Nuclear Power Plants

1965 Words Feb 1st, 2018 8 Pages
In 1942, Enrico Fermi successfully sustained a nuclear fission reaction and created the world’s first functional reactor. What his experiments, and those of earlier scientists like Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman, showed was that by splitting the nucleus of heavy radioactive elements (like uranium and cadmium), energy is released, and the reaction could be designed to generate a sustained energy source (Schlager & Weisblatt, 2006). Subsequent experiments illuminated the promise of nuclear energy as a reliable alternative to coal, and scientists and economists praised it as the future of energy. While nuclear power remains the most efficient form of energy (, 2013), its early proponents failed to take into account the potentially devastating effects of a power plant overloading and exposing radioactive waste to nearby populations, and catastrophic events like the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters have substantially undermined the promise of Nuclear Energy. The question of whether nuclear power will become the standard of energy production remains a hotly debated topic among economists and environmentalists alike. The economic costs of nuclear energy are vast, ranging from government oversights and barriers to entry, to variable human capital costs and fiercely competitive substitutes. By analyzing the economics of the establishment of a nuclear power plant, we can get closer to answering the question of whether nuclear power will become the true future of energy. In the…
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