Nuclear energy is a rare form of energy. It is the energy stored in the center or the nucleus of an atom. After we bombard the nucleus into two parts, two different elements are formed along with the emission of high energy. The process generally followed is called fission. There is another reaction called fusion, which produces almost one tenth of the energy as produced during fission. Fission is the chain reaction which needs uranium-235. The nuclear energy is considered as the worthiest alternative source of energy after fossil fuels.
Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy
1. Radioactive Waste : The waste produced by nuclear reactors needs to be disposed off at a safe place since they are extremely hazardous and can leak radiations if not stored properly. Such kind of waste emits radiations from tens to hundreds of years. The storage of radioactive waste has been major bottleneck for the expansion of nuclear programs. The nuclear wastes contain radio isotopes with long half-lives. This means that the radio isotopes stay in the atmosphere in some form or the other. These reactive radicals make the sand or the water contaminated. It is known as mixed waste. The mixed wastes cause hazardous chemical reactions and leads to dangerous complications. The radioactive wastes are usually buried under sand and are known as vitrification. But these wastes can be used to make nuclear weapons.
2. Nuclear Accidents : While so many new technologies have been put in place to make sure that such disasters won’t happen again like the ones Chernobyl or more recently Fukushima but the risk associated with them are relatively high. Even small radiation leaks can cause devastating effects. Some of the symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue. People who work at nuclear power plants and live near those areas are at high risk of facing nuclear radiations, if it happens.
3. Nuclear Radiation : There are power reactors called breeders. They produce plutonium. It is an element which is not found in the nature however it is a fissionable element. It is a by-product of the chain reaction and is very harmful if introduced in the nature. It is primarily used to produce nuclear weapons. Most likely, it is named as dirty bomb.
4. High Cost : Another practical disadvantage of using nuclear energy is that it needs a lot of investment to set up a nuclear power station. It is not always possible by the developing countries to afford such a costly source of alternative energy. Nuclear power plants normally take 5-10 years to construct as there are several legal formalities to be completed and mostly it is opposed by the people who live nearby.
5. National Risk : Nuclear energy has given us the power to produce more weapons than to produce things that can make the world a better place to live in. We have to become more careful and responsible while using nuclear energy to avoid any sort of major accidents. They are hot targets for militants and terrorist organizations. Security is a major concern here. A little lax in security can prove to be lethal and brutal for humans and even for this planet.
6. Impact on Aquatic Life : Eutrophication is another result of radioactive wastes. There are many seminars and conferences being held every year to look for a specific solution. But there is no outcome as of now. Reports say that radioactive wastes take almost 10,000 years to get back to the original form.
7. Major Impact on Human Life : We all remember the disaster caused during the Second World War after the nuclear bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Even after five decades of the mishap, children are born with defects. This is primarily because of the nuclear effect. Do we have any remedy for this? The answer is still no.
8. Fuel Availability : Unlike fossil fuels which are available to most of the countries, uranium is very scarce resource and exist in only few of the countries. Permissions of several international authorities are required before someone can even thought of building a nuclear power plant.
9. Non Renewable : Nuclear energy uses uranium which is a scarce resource and is not found in many countries. Most of the countries rely on other countries for the constant supply of this fuel. It is mined and transported like any other metal. Supply will be available as long as it is there. Once all extracted, nuclear plants will not be of any use. Due to its hazardous effects and limited supply, it cannot be termed as renewable.
Various nuclear energy programs are undergoing in developed as well as developing nations like India. Not to mention, nuclear energy advantages are far ahead of advantages of fossil fuels. That is the reason that it has become most favored technology to produce energy.