The use of nuclear energy involves some controversy. The main disadvantages of nuclear energy are widely known, especially those related to environmental pollution problems in the event of nuclear incidents or accidents.
However, the advantages of nuclear energy are important enough to keep this technology active. The main use of this technology based on the manipulation of atoms is the generation of electrical energy, which is considered a form of non-renewable energy.
Despite this, there are other uses of nuclear energy in such important fields as medicine, pest control, etc.
Advantages of nuclear energy for the generation of electricity
The main advantage of generating electricity through atomic energy compared to most renewable energies is that electricity production can be regulated over time. This means that depending on the electrical demand, those responsible for the nuclear power plant can increase or decrease the power of the nuclear reactor. On the other hand, energy production through renewable energies depends on factors such as weather factors, etc. For example, during nighttime hours or cloudy days, solar energy can not produce electricity. In the case of wind energy, it depends on the intensity of the wind that may or may not coincide with the demand at a given moment.
The remaining resources of fossil fuels are limited, so that if all energy generation continued to be based on coal, natural gas or oil as resources fell, prices would rise to unsustainable levels.
Nuclear power has the advantage that the nuclear fuel used, usually enriched uranium or plutonium, offers a great performance. With a very small amount of uranium, a large amount of energy can be obtained. This means savings in raw material but also in transportation, extraction and handling of nuclear fuel. The cost of nuclear fuel (usually uranium) accounts for 20% of the cost of the energy generated.
Environmental advantages of nuclear energy
The advantages of nuclear energy in environmental terms are significant when compared to the disadvantages of thermal power plants.
The advantages of nuclear energy compared to the production of electricity using fossil fuels are mainly concentrated on the environmental aspect. Thermal power plants that use coal or natural gas to power their steam turbines generate a large amount of greenhouse gases. The polluting gases that leave the plants favor the greenhouse effect and therefore contribute to increasing the global warming of the planet.
How does global warming occur?
The solar radiation that reaches the Earth contains a large amount of energy. A part of this energy is used to heat the planet and another part is reflected again outside as if it were a mirror. In part, it is important that part of this heat stays on Earth since if this did not happen the planet would freeze.
What happens with pollution is that the greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere making a layer. When the radiation has been reflected in the earth and comes back out into outer space it hits this pollutant layer and partially returns to Earth again. For this reason, the earth if hot in excess.
Another advantage of nuclear energy is that it can be used in other applications, some as important as nuclear medicine.
Nuclear medicine employs radioactive isotopes and other aspects related to atomic energy for prevention, diagnosis, therapy and medical research. The clinical applications of radiopharmaceuticals cover practically all medical specialties.
Currently, most hospitals and health centers have a Department of Radiology and a Department of Nuclear Medicine, and they use laboratory radiochemical methods to diagnose and investigate a wide variety of diseases.