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  • Three reasons why we should continue using nuclear energy.

  • One: nuclear energy saves lives.

  • In 2013, a study conducted by NASA found that nuclear energy has prevented

  • around 1.8 million deaths.

  • Even if you include the death tolls from Chernobyl and Fukushima,

  • nuclear energy ranks last in death per energy unit produced.

  • While nuclear waste is really toxic, it’s usually stored somewhere,

  • while the toxic byproducts of fossil fuels are pumped into the air

  • we breathe every day.

  • So, just by reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned, countless cases of cancer

  • or lung disease and accidents in coal mines have been avoided.

  • If we can choose between lots of dangerous stuff being put into a deep hole and

  • lots and lots and lots of dangerous stuff being pumped into the atmosphere,

  • the former seems more logical.

  • Nuclear energy feels way more dangerous, though.

  • Single catastrophic events burn into our memory, while coal and oil kill silently.

  • It’s like the death rate of flying versus driving.

  • Even in the best-case scenario, it would take at least forty years to switch

  • to 100%-renewable energy.

  • So, for as long as we continue using fossil fuels, nuclear energy will save

  • way more lives than it destroys.

  • Two: nuclear energy reduces COemissions.

  • Nuclear energy is arguably way less harmful to the environment

  • in terms of climate change than fossil fuels, our main source of energy.

  • Since 1976, about 64 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions

  • have not been pumped out thanks to nuclear energy.

  • And by the mid-21st century, that could amount to an additional 80–240 gigatons.

  • Humanity’s energy consumption is rising steadily.

  • According to US government projections, China alone will add the equivalent of

  • a new 600-MW coal plant every 10 days for the next 10 years.

  • China already burns 4 billion tons of coal each year.

  • Coal is cheap, relatively abundant, and easy to get to.

  • So it’s not likely that humanity will stop using it soon.

  • Nuclear energy might be the only way of dampening the effects of climate change

  • and preventing a catastrophic man-made global warming.

  • Compared to the other things we do, nuclear energy is relatively clean.

  • So, even if it is a good idea to quit nuclear energy long-term,

  • it might be a good solution for the next hundred years or so,

  • compared to the alternatives.

  • Three: new technologies.

  • Maybe technology will solve the problem of nuclear waste and dangerous power plants.

  • The nuclear reactors weve used so far are mostly outdated technology,

  • because nuclear innovation stopped in the 1970s.

  • There are models, like the thorium reactor,

  • that could solve the problem altogether.

  • Thorium is abundant, really hard to turn into nuclear weapons,

  • and up to two orders of magnitude less wasteful than current nuclear reactors.

  • The waste material might also be only dangerous for a few hundred years,

  • in contrast to a couple of thousand years.

  • 1 ton of thorium is estimated to provide the same amount of energy

  • as 200 tons of uranium or 3.5 million tons of coal.

  • So while we cannot know for sure if alternative nuclear technology

  • will keep its promises, shouldn’t we at least do more research

  • before we forego an opportunity to solve lots of humanity’s current problems?

  • It may not be an easy challenge, but that hasn’t stopped us before.

  • So, should we use nuclear energy?

  • There are risks involved in any great human endeavor,

  • and we have to make an informed decision, rather than rely on gut feeling.

  • If you want to hear the other side of the argument, or

  • a short introduction to nuclear energy, click here.

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  • Subtitles by the community

Three reasons why we should continue using nuclear energy.

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3 Reasons Why Nuclear Energy Is Awesome! 3/3

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    Evan posted on 2015/05/30
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