After Fukushima Germany was quick to close several nuclear power plants and reactors for fear of similar disaster. A shift into using photovoltaic panels and alternative energies has led them to setting a new solar power record. These panels will be joined by other sustainable energy sources by 2022 when the remaining nuclear stations are closed.
Do We Want Nuclear Power Plants?
Nuclear power plants supply about 20% of the power in the United States and almost three-fourths of its “clean-air” energy. Generated from uranium, a resource that is mined and nonrenewable, it’s hardly an environmentally friendly option. Once used up the waste becomes radioactive waste and needs to be stored in special containers buried deep underground, until it no longer proves to be a hazard. This is usually within a mountain.
Approximately 3 million Americans are living close to an operating nuclear power plant, within approximately 10 miles. And after last year’s nuclear disaster in Japan Americans are not the only ones concerned about the dangers of using nuclear power plants for energy.
From DoSomething.org: “11 Facts About Nuclear Disaster”
Japan has had three nuclear power plan accidents since 1999. The most recent accident in 2011 at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant occurred after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that damaged cooling systems.
In fact, countries around the world began rethinking their nuclear energy strategy. There are over 400 nuclear power plants around the world in thirty countries. However, Germany stands out in removing their nuclear energy systems.
Germany’s Reaction to Fukushima
Immediately after the Fukushima incident Chancellor Angela Merkel made an announcement that marked a significant shift in their energy policy. Germany shut down the seven oldest nuclear reactors. Later in May 2011, another announcement was made to completely get rid of nuclear energy by 2022.
New Solar Power Record
Germany’s solar power plants are helping to replace the remaining nuclear power stations as alternative energy. Equal to 20 nuclear power plants, at full capacity, the solar energy plants produced 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour. That set a new world record. It also met one-third of the electricity Germany needed on a work day (Friday). This helps prove that industrial nations are capable of meeting a large amount of their needs with sustainable energy sources, if not all.
Conclusion: Nuclear Energy Is Not Sustainable
With the need to mine uranium to generate nuclear energy, it cannot last forever. Uranium is not renewable. And as uranium mines continue to be used up nuclear power plants will eventually be replaced.
Why not replace nuclear power plants now? Let’s replace the nuclear plants with renewable energy plants, like Germany. In addition to solar energy, plans are in place to add other renewable energy sources, such as bio-mass and wind energies to meet their needs.
How long until nuclear power plants have until uranium is gone? Do you think that we should start shifting our energies sources to more renewable options?