Nuclear Electric power & Politics – Is Sustainable Living Debatable?

Neither McCain nor Obama oppose nuclear electric power,  their differences of opinion aren’t on the background facts of nuclear energy, but on impact on the environment. McCain focuses on an aggressive expansion of nuclear power plants, while Obama focuses nuclear power playing a only a part of the overall energy portfolio.

McCain is campaigning for “cheap, clean, secure energy for America” and the need to “transform electricity” through nuclear electrical power. Nuclear electricity is a proven, reliable, zero-emission source of energy, and he is campaigning that it is time to recommit to advancing our use of nuclear electric power. McCain also supports the idea that nuclear electricity is a major contender in climate control.

Obama on the other hand, is adamant about the fact that nuclear energy is not optimal. He has stated that, “there are no silver bullet solutions to our energy crises. Our economy, security and environment will be best served through a sustained effort to diversify our energy sources.” Obama has not ruled nuclear electric power out, but only as long as its clean and safe.

The researchers at Paradise Earth decided to take a closer look at the impact that nuclear electrical power generation will have on, not only our economy, but also our environment. How would constructing these nuclear electric power plants benefit our troubled nation?

Nuclear electricity technology is already in the works and operating throughout the world, so an investment in research and development won’t be necessary.
Nuclear power generation emits somewhat low levels of carbon dioxide; the contribution of nuclear energy plants to global warming is minimal.
One single plant can produce high levels of electrical energy.

But at what cost?

Radioactive waste is still an unsolved problem. The waste from nuclear energy is extremely dangerous and it has to be carefully looked after for several thousand years (10,000 years according to United States Environmental Protection Agency standards). And what happens if nuclear waste falls into the wrong hands?
Despite extremely high security standards, it is technically impossible to build a facility that is 100% secure and accidents can still happen. The consequences of an accident would be absolutely devastating both for human beings as for the environment. The more nuclear electricity plants (and nuclear waste storage shelters) that are built, the higher the probability of a disastrous failure (and/or terrorist attack) somewhere in the world.
The energy source for nuclear energy is Uranium, which is a scarce resource; its supply is estimated to last only for the next 30 to 60 years depending on the actual demand.

It is equally important to look seriously at sustainability; is nuclear energy sustainable? For several reasons, nuclear power is neither green nor sustainable:

Both nuclear waste and retired nuclear plants are a life-threatening legacy for future generations. Sustainability is blatantly contradicted if generations to come have to deal with dangerous waste generated from preceding generations.
Uranium, the source of energy for nuclear electricity, is available on earth only in limited quantities. Uranium is being consumed during the operation of the nuclear energy plant so it won’t be available any more for future generations. This again contradicts the principle of sustainability.