How clean and safe is nuclear energy?

Nuclear energy is a clean energy source with no emissions. It generates energy through fission, which is the process of splitting uranium atoms to produce energy. The heat released by fission is used to create steam that spins a turbine to generate electricity without the harmful by-products emitted by fossil fuels. Nuclear energy is much safer than its reputation implies.

It's also clean and reliable, but power plants are being phased out around the world. Pop culture encourages misperceptions about many things, including nuclear energy. TV shows exploit incorrect information or ideas for the sake of drama. Viewers like good drama, after all.

But TV shows and movies are fiction and aren't the best sources of accurate information, especially when it comes to nuclear energy. These are nine myths about nuclear energy and the facts. When I was anti-nuclear, my main concerns were safety and waste. Later I learned that nuclear energy is only slightly less safe than wind, hydro and solar.

More importantly, it is much safer than any fossil energy, once air pollution and accidents are taken into account. There has been a lot of fuss about nuclear power plants. Some say they emit radiation that causes cancer, that there is no way to dispose of the waste they produce, that they are prone to catastrophic accidents and could even cause them to explode like bombs. There is a small group of scientists who have proposed replacing 100% of the world's fossil-fuel power plants with nuclear reactors as a way to solve climate change.

Many others propose nuclear cultivation to meet up to 20 percent of all our energy needs (not just electricity). They advocate that nuclear energy is a “clean and carbon-free” source of energy, but they do not observe the human impacts of these scenarios. All countries operating nuclear power plants have a nuclear safety inspection, and all of them work closely with the IAEA. Already in the late 1970s, the United Kingdom's Central Electricity Generation Board considered the possibility of a large, fully charged and fueled passenger aircraft being deliberately hijacked and crashed into a nuclear reactor.

Ever since I started speaking positively about nuclear energy, I have been accused of being an 'accomplice' of the industry. As an additional protection against nuclear proliferation, thorium reactors can be used instead of uranium reactors. Once and for all, he claimed the desirability of designing with inherent safety, complemented by robust secondary safety provisions. The novel value and therefore the journalistic value of nuclear power accidents remains high, in contrast to other industrial accidents, which receive relatively little journalistic coverage.

Greenpeace has organized many protests against nuclear energy, and WWF has argued that the world needs renewable energy but not nuclear. According to anti-nuclear activists, it meant that, while the loss of coolant would cause nuclear fission to cease, the uncooled reactor would melt, with a mass of highly radioactive fission products unstoppably melting through 20 cm (8 in. To achieve optimal safety, nuclear plants in the Western world operate with a “defense in depth” approach, with multiple safety systems that complement the natural characteristics of the reactor core. The other class of reactors that has been the focus of international attention for safety improvements is the first generation of VVER-440 pressurized water reactors.

As nuclear energy faces an uncertain future in many countries, the world risks a sharp decline in its use in advanced economies, which could result in billions of tons of additional carbon emissions. But such claims are simply the truth: only one death has been linked to the merger of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and that figure is even debated. Duke Energy generates power from a diverse mix of fuel sources, including wind and solar, and operates six nuclear plants. One of the strangest arguments against nuclear energy is the claim that there is nothing that can be done with waste.

Contrary to popular belief, nuclear energy saves lives by displacing fossil fuels from the electricity mix. As for other groups that are being established after my nuclear defense, I am going to take some credit for that, and I am proud to do so. . .