Nuclear Energy in Australia

Australia has the world’s largest depot of uranium; uranium is a major raw material in the production of nuclear power. The irony of the matter is that Australia does not use these reserves to produce nuclear energy; two main reasons that has contributed to the un-exploitation are availability of rich coal deposits in the country, which are used as an alternative energy source, and opposition from anti-nuclear power movements. Despite this, there are some moves from the federal government to develop a nuclear energy plant in the country.

Australian Nuclear Energy was established in 2006 to advise the Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research on whether Australia should develop nuclear energy plants. In its operation, it has considered different views held by both opposing and those proposing the move[1]. This paper discusses the viability of a nuclear plant in Australia; it will discuss the benefits and shortcomings of a nuclear weapon.

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Nuclear Energy

Nuclear reactants have for long been used weapon as they are destructive and cause mass damage. However, some countries like China, Japan and the United states have tapped nuclear energy and used it as a source of energy in factories and homes; the energy is produced by controlling nuclear reactions and directing them to yield energy. Nuclear fusion (reaction) is the one employed (for commercial purposes) to produce heat that results in electricity production. By the year 2009, 10-15 % of world electricity was thought to have come from nuclear energy sources.

Advantages of Using Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy when well controlled is one form of clean energy; wastes from the plants are estimated to be less than 1%. The emissions (wastes) produced from a nuclear energy can be tapped and used for other factors. Uranium and plutonium that are major components in a nuclear energy plant, they can be tapped up to 95% and used to make mixed oxide oil and put in other commercial benefits[2].

The reserves that Australia has are adequate to give the country a large supply of energy for a long period. Australia has the world’s largest uranium deposit; as demand for fuel in industries is growing; national oil reserves and oil wells are draining. Again, nuclear energy can be manufactured in laboratories so that if well regulated, it can be the future energy source, this guarantees its unending existence[3].

Using of nuclear energy reduces emission of carbon to the environment; carbon is one of the green house emissions that lead to global warming. Kyoto protocol that was ratified in Japan, on 11 December 1997 and was aimed to be fully implemented by 16 February 2005 recommends for adoption of clean technology.

The 1995 National greenhouse Gas Inventory reported that, the net annual discharge of greenhouse gases in Australia was more than four hundred million tons of carbon dioxide. The highest percentage (about 18%) was contributed by agriculture activities while forestry and land use contributed about 12%. When nuclear energy is used, the country will not mind on green house emissions[4].

Disadvantages of nuclear energy

Producing nuