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Environmental Advantages of Nuclear Power

A nuclear bomb dropped on the United States would result in radioactive contamination that would kill millions of people and destroy the environment. However, paradoxically, the same nuclear technology that led to the bomb could provide clean, safe power that is actually good for the environment. Many Americans are unaware of the benefits of nuclear power on the environment, but it "provides a safe, clean and reliable source of electricity" that far surpasses the burning of fossil fuels in environmental responsibility.1 In fact, according to a study by Washington-based Energy Resources International, "nuclear energy(by substituting for fossil-fuel power plants(has prevented 219 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 98 million tons of nitrogen oxides from being discharged into the atmosphere since 1973."2 In addition, nuclear energy has "avoided the release of more than 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas linked to global warming."3 Moreover, the minimal amount of nuclear waste produced by a nuclear power plant is "carefully contained and safely stored," and the radiation levels are checked continuously.4

Radiation has known deleterious effects on living cells, so its effect on the environment can be devastating. However, in the case of nuclear power, the amount of radiation released into the environment is so small as to be insignificant. People on Earth are constantly exposed to natural nuclear radiation that comes from the earth and cosmic radiation from outer space in a total amount of approximately 1.86 millisievert per year, about 0.31 of which is from the cosmic radiation.5 This is a minuscule amount. Birmingham's Professor Fremlin has estimated that "the radiation dose received in Britain due to the nuclear power stations reduces our average life expectancy by one or two seconds."6 Radiation with such minimal biological effects is obviously not going to cause significant harm to the en...

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Environmental Advantages of Nuclear Power. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:44, July 01, 2022, from