Nuclear Energy: The Only Way To Meet Our Electrical Energy Needs

1772 Words 8 Pages
The United States needs a change in its energy sources. Oil, first of all, is a scarce resource that will eventually run out, and it also makes the U.S. depend on the political situation in other countries, as can be seen at the frequent changes in oil prices due to the political situation in the Middle-East. Alternative energy sources are an important issue to consider and nuclear energy is certainly the most controversial. There are currently 104 nuclear power plants operating in the United States, but the licenses of those plants will expire in foreseeable future, the first one already in 2013 and the last one in 2046 (Nuclear Energy Inst.). Those expiration dates initiate the discussions if the licenses should be renewed for the plants …show more content…
Firstly, the atomic incidents of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and Chernobyl in Russia are often mentioned as examples for nuclear plants being unsafe. In both cases failures of workers led to a meltdown in the reactors and increased radiation in the surrounding area (Henderson 12-17). And as the recent disaster in Japan shows, a nuclear crisis cannot only be caused by human mishaps, but also by unpredictable and untamable natural hazards. Consequently, nuclear crises cannot be predicted or prevented completely. Nuclear plants are, furthermore, considered uneconomical because in the eighties the construction costs of nuclear plants were underestimated and exceeded the estimation by $100 billion (Henderson 103). Therefore, the nuclear power opponents are arguing that nuclear power is burdening the American economy unnecessarily. According to the nuclear physicist Jeff Eerkens, antinuclear groups are also claiming that nuclear power is not necessary for the future since renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power will be providing sufficient energy for the United States, and are at the same time much cheaper than the costly nuclear power plants (Eerkens 20). Over all, opponents consider nuclear power to risky and inefficient to “deserve further support from U.S. taxpayers” (Henderson 104). Nonetheless, many of those objections are actually only based on myths about nuclear power. Nuclear energy is necessary as the future primary