Everything you should know about nuclear power and reactors

    The U.S. is at something of an energy crossroads with most people looking to find sustainable energy sources for the future of the nation and the planet as a whole. At the current time, the cost of removing fossil fuels from the ground has never been cheaper and renewable sources of energy are growing in popularity with a cheaper price point than ever before. The drive towards an energy-efficient future means the government must explore as many different sources of energy as possible to bring success to the future. Nuclear power in the US remains controversial and is often derided as dangerous, but do the facts add up to this fact?

    1. Protecting the environment

    Whether we believe in climate change or not, the world we live in is undoubtedly changing and caring for the only world we have so far found to live in. One of the common misconceptions about nuclear power is that it is not energy efficient or helpful to the environment. However, the environment is aided by a switch from fossil fuels to nuclear power as this is a zero-emissions power source and will reduce the carbon footprint of individual states and the nation as a whole.

    The current crop of nuclear reactors providing power for the U.S. is already having a major impact on the way the nation reduces its emissions and looks to limit the carbon emitted in the future. Current nuclear power sources in the U.S. have been estimated by the National Energy Institute to have reduced carbon emissions by around 14,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide between 1995 and 2016. In total, nuclear power has reduced carbon dioxide emissions totaling a similar amount emitted by three billion vehicles over the same period of time.

    2. A smaller land footprint

    One of the major concerns the U.S. is facing in the last few decades is the expansion of cities and metropolitan areas as the population continues to grow. The issue of placing a nuclear power plant with a reactor in a small area of land is one that can be addressed with ease and is far smaller than the land used by a traditional power plant or wind and solar farm.

    One of the major problems we are facing as our population continues to expand is a lack of space that can be seen in almost every community. Renewable energy sources often need far greater space than nuclear power plants that have a smaller footprint. To match the power output of a typical nuclear reactor, more than three million solar panels would be needed creating an enormous farm and more than 400 wind turbines. The amount of space needed to generate power through sustainable sources through renewable power producers, such as solar and wind would require unmanageable levels of land to be used with the correct conditions for power to be produced.

    3. Raising awareness about nuclear power possibilities

    The world will soon come to a crisis in terms of energy when the fossil fuels that have been in place for millions of years begin to run out. Some experts have already stated we have passed the tipping point in terms of fossil fuels while others believe the point of no return will be reached in the next few years.

    New renewable sources of energy will have to be found if we are to survive with our current level of lifestyle as a society. The problem facing nuclear power is a lack of knowledge about this form of power production is a lack of understanding on the part of the population of the U.S. The statistics show nuclear power plants produce more sustainable energy than other sources on average but an estimated 70 percent of the population have no idea of this. The cleanliness of the nuclear power industry is shown in the fact all of the fuel used in the last 60 years to produce nuclear power could fit onto a single football field which shows how the fuel can be a leader in the energy future of the U.S.