5 Advantages of Nuclear Energy Explained

Advantages of nuclear energy are; energy security improvement, near-unlimited output, low carbon footprint, job creation, and high reliability.

This article discusses the advantages of nuclear energy, as follows;





1). Improvement of Energy Security (as one of the Advantages of Nuclear Energy)

Nuclear power contributes to energy security by providing a supportive energy resource that can be used alongside fossil fuels and renewable energy, so that an array of diverse options is made available to reduce the risk of outage due to technical failures, natural hazards or resource depletion.

In several parts of the world, nuclear power is vital to ensure the security of energy supply, especially where fossil fuel availability is insufficient to meet the demand, or where carbon tax policies have reduced the scale of fossil fuel commercialization.

Nuclear energy is secure where adequate measures are taken to provide efficient facilities and maintenance, in the form of careful management of operations and radioactive waste from nuclear power plants (NPPs) and reactors [1].

Security threats associated with nuclear power are; environmental degradation by radioactive pollution, fire hazards, and vandalism, among others. The risk of these events can be mitigated through effective management strategies.




2). Near-unlimited Power Output

Nuclear power is not limitless, but has the potential to yield enormous amounts of energy per unit mass of fuel when compared to other energy resources like fossil fuel, liquid hydrogen, and biofuel.

There are mechanisms by which nuclear fuel can be made to yield near-limitless amounts of energy. One of them is through fuel recycling.

Recycling of nuclear fuel is simply the act and process of re-using radioactive products of nuclear reactions to produce energy in a continuous reaction chain.

Reactors like the fast breeder model have been designed in such a manner that equips them to achieve this [3], while other approaches might involve deliberate sorting of nuclear waste to separate reusable fuel materials.

Another promising approach for near-limitless nuclear energy production is nuclear fusion; which is the same reaction-mechanism by which solar energy is naturally generated.

Developments as of late 2022 suggest that a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion technology may have already been achieved [2].

Although nuclear fusion does not yield unlimited energy, it is capable of producing several times more energy than it consumes when induced under controlled conditions, as well as far more energy than is produced from nuclear fission.

The high yield prospect of nuclear energy further emphasizes its role in strengthening energy security, as well as its cost-effectiveness as an energy option.




3). Low Carbon Footprint (as one of the Advantages of Nuclear Energy)

While nuclear energy is not the most environment-friendly option, it is among those which can be described as having low environmental impact with regards to greenhouse emission, making it an eligible option where energy decarbonization is concerned.

The amount of CO2 emitted when nuclear energy is released from radioactive fuel is negligible; however, other processes involving the extraction and processing of nuclear fuel can yield between 5.1 and 50 grams per kilowatt hour (gCO2/kWh). This is one of the lowest emission levels among low-carbon energy options.

Nuclear energy is considered carbon-free because no significant CO2 emissions are produced as a result of nuclear fission in a reactor [6]. This places it in a prominent position with regards to energy transition, green economy and sustainable development initiatives.

This however does not mean that there are no impacts of nuclear energy on the ecosystem. Nuclear energy is bad for the environment when sufficient safety measures are not taken to isolate radioactive waste and prevent nuclear pollution, as well as when a sustainable approach is not applied for the extraction and processing of nuclear fuel.

Steam produced from nuclear heat and used to operate the turbine and generator components of a nuclear power plant, must also be isolated from the environment, since water vapor is a greenhouse gas and can contribute to global warming.




4). Job Creation

Job creation is another advantage associated with nuclear energy.

Career opportunities in nuclear energy include, plant design and construction, maintenance, fuel extraction and processing, reactor engineering and nuclear medicine.

Because of the sensitivity and complexity involved, at least a bachelor's degree is generally needed to get a job in the nuclear industry.

Both direct and indirect job creation through nuclear energy development can contribute to economic growth [4].

Advantages of Nuclear Energy: Job Creation (Credit: IAEA Imagebank 2013 .CC BY-SA 2.0.)
Advantages of Nuclear Energy: Job Creation (Credit: IAEA Imagebank 2013 .CC BY-SA 2.0.)




5). High Reliability (as one of the Advantages of Nuclear Energy)

Nuclear power is reliable because of the high energy density, versatility, and regenerative potential of nuclear fuel.

These attributes make nuclear energy to be relatively inexpensive, by demanding less maintenance and fuel replenishment than are required by fossil fuel power plants and other energy technologies.

Nuclear is the most reliable form of energy in many regions where it is used, as nuclear power plants have been observed to function with more consistency and high performance than other energy systems [5].

In the United States, nuclear power output has reached high reliability levels of over 90% in recent years, with nuclear plants experiencing far lower rates of outage.





Advantages of nuclear energy are;

1. Improvement of Energy Security

2. Near-unlimited Power Output

3. Low Carbon Footprint

4. Job Creation

5. High Reliability





1). Alwaeli, M.; Mannheim, V. (2022). "Investigation into the Current State of Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Waste Management—A State-of-the-Art Review." Energies 15(12):4275. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/en15124275. (Accessed 15 January 2023).

2). Clery, D. (2022). "With historic explosion, a long sought fusion breakthrough." Available at: https://www.science.org/content/article/historic-explosion-long-sought-fusion-breakthrough. (Accessed 15 January 2023).

3). Gurusamy, P.; Gopalakrishnan, V.; Prabhakaran, M. (2009). "Multiple recycling of fuel in prototype fast breeder reactor." Pramana 72(5):819-832. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12043-009-0074-z. (Accessed 15 January 2023).

4). Kenley, C. R.; Klingler, R. D.; Plowman, C.; Soto, R.; Turk, R. J.; Baker, R. L.; Close, S. A.; McDonnell, V. L.; Paul, S. W.; Rabideau, L. R.; Rao, S. S.; Reilly, B. P. (2009). "Job creation due to nuclear power resurgence in the United States." Energy Policy 37(11):4894-4900. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2009.06.045. (Accessed 13 January 2023).

5). Ngarayana, I. W.; Do, D.; Murakami, K.; Suzuki, M. (2019). "Nuclear Power Plant Maintenance Optimisation: Models, Methods & Strategies." Journal of Physics Conference Series 1198(2):022005. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1198/2/022005. (Accessed 15 January 2023).

6). Verbruggen, A.; Yurchenko, Y. (2017). "Positioning Nuclear Power in the Low-Carbon Electricity Transition." Sustainability 9(1):163. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/su9010163. (Accessed 15 January 2023).

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