The Contribution of Nuclear Technology to the Sustainability of the Global Energy Matrix and the Mitigation of Climate Change
Nuclear energy is generated through the fission of atomic nuclei in nuclear reactors. The produced energy is extremely concentrated, which signifies that the amount of fuel needed to generate substantial quantities of electricity is relatively small compared to other energy sources. Furthermore, nuclear energy is highly reliable and stable, providing a consistent energy source. However, safety remains a significant concern in nuclear power generation. The Chernobyl accident in 1986, and the Fukushima disaster in 2011, illustrated the perils of poorly managed nuclear energy. Security failures in nuclear plants can result in radioactive leaks, environmental contamination, and threats to public health. Although technological advancements have enhanced nuclear energy safety, nuclear waste management remains a substantial challenge. Upon usage, nuclear fuel becomes hazardous nuclear waste that must be safely stored for hundreds of years. Secure management of nuclear waste is crucial in minimizing the environmental impact of nuclear energy. Another concern is the utilization of vast amounts of water for cooling nuclear reactors. While water is essential for maintaining reactor operations, excessive water usage may have negative impacts on the environment and local communities. In comparison to other energy sources, such as oil, coal, and natural gas, nuclear energy emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases. This is because nuclear energy does not burn fossil fuels to generate electricity. Nevertheless, nuclear energy also has other environmental impacts, including the release of small amounts of radiation during the normal operation of a power plant.