Nuclear power, the unlikely alternative to fight climate change

Radioactive green?
Center stage at COP26
An unlikely alternative
Irreversible climate change damage by 2030
Remember Chernobyl
More efficient than solar or wind?
Tourism in Chernobyl
Nuclear reactors in Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia
The UK joins the US
France and Czech Republich, the EU nuclear alliance
Germany phases out nuclear power
China's nuclear future
A new kind of nuclear power
Old coal plants, new nuclear plants
Radiation for thousands of years
Fukushima as a warning
A long way for a bright future
The debate continues
Radioactive green?

Time is running out for the planet and we need to work together. The European Parliament declared nuclear energy as green in early July, without a small amount of criticism. However, how true is it that atomic power is environmentally-friendly? Let's find out!

Center stage at COP26

Nuclear power was at the center stage in COP 26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference celebrated in Glasgow in November 2021.

An unlikely alternative

Some experts gave brought up an unlikely alternative in the fight against greenhouse gas: nuclear power. What do they mean by that? And isn't it a risky option?

Irreversible climate change damage by 2030

Many countries are trying to slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the year set by the UN as the moment when the damage of climate change to the world will become irreversible. Some are looking into nuclear power as an alternative to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Remember Chernobyl

When people bring up the topic of nuclear energy, images such as Chernobyl or Fukushima come to mind, particularly in after HBO made a highly-acclaimed miniseries based on the 1980s disaster.

Image: HBO

More efficient than solar or wind?

Advocates of nuclear power claim that is a more efficient source than solar or wind power. They also say it can be vital to cut back our dependency on coal and fossil fuel, which generate far more greenhouse gas.

Pictured, a giant bear advertising nuclear power during the COP 26 in Glasgow.

Tourism in Chernobyl

Nuclear energy supporters also state that disasters like Chernobyl have been greatly exaggerated. People can now visit certain areas around the abandoned nuclear plant and the nearby ghost town Pripyat with minimal risk.

Nuclear reactors in Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia

At COP 26, the United States announced a plan to invest 25 million US dollars to build nuclear reactors in developing countries such as Brazil, Kenya and Indonesia. US special climate envoy John Kerry is seen here during COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The UK joins the US

Great Britain joins the US on their nuclear support. The UK unveiled  a plan at the conference to invest the equivalent of over 330 million US dollars into nuclear modular reactors and hit net zero gas emissions more rapidly.

France and Czech Republich, the EU nuclear alliance

The European Union is divided on the subject of nuclear energy. France, the Czech Republic and a few other member states signed a declaration stating that "if Europe is to win the climate war, it needs nuclear energy. It is a vital and reliable resource for all to secure a low-carbon future."

Germany phases out nuclear power

Meanwhile, Germany leads the anti-nuclear initiative within the EU and expects to completely phase out nuclear power by late 2022. This photo is of a nuclear plant in Lower Saxony, due to close down at the end of 2021.

China's nuclear future

Bloomberg reports that China expects to build 150 new nuclear reactors in the next 15 years as part of their plan to reach their greenhouse gas reduction goals. Currently, the country only has 35 reactors.

A new kind of nuclear power

The American company NuScale presented a new kind of reactor during COP 26. It promises to be safer and cheaper than the ones currently found in nuclear plants. Lenka Kollar, an executive of the company, can be seen here during a UN Climate Change Conference a few years back.

Old coal plants, new nuclear plants

Other projects presented at COP 26 were those planning to convert old coal plants into modular nuclear plants. This would ease the transition from fossil-based energy to something much cleaner, the presenters said.

Radiation for thousands of years

Critics of nuclear energy point out that this power source produces waste that can remain radioactive for thousands of years. In addition, people who are exposed to it can develop cancer.

Fukushima as a warning

They claim that, no matter how many safety measures are taken, there's always a risk that incidents like the one in the Japanese Fukushima Nuclear Plant in 2011 will occur again.

A long way for a bright future

TIME magazine asked Sergey Paltsev, deputy director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, for his thoughts on nuclear energy. Although he thinks it still needs to prove itself clean, safe, and cost-effective, Paltsev believes it “should be taken seriously” regarding climate change.

The debate continues

The debate about whether nuclear power should count as green energy continues. Nonetheless, there's not much time to fight the consequences of climate change.

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