Why do we use nuclear energy?

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Dominiquest
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Why do we use nuclear energy?

Why do people extract energy from nuclear fission when the by products emit radiations that are carcinogenic? We know that even simple X-rays are harmful to our bodies... I don't see why nuclear reactors are any better...

pharmtao
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I think it's because of the

I think it's because of the amount of energy it can generate.  But we do need to be super careful when keeping nuclear waste in a safe place.
 
Dominiquest wrote:

Why do people extract energy from nuclear fission when the by products emit radiations that are carcinogenic? We know that even simple X-rays are harmful to our bodies... I don't see why nuclear reactors are any better...
Ivan Delgado
Ivan Delgado's picture
 

 
There are many arguments in favor and against the generation of nuclear power and alternative forms of fuel like coal. A good comparison of the costs for these two sources of energy can be found here.
Putting costs aside, which the link above puts at equal (it costs the same to generate a kilowatt of energy from coal as it does from nuclear) you can argue that nuclear power is cleaner (while the waste is very toxic it can be safely stored and "never" exposes people) than coal. Since the burning of coal generates a lot of toxic fumes and leads to global warning, you could argue that it is more detrimental to life on Earth than nuclear waste. Of course if nuclear waste were to spill, then it is another story.
In the end the issue is one of economics. The generation of energy from almost any energy source (from coal and nuclear to wind and hydroelectric) requires investment and the ability to generate a profit. Building a nuclear power plants costs a lot of money, and requires sophisticated knowhow, while a coal plant is relatively cheap in comparison and pretty straight forward. If you are a country that benefits from the economics of nuclear power (like France and the US), then you use it. If you are a country whose economy is better suited to the generation of energy from coal (like China), then that is what you use. Unfortunately most of the time the choice is not based on what is best for the people but for what is the most economically sound way of generating energy. Iceland for example generates the majority of its energy from hydrothermal sources since they have a lot of this resource in their territory. You could argue this is very environmentally sound, but it would be close to impossible for almost any other country to do.
My two cents into a very complex issue.

Arvind Singh Pundir
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 Nuclear vs. Renewable:

 Nuclear vs. Renewable: Drawbacks? : Interesting topic watch at youtube
 
www.youtube.com/watch
Nuclear power for you - nuclear waste for the others?
timeforchange.org/nuclear_power
PROS AND CONS OF NUCLEAR POWER
http://timeforchange.org/pros-and-cons-of-nuclear-power-and-sustainability