The ongoing Fukushima disaster gave nuclear power a black eye that rivals Chernobyl. But demand for energy is growing, and alternatives like wind and solar are unable to serve as the sole energy source (owing to their intermittent nature and the lack of a good energy-storage technology). Combined with the growing movement to limit air pollution, which undercuts coal and natural gas, this trend may giving nuclear power an unexpected boost. Bill Sweet at IEEE Spectrum suggests “there are distinct signs indicating that educated and environmentalist opinion is moving in a distinctly more pro-nuclear direction.” Citing a CNN documentary, “Pandora’s Promise,” Sweet reiterates a pertinent question: “Why [do] we get so [anxious] about the possible dangers of ionizing radiation and reactor accidents when millions of people are dying each year from exposure to air pollution from coal-fired power plants and automobiles[?]”
Nuclear power offers a number of critical advantages that address the growing need for energy, but it also suffers under the burdensome reputation that a few high-profile accidents and the development of ultra-destructive weapons has garnered it. Also, the sheer expense of building reactor facilities hinders utility companies from pursuing nuclear. But the potential of nuclear power to meet demand with minimal carbon emissions could make it a necessary part of the energy mix, particularly if nations want to continue to expand their economies.
Read more about nuclear power