As the world feels the dire effects of climate change, many prominent scientists are working to provide safe, efficient, and clean alternative fuels and energies. As they scramble to find ways to make solar and wind farms cheaper and more efficient, there are others who know that a safe, relatively cheap, efficient, and clean energy already exists: nuclear power.
People fear nuclear power because they don’t understand it and don’t bother to learn about it. This fear depicts nuclear energy as a wholly destructive, weaponized, radioactive, unsafe, and expensive form of energy. In addition, every time there is an incident involving a nuclear power plant, such as Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island, or Fukushima, there is fear and opposition against nuclear energy.
If one looks towards a country like France, which derives nearly 80% of its power from nuclear plants, one would see that there is no danger presented by nuclear power plants so long as they are built and operated properly. In the total history of nuclear energy, there have only ever been four nuclear reactor meltdowns: Chernobyl and three at Fukushima. Compare this to the 700+ nuclear reactors throughout history and across the world and one will notice that the chances of a meltdown are very slim. In addition, as we learn more about the technology behind these plants and how to make them safer, the chance of an incident goes down significantly.
When it comes to the efficiency of these nuclear reactors, one should note that only 10% of the world’s energy needs are currently met by nuclear power. This is also important to note that there are only about 450 nuclear reactors in operation. By these numbers, with about 5,000 nuclear reactors, we could meet and exceed the world’s energy needs for generations to come.
Nuclear power plants also take up significantly less space than a solar or wind farm. For a solar farm to produce the same amount of energy as a nuclear plant, about 1,000 megawatts per year, it would need about 75 square miles; a nuclear plant requires only 1.3 square miles per 1,000 MW, while a wind farm would require about 350 square miles to even come close to producing the same amount.
source: The Trinity Tripod