With all the talk recently about a potential conflict with Iran driving up already high gas prices and all the Al Gore propaganda about the US killing Bambi’s cousins in the arctic, it’s absolutely ridiculous that there hasn’t been more talk about nuclear power. It turns out that nuclear power is healthier, cheaper, better for the environment, and more consistently available than other major energy sources used today.
Despite the popular mentality about nuclear power, it is and has been for a while the healthiest and safest form of energy available. People were freaked out about Three Mile Island and Chernobyl in the ’70s and ’80s, but their worry was way out of proportion. It has been estimated that possibly 4,000 people died from the nuclear fallout of Chernobyl and no one died from the Three Mile Island meltdown, evidently, but coal plants (the most-used source of energy in the US) shorten the lives of 24,000 people every year. We won’t count the number of people who have died trying to secure oil sources for Western countries in the Middle East.
Nuclear power is also cheaper— the process of nuclear fission is so potent that just a small amount of fuel can produce an equivalent amount of energy from coal or oil with much less mining and preparation. The result is a fairly constant cost for nuclear power (per kWh) while oil and coal prices continue to go up.
It’s also better for the environment. The waste from nuclear power plants is contained, unlike burning fossil fuels, which pumps sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide into the air like there’s no tomorrow.
The last point is that nuclear energy is more consistently available. There’s a lot of it and, though a lot of it is concentrated in one geographic area (like oil), the place where it’s concentrated is Australia and we don’t have to worry about some radical fundamentalist taking over the country—at least not any time soon.
So what’s stopping us from going nuclear? Those crazy little frogs across the Atlantic are getting 80% of their energy from nuclear—why aren’t we? Why are we remaining less healthy, poorer, and less stable, when the solution is already available? Because we’re afraid. That’s what ignorance does, though, I suppose. But if you get the itch- learn about the power and vote for more of it when you get the chance—in every country except for Iran, of course.