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Top 5 Myths About Nuclear Energy

Fossil fuels serve the energy needs of the world right now, but eventually they will run out. The world will need an alternative source of energy. Nuclear energy is a good candidate as an alternative, but there is a lot of misinformation about nuclear energy. Here are five myths:

1. Nuclear waste is difficult to dispose.

Nuclear waste is recyclable. In this process, uranium and plutonium are separated from the waste and used again to produce even more energy. Nuclear reprocessing solves the problem of nuclear waste and is highly efficient by reusing fissionable material. If the nuclear waste can’t be recycled, the waste is stored in containers with nuclear shielding to prevent radiation from contaminating the environment. After a period of fifty years, these containers are buried in lead lined casks. For more information about nuclear shielding, contact Nuclear Lead Co., Inc. or a similar company.

2. Nuclear reactors produce high levels of radiation.

Much of the radiation produced by nuclear reactors gets converted into electricity. Nuclear power plants also have many safeguards in place to prevent radiation from escaping the plant. Some of these safeguards include control rods, liquid controls, and containment rooms with nuclear shielding. In fact, people living within fifty miles of a nuclear plant only receive a .01 millirem dose of radiation in one year. In comparison, a dental x-ray provides a radiation dose of 2 millirems.

3. Nuclear meltdowns are common and dangerous.

Since the Chernobyl incident, the design of nuclear reactors changed to prevent another disaster. Nuclear reactors automatically shut down once they reach a certain temperature and will not start again until the reactors cool. Modern nuclear reactors have so many safety features that the expected probability of a meltdown is one for every 20,000 years the nuclear plant operates. Of meltdowns that do occur, 2/3 would not lead to fatalities.

4. Nuclear energy produces just as much greenhouse gas as any other source of energy.

Nuclear energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy. Nuclear power plants do not release any greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Much of the waste that emits from a nuclear reactor’s smokestack is steam. No carbon emissions are produced.

5. Nuclear energy is not sustainable and won’t be a long-term solution.

This myth stems from the idea that uranium is running out and in fifty years, uranium mines will shut down. This is not true. Based on current estimates, there is enough uranium to last over 200 years. Thanks to modern nuclear reactor designs and recycling, this supply could stretch to thousands of years. Also, different methods of mining and enriching could provide enough uranium to last 60,000 years.