Through out the history of the United states the main source of energy has been conventional Oil, Coal, and gas energy, or better known as Conventional petroleum energy. However as the demand for electricity sky rockets the pollution produced from the traditional fossil fuel burning plants is reaching dangerous levels. Gas, coal and oil burning power plants are as of now responsible for half of America’s air pollution (tripod/online).
Not to mention fossil fuels are the greatest contributors to global warming in today’s society. Burning coal produces massive amounts of carbon dioxide which slowly eats away the protection layer of our Ozone. Coal also contains radioactive material. In Comparison a coal fired power plant emits far more radiation into the air then a Nuclear power plant. I would also like to mention that not just America but the world’s fossil fuels reserves are decreasing dramatically.
You would think that over the years and after all the studies that have taken place about the dangers of conventional energy would have forced us to act upon this situation much faster, however in fact over the years the sulfurous coal which many plants use now causes way more pollution than coal used in the past. Most coal contains significant amounts of sulfur. After burning, this changes to sulfur dioxide and then eventually into sulfuric acid. If it is still not removed past a certain stage, burned sulfur is one of the main causes of acid rain (geocities/online).
Another disadvantage of using coal as a source of energy is it produces very large quantities of ash that has to be disposed of, which creates a lot of smoke. Natural gas is also one of the main components of conventional energy; however it too, is not so good for the environment but more importantly the world’s natural gas reserves are extremely limited. Like coal it also produces large amounts of carbon dioxide while also contributing to the greenhouse gases.
Another arising fact about natural gas is that we as a nation are consuming it so fast that the generation before us will see the price rise so much that it will no longer be an economical fuel to use. If you think about it, this means in the future we are going to have no choice but to reserve our natural gas for more valuable uses than burning fuel. Lastly there is oil despite the low cost of oil itself, locating additional oil reserves is an extremely costly and ongoing process with no guarantee of success.
For instance, when that does not work we have to buy expensive oil from other nations leading our country into an increasingly amount of debt. It is quite obvious that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages by a long shot. For example oil is non- sustainable which makes it not very reliable. Basically there could easily be a shortage and we would have no alternative fuel to fall back on. Oil spills are also a huge factor in the producing process of energy.
Especially at sea , it causes severe pollution to a variety of ecosystems which then in most cases harms the wildlife, sometimes even results in death. Unlike nuclear energy which is for the most part environmentally friendly and constantly producing for itself. Nuclear energy originates from the splitting of uranium atoms in a process called fission. At a nuclear power plant the fission process is used to generate heat for producing steam, this then is used by a system of turbines to generate electricity(about/online ).
This process creates very little pollution while at the same time, the estimated amount of time for the uranium source ( the basic element of nuclear energy) to run out is in about one thousand years where as to conventional oil has only fifty years before it is burned up. It would be important to establish this plants as soon as possible to effectively decrease the amount of pollution being put out every day quickly. Nuclear power plants also use very little fuel so they are much less vulnerable to shortages due to strikes or natural disasters.
Another plus to nuclear energy is, international relations will have little effect on the supply of fuel to the reactors because uranium is evenly deposited around the world. To most people safety is the biggest issue towards producing nuclear energy. However from my point of view I find it to be very safe, there are so many precautions that prevent a disaster or meltdown that throughout history it has been prevented well.
For instance, each year anywhere from ten thousand to fifty thousand Americans die from respritory diseases due to the burning of coal, as to the three hundred deaths in nuclear energy related accidents. If you ask me that is an outstanding statistic. Another precaution taken is the six feet think walls of the nuclear reactor dome designed to withstand extreme situations such as , an earthquake or even a direct hit by a commercial airliner.
After researching my position on nuclear energy I strongly believe that it is important to make the transition from conventional to nuclear energy as soon as possible. In the end, it is less harmful to the environment, it is a more affordable solution in the end for our nation; that is already up to our necks in debt, and it also results in far less deaths of our American citizens annually. I feel as if conventional energy should simply just be a part of history now, so that we can look past it, and like all other mistakes from history not repeat it.