Nuclear power is generated using Uranium, which is a
metal mined in various parts of the world.
The first large-scale nuclear power station opened at
Calder Hall in Cumbria, England, in 1956.
Nuclear power produces around 11% of the world's
energy needs, and produces huge amounts of energy
from small amounts of fuel, without the pollution that
you'd get from burning fossil fuels.
Which is why some military ships and submarines have
nuclear power plants for engines.
4. Nuclear Energy Positives
Reliability - Nuclear Power is a highly reliable form of energy almost as good as
other fossil fuel energy forms like coal, gas etc. Nuclear Power Plants except in
drastic situations continue to run reliably for the whole day without any
Low Fuel Cost - Large amounts of Nuclear Energy can be produced from the
fission on radioactive elements like uranium. The costs of nuclear fuel is
relatively very low compared to other energy sources like coal and gas. Also
uranium prices currently are quite low making the nuclear electricity price even
Low Electricity Cost – The Electricity produced from Nuclear Power is quite low
at around 3-5c/Kwh making it very attractive to construct hydro plants. Nuclear
Plants also have long lives of between 40-60 years which means that they are
extremely profitable once constructed within reasonable costs
5. Nuclear Energy Positives
No Greenhouse Gas Emissions/Air Pollution – Nuclear electricity does not
produce any GHG emissions or cause air pollution from the combustion of fossil
fuels unlike coal, oil or gas. This makes them very attractive as a source of cheap,
non carbon dioxide producing electricity.
High Load Factor - Nuclear Power Plants have very high load factors in excess of
80%.They can generate power almost 24/7 and only require shutdown for
Huge Potential –Nuclear Energy Potential is almost infinite compared to the
limited and peak features of other forms of energy like Wind, Geothermal, Oil,
Gas and others. Only Solar Energy can be said to have more potential. Note new
technologies and fuels like fast breeder and thorium are still in the works which
can increase the potential of Nuclear Power more
6. Nuclear Power Negatives
Nuclear and Radiation Accidents - This is the biggest con for Nuclear Energy and has
been repeated 3 times in the last 30 years in Japan, Russia and USA. The fear of a
repeat is so great that despite all the safety arrangements touted by the nuclear
equipment operators and suppliers,Nuclear Energy faces an uncertain future
Nuclear Waste Disposal – Again a massive problem as the spent Nuclear Rods of
Nuclear Reactors are prohibitively costly and difficult to dispose of.Spent nuclear fuel
is initially very highly radioactive and so must be handled with great care and
forethought.There is no foolproof way to dispose nuclear waste fuel after it is used in
the Nuclear Reactors.The area around Nuclear Waste Sites can be dangerous to
humans for hundreds of year as complex nuclear elements have half lives running
into many years.the United States had accumulated more than 50,000 metric tons of
spent nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors.Permanent storage underground in U.S. had
been proposed at the Yucca but that project has now been effectively
cancelled.Presently, waste is mainly stored at individual reactor sites and there are
over 430 locations around the world where radioactive material continues to
7. Nuclear Power Negatives
Nuclear proliferation – Many countries have used the ruse of nuclear energy
programs to generate fuel for developing nuclear weapons.Currently there is a major
international controversy with regards to the Iranian Nuclear Energy
Program.Nuclear Reactors are targets for rogue state actors who can steal the fuel
for creating radiation weapons
High Capital Investment,Cost Overruns and Long Gestation Time - The time to
construct a large Nuclear power project can take between 5-10 years which leads to
time and cost overruns. The Nuclear Plan being built in Finland. has been one of the
biggest failures in Project Finance.The reactor has been delayed by many year and
has led to a massive cost overrun.Areva the main nuclear equipment supplier has
endured huge losses.In fact the safety regulations and the long time of construction
has brought the Nuclear Energy in the Developed World to almost a halt.
Regulations – The Regulations for Nuclear Energy Power Plants are many and
cumbersome due to the massive risks of a failure of a nuclear reactor.This greatly
increases the costs of generating nuclear power.It also leads to a long time in the
actual start to the completion of a Nuclear Plant .
8. Nuclear Power Negatives
Low level of Radioactivity from Normal Operations - The nuclear industry also
produces a large volume of low-level radioactive waste in the form of
contaminated items like clothing, hand tools, water purifier resins, and (upon
decommissioning) the materials of which the reactor itself is built
Fuel Danger - Uranium which is the main fuel used in Nuclear Fission Power
Plants is limited to a few countries and suppliers.Its use and transport is
regulated by international treaties and groups.India which came under sanctions
because of testing of nuclear weapons had to shut many of its nuclear plants
because of embargoes.
9. Should I worry about nuclear
Nuclear power stations are not atomic bombs waiting to go off, and are not prone to
There is a lot of U-238 in there slowing things down - you need a high concentration of U-
235 to make a bomb.
If the reactor gets too hot, the control rods are lowered in and it cools down.
If that doesn't work, there are sets of emergency control rods that automatically drop in
and shut the reactor down completely.
With reactors in the UK, the computers will shut the reactor down automatically if things
get out of hand (unless engineers intervene within a set time). At Chernobyl, in Ukraine,
they did not have such a sophisticated system, indeed they over-rode the automatic
systems they did have. When they got it wrong, the reactor overheated, melted and the
excessive pressure blew out the containment system before they could stop it.
Then, with the coolant gone, there was a serious fire. Many people lost their lives trying to
sort out the mess.
If something does go wrong in a really big way, much of the world could be affected -
some radioactive dust (called "fallout") from the Chernobyl accident landed in the UK.
That's travelled a long way.
10. Should I worry about nuclear
power? (the most common type in Britain) there are
With AGR reactors
additional safety systems, such as flooding the reactor with nitrogen
and/or water to absorb all the neutrons - although the water option
means that reactor can never be restarted.
So should I worry? I think the answer is "so long as things are being
done properly, I don't need to worry too much. The bit that does worry
me is the small amount of high-level nuclear waste from power stations.
Although there's not much of it, it's very, very dangerous and we have
no way to deal with it apart from bury it and wait for a few thousand
There are many different opinions about nuclear power, and it strikes
me that most of the people who protest about it don't have any idea
what they're talking about. But please make up your own mind, find out
as much as you can, and if someone tries to get you to believe their
opinion ask yourself "what's in it for them?”
11. Our argument
We are for nuclear power. Here is why:
Nuclear power costs about the same as coal, so it's not
expensive to make.
Does not produce smoke or carbon dioxide, so it does not
contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Produces huge amounts of energy from small amounts of
Is much more efficient than coal (1 kg uranium’s
power=25000 kg of coal’s energy)
Produces small amounts of waste.
Nuclear power is reliable
12. To all the haters…
Nuclear energy is only dangerous because we make it
so. Most accidents are caused by human error