Is nuclear energy better than solar energy and wind energy?

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  • JSB
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Howard has given a very good answer but two important issues remain to be answered.

    The first issue is one of resource depletion. Oil, gas, coal and uranium were all created in the earth at an early stage in the development of the earth. They are not being created now so if we want to leave our children and grandchildren with a range of options for dealing with the growing energy crisis we should cut back on our use of these resources. Already the mining companies are having to explore in more difficult circumstances (deep sea and under ice caps) so the problem is real and growing more serious. And all these materials have other vital uses too (uranium isotopes for medical uses, oil for plastics etc).

    The second issue is that of waste disposal. No answer has yet been found to the problem of how to dispose of nuclear waste (including worn out power stations) safely. The waste created so far is simply being stored at the power stations in the hope that a solution will be found. Various options have been discussed but nothing has yet been decided and nobody has any idea how much they will cost. This means that the cost is being deferred for future generations and may outweigh the extra we currently have to pay for solar and wind energy.

    My conclusion is that we should minimise or totally avoid the use of nuclear energy until we know that we can dispose of the waste safely and economically and protect facilities and waste against accidents or attack - again at reasonable cost. Otherwise we may regret our reluctance to pay for sustainable energy such as solar, wind, tide, hydro, geothermal etc.

    Source(s): 41 years working for the UK Government Departments for agriculture and environment.
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They are correct, wind power is cheaper for now. Wind farms are not practical because they have been placed in the windiest locations, any additional wind farms placed up will not have the same bang for buck and there is little you do to imprve the technology. Solar power is horrendous when you really look at it. First, the impact to the environment through the creating of the solar cells is huge. Solar cell break rather easily. I looked at placing solar cell up on my house and found that if I did all of the work it would cost about half as much as a contractor. Even at this, it would take 13 years to recover the initial investment. Since I have hail storms every 2 years, solar power would not work.

    Nuclear is the best, because it can deliver the power required with less cost. Also after the recycling of the nuclear waste, the amount of waste produced is small especially in comparison with solar that has every chipped solar cell being throw away. The only reason it cost so much is all of the red tape that has been placed to limit nuclear power. Given its new necessity, however, if the liberals and the conservatives would work together on this issue, we could have cheaper and cleaner power and have a win-win situation for everyone but the greedy corporations.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Not necessarily better, but it yields more power for the dollar and it's more constant. Both solar and wind put together can't produce the kind of power that nuclear energy can. Obviously solar and wind energy are cleaner.

    Picture it this way. Your bike and your skateboard are both cleaner to operate than your car, but when you need to get from A to B, which delivers the most service, in the rain, over long distances, with time constraints, etc.?

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  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Better in terms of what?

    The only reason anybody considers nuclear power is because it's way more energy dense than coal. But you have even more environmental problems with nuclear energy than you do with coal - even if the actual plant itself doesn't generate carbon dioxide. Given the choice between carbon dioxide and easily proliferated depleted uranium, I'll take the CO2 thanks.

    Besides the whole issue of radioactive waste, there's the fact that you're just using it to heat water anyway, nobody knows how much energy or money it takes to decommission a nuclear reactor after it's finished its short useful life. Oh and because there's only a finite amount or uranium and a fair chunk of that isn't viable because of its low quality (like brown coal is to regular coal) it wouldn't take all that long before we started to run out of that aswell.

    There are issues with solar and wind energy too. Apparently it takes about 10 years for a solar panel to generate more energy (or is it cost? I'm not sure) than it took to create and install it. With wind power, if you install too many in one area you could change the wind patterns; there's also an efficiency/cost issue with wind turbines too.

    But solar energy is predicted to last for another 5 billion years, and we can't exactly consume it at a higher/lower rate like we can, and do, with fossil fuels.

    Without getting into the entire long-winded argument, I think the best option is to put the effort and research into as many different energy technologies as possible to make them viable and maximise efficiency (one of the laws of thermodynamics states you can never have 100% efficiency), and use them in combination.

    For example, heliostats in arid regions, dynamos(?) under footpaths in dense pedestrian areas, solar panels, wind power, geothermal power, some sort of wind turbine modified to turn and store power from rainfall, nano-textile technologies, utilising biogas etc. Not just focus on one technology at a time and have a repeat of the whole car industry thing.

    But that is just my opinion from the plethora of information I have absorbed about the issue, and I'm not an expert. The short answer is no, nuclear is not the answer, never has been. Silly 1950s people trying to make nuclear-powered cars...

    Source(s): I've studied this sort of thing in subjects from engineering, science, arts, social science, environmental science, chemistry and economics/business backgrounds as well as from an environmentalist point of view. Some things you should go read/see: "Who Killed the Electric Car?" "Limits to Growth" - about people not understanding the exponential function, and peak oil "Blowin' in the Wind" - warning, deformed babies from radiation exposure The Department of Climate Change website (if in Oz) or your appropriate govt authority if not. Almost anything published by people like Sharon Beder, Ian Lowe etc. Heck, go watch "An Inconvenient Truth" if you haven't seen it yet, then "Power of Community" to see what Cuba did when faced with peak oil. Google or check journal databases aswell.
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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    There is a step-by-step video guide online right now that can show you how to reduce your power bill by making your own solar panels or wind energy system.

