of cons. Here they are:
- Deadly accidents. While they’re uncommon, there have been a number of serious nuclear accidents throughout history. The most well-known would have to be Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima Daiichi.
- Nuclear waste. Even though it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases, it does produce its own form of waste. After material has been used in a reactor, it becomes nuclear waste. This waste is especially hazardous because it emits radiation that is harmful to humans, animals and the environment. Our only method of dealing with nuclear waste is to store for decades in a Nuclear Waste Repository until it stops being radioactive.
The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository
While Nevada may not have any plants or reactors of its own, it does have a repository. The Yucca Mountain Repository is located in southern Nevada. It was designated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1987, the project was approved in 2002, and federal funding for the site ended in 2011. Needless to say, the repository has faced numerous difficulties during its time.
The repository’s existence isn’t popular with the public. Yucca Mountain is valued by Nevada’s residents and is even seen as sacred by the Native Americans of the Muckleshoot Tribe. This unpopular repository remains as the only nuclear-related facility in Nevada.
Nuclear energy has its pros and cons, but it’s mainly seen as a cleaner and more efficient means of producing electricity when compared to the burning of fossil fuels. They say anything that fights climate change and creates U.S. energy independence should be given a chance. While there is the potential for widespread disaster, these occurrences have been relatively low, luckily resulting in very few fatalities.
If you want to know more about alternative kinds of energy, make sure to contact Penny Electric today!