Nuclear Energy is not the alternative for fossil fuels. There are many good reasons to oppose the use of nuclear energy. Nuclear power installations are vulnerable for accidents, incidents and attacks. Radioactive material can be disseminated. Radiation is harmful and can, even in small quantities, be lethal. Contamination with radioactive material can make entire regions uninhabitable for thousands of years. The main nuclear fuels are uranium and plutonium, both of which are radioactive metals. Nuclear fuels are not burned to release energy. Nuclear energy installations are vulnerable for accidents. Radiation is harmful and can, even in small quantities, be deadly. Contamination with radioactive material can make entire regions uninhabitable for thousands of years. Nuclear energy plants are extremely expensive and hard to finance. Government long-term management of the waste, security of the nuclear power plant, costs of transport for instance. So, in all cases it is the government again who guarantees the compensation for accident-related cost. The Fukushima disaster in Japan is estimated to costs at least $143 billion.
Although unlike fossil fuels, nuclear fuels do not produce carbon dioxide. Nuclear energy has way more disadvantages for example:
An accident at the plant– could release radioactive material into the environment as a plume (cloud-like formation) of radioactive gases and particles. These particles are then inhaled or ingested by people and animals or deposited on the ground.
Disposal of nuclear waste– High-level waste consists of spent fuel. It takes hundreds of thousands of years to deactivate. At the moment, 70,000 tons of this fuel is stored at the power plants themselves.
Cost- The nuclear industry involves prohibitively high capital costs, for example for constructing new reactor facilities. The government’s current procurement plan is estimated to cost more than a trillion rand.
Will take too long- Building new nuclear power plants will take too long. Sometimes even decades at a time when we desperately need clean energy. Renewable energy technologies can provide this much more speedily.
Better alternatives- Renewable sources of energy, especially solar and wind power, are capable of providing cheap, clean and safe electricity much more quickly than newly build nuclear reactors would.
Environmental impact- here is still no safe, reliable solution for dealing with the radioactive waste produced by nuclear plants. Every waste dump in the U.S. leaks radiation into the environment, and nuclear plants themselves are running out of ways to store highly radioactive waste on site.
Outdated- Producing electricity by nuclear fission represents outdated 20th century technology. Investing time and money in an old industry comes with significant and damaging opportunity costs that undermine our ability to make progress with real solutions.
Citizens- These particles are then inhaled or ingested by people and animals or deposited on the ground.
There are multiple different alternatives we could use to produce power. Nuclear Energy is not the alternative for fossil fuel. If we want a better and brighter future we need to leave the idea of nuclear energy on the past.