    Take a look at it: http://tinyurl.com/Earth4EnergyRew

    Why pay thousands of dollars for solar energy ($27,000 average cost) when you can build your own solar panel system for just a fraction of the retail cost. You can build a single solar panel or you can build an entire array of panels to power your whole house.

    Some people are saving 50% on their power bill, some people are reducing their bill to nothing. But what’s most impressive is that just by following these instructions some are even making the power company pay them!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Nuclear power is the only 200% green renewable source of electrical power other than hydro electric. With technology available since the mid 1970s nuclear is 200% renewable and in fact is better than renewable as in the recycling process you end up with more new material than you put old in. Without recycling we only have material for a few hundred to maybe a thousand year. With recycling we have material for millions of years.

    The problem with nuclear is strictly political because back in the 50s the owners of most of the coal mines in the USA realized that nuclear power would eliminate 90% or more of the market for their only product and so began funding some of the most radical environmental groups world wide. In most of the rest of the world they were ignored as the nutcases they really are. In the US on the other hand because these same big energy corporations were the major source of funding for the liberal wing of the Democratic party all of the liberals signed on to the anti nuke pogrom and brought the trial lawyers association along with them.

    Thus through these groups using political and legal abusive tactics to slow or prevent the building of and operation of the plants they made them a very costly operation when in reality they should be less than half the cost per Kw of coal fired plants. These same industry funded groups are also behind the legal hassling of wind farms and large industrial solar power plants. That any practical source of power other than coal, gas and oil is under fierce legal harassment by the same groups should make it clear that nuclear is not being treated fairly.

    And the same group of people from the same industry are also the funding source for the entire co2 causes global warming farce. It is simply amazing how a few powerful industrialists with one political party and a bunch of lawyers can cripple a nation and break it while reaping gigantic profits from energy speculation.

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  • 1 decade ago

    All of these have their place, I don't think we can call one of them better.

    Nuclear is better than coal, as it does not put more CO2 into the atmosphere. It is presently cheaper than solar, and provides a steady, reliable output.

    In the case of an individual home, nuclear is not practical, and usually, neither is wind nor hydro. Solar competes with electricity at the retail rate, so can actually be cost effective over a period of time.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Unfortunately everyone here is saying that Nuclear is more cost effective, but that is just not true. When all is said and done, a nuclear plant will produce electricity for about $0.14 per kWh while a wind farm will produce electricity at $0.07 per kWh.

    While the wind farm will only produce electricity when the wind is blowing and a solar plant will only produce power while the sun is out, Nuclear does have its place, but it is very expensive to build and maintain. The 14 cents per kWh does not even include the massive expenses including waste disposal, massive insurance premiums and decommissioning.

    When comparing the two in terms of costs, solar and wind are much more cost effective.

    When comparing nuclear to solar/wind in terms of CO2 output and pollution in the entire lifecycle, they are both pretty equal. Solar and wind produce a little less co2, but surprisingly, nuclear is right on the level.

    So, to conclude.... Nuclear is super expensive to build (7 Billion for 1,500 megawatt plant), permit and maintain when compared to every other type of electrical generation. This is why not many plants are being built. Nuclear is relatively clean, aside from the toxic waste which must be stored properly for 10 of thousands of years. I personally love solar and wind, but nuclear definitely has its place.

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  • howard
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    There are significant issues with nuclear energy which have been debated for at least 40 years. Despite that, France has one of the most significant and well-planned "cradle to grave" nuclear programs in the world, with a very large percentage of it's electrical needs met by nuclear.

    "Better" is a difficult argument to make, because you have not designated how you are looking at it. Solar energy itself does not pollute, but the manufacture of silicon-based solar cells certainly does. They are not very efficient as they only produce during daylight hours. Wind energy is more efficient, but many people (for reasons I don't understand) object to the placement of towers in their neighborhoods, claiming visual and noise pollution. Of course these same people would object to a nuclear power plant in their neighborhood!

    From a practical point of view, the world has got to chose between increasing electrical production or reducing power requirements by either coming up with more efficient products or by lowering expectations abouth how to use it

    The technical demands of safely running a nuclear reactor means that placing one in the hands of a third world government may not be the wisest thing to do. Nuclear power plants are also a potential terrorist target, therefore locating one in an unstable country would be a mistake as well.

    Just some thoughts on your question.

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  • 1 decade ago

    nuclear energy is definitely more effective in generating electicity that can serve any country. however, there are two sides to a coin. in comparison with solar energy and wind energy, which are slowly, but surely generate electricity, Nuclear energy poses lots of environmental threats.howdo we dispose of the toxic wastes generatec in the process. solar and wind energy are definitele CLEANER ENERGY SOURCES

    Source(s): my head
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