Discursive Essay Nuclear Power

Selecting Argumentative Essay Topics on Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is a hot topic, making it a great choice if you need to write an argumentative essay. Argumentative essays are a style of writing where you present a stance on an issue, and defend your opinion on the basis of facts and evidence. These types of papers are great for honing your critical thinking skills, so over the course of your high school and college education, you will have to write many of them.

There’s a lot of debate surrounding the safety, effectiveness, and environmental implications of nuclear energy. Fossil fuel dependence is known to cause both environmental problems, like air pollution and climate change, and sociopolitical issues as a result of the international need for oil. This has led to a focus on alternative energy sources, one of which is nuclear power. Nuclear power plants work by nuclear fission, splitting atoms to release energy. Although nuclear power can be very efficient, it also has a history of dangerous disasters like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. There’s also the issue of disposing of the radioactive waste that is left over from nuclear power plants.

If you’re interested in writing your essay about nuclear power, here are some interesting topics that you can consider:

  1. Nuclear power is too dangerous to be a viable alternative energy option.
  2. Nuclear power, when designed and managed correctly, is very safe.
  3. Nuclear waste disposal is a serious and dangerous problem.
  4. Nuclear waste can be disposed of safely, without serious repercussions.
  5. Nuclear power is better for the environment than fossil fuels.
  6. Nuclear power is environmentally dangerous.
  7. Nuclear energy could be compromised by fresh water shortages.
  8. Nuclear power plants are sustainable in terms of the fresh water needed for them to work.
  9. Nuclear power is vulnerable to climate change issues.
  10. Nuclear power plants are too expensive to build and to use.
  11. Nuclear power plants could increase the risk of a nuclear war.
  12. Advanced nuclear power plants could help strengthen global security.
  13. Nuclear power’s costs are lower than either fossil fuels, or other renewable energy resources like wind power and solar power.
  14. Nuclear power plants can melt down easily.
  15. The risk of a nuclear meltdown is relatively low.
  16. Nuclear power is more reliable than other alternative energy sources.
  17. Nuclear power is less reliable than other alternative energy sources.
  18. Nuclear power plants are too expensive to decommission.
  19. The government should provide subsidies for nuclear power.
  20. The government should not provide subsidies for nuclear power.

Abstract
“Growing concerns over climate change have highlighted the need to step up contribution of nuclear energy in the energy mix and to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels in the years to come. This essay discusses some of the major advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy.”

Introduction
Nuclear energy represents only 15% of the electricity produced worldwide. Though in France, 80% of its electricity production is from nuclear energy and more than one-fourth of electricity in Europe comes from nuclear energy. Nuclear energy represents a very small percentage in many countries’ total electricity production, but this percentage is likely to go up in the coming years. Nuclear power is generated using Uranium, a mineral of which one of the isotopes, U- 234 is unstable. The nucleus breaks down resulting in the emission of heat and radiation followed by a chain reaction. This is called nuclear fission and this process liberates a large amount of energy, but the process also releases radiation which is very dangerous.

What are the Advantages of Nuclear Energy?

Clean Energy
Nuclear energy has the ability to produce electricity without greenhouse gas emissions. It produces electricity without pollution. It is cleaner than many other forms of energy production. Essentially, nuclear power would be “carbon-zero” if the uranium were mined and transported in a more efficient way.

High Quantities
Nuclear reaction releases a million times more energy, as compared to hydro or wind energy. Large quantity of energy is generated from a single nuclear power plant.

High Reserves
Nuclear reactors make use of uranium as fuel and produces huge amounts of energy from small amounts of uranium. The Earth has the high reserves of uranium. Current estimates put the uranium supply as enough to last for 30 to 60 years. Moreover other fuel cycles like Thorium are available for power generation. Whereas, oil reserves and other fossil type fuels are likely to run out shortly.

Reliability
Nuclear power plants operate reliably and have a continuous output of power.The plants do not generally face operations and maintenance problems. This is a contrast to other alternative energies which depend on the activity of the weather.

Low Operating cost
Although nuclear power reactors are expensive to build, they are relatively cheap to operate. Fuel is inexpensive and a plant can be operated by small number of people, approximately 10 people.

Concentration
The nuclear energy is by far the most concentrated form of energy, so it can be produced in large quantities over short periods of time.

Low Waste
Produces small amounts of waste and waste is more compact.

Cheap
Nuclear energy produces electricity at a competitive price and is generally comparable in output to coal plants.

Location
A nuclear plant is not dependant on local sources like oil and coal and can be set up in any part of the globe. It also does not require a lot of space and so can be placed in already developed areas and the power does not have to be transferred over long distances.

What are the Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy?

Nuclear Weapons Threat
It has potential nuclear proliferation issues. Some reactors produce plutonium which can be used to make nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are a major threat to the world as they can cause a large-scale devastation.

High Capital Intensive
Nuclear Plants require a high level of technology and a major initial capital investment. Its abandonment cost is also very high.

Long Gestation Period
It takes a long time to build, about 15-20 years to develop a single plant.

Radioactive Waste
There are issues with management of radioactive waste. The spent fuel is highly radioactive and has to be carefully stored for many years after use. A solution to the waste management problem needs to be explored and developed. This has R&D cost.

Disasters, Accidents & Risk
An accident may cause a major disaster resulting in thousands of casualties and releasing high amounts of radiation into the environment, example: explosion of a reactor at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine and melting of the core of a reactor at Three-Mile Island in the United States.

Non-renewable energy
Nuclear energy is an alternative energy but not a renewable energy as Uranium is a non-renewable source and its supplies are limited.

Terrorism
Nuclear plants may be vunerable targets to anyone wanting to disrupt the power supply, and to have quite horrific results and to devastate an entire region.

Conclusion
Today, nuclear energy remains controversial. There are proponents and opponents of nuclear energy, but nuclear energy along with other green energies has a major role to play in years to come. The actions to mitigate the risk associated with nuclear energy need to given due importance to harness its full potential.

Filed Under: Climate Change, Environment, Nuclear Energy

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