Is Nuclear Energy the Best Alternative to Fossil Fuels?

Essay by hell_dragonJunior High, 8th grade September 2006

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Alternative sources of power are hydroelectrical power, solar power, wind power and nuclear power. Of these four alternatives, three requires the cooperation of Mother Nature to generate electricity. The odd one out is nuclear power, which is independent of the environment to produce electricity. While all four alternatives have their own pro and cons, I believe that nuclear power is indeed the best alternative to fossil fuels.

Hydroelectrical power plants harness the kinetic energy of fast-flowing water to produce electricity. Although water may be renewable and abundant, there are many other factors that have to be considered before building a hydroelectrical power plant. Take for example, location. The power plant has to be built at a valley of stable and impermeable bedrock that can be dammed. Also, there has to be a constant and reliable supply of water to the power plant. In essence, the location of the power plant depends upon the valley shape, geology and lake potential.

Few places in the world are suitable for the construction of a hydroelectrical power plant. Adding to the list of disadvantages, hydroelectrical power plants are costly to construct. Furthermore, in the process of construction, people will be displaced and widespread environmental destruction like deforestation will take place. Hydroelectrical power's energy output is not as high as that of nuclear power and it is unreliable as it is only as stable as its water supply.

Solar panels harness the energy of the sun to produce electricity. Although sunlight may be abundant, there are many limiting factors to its usage. These factors include cost, space and amount of exposure to bright sunlight. Electricity generated by solar power is four to ten times costlier than electricity generated by fossil fuels. Solar power requires a large amount of solar panels to generate a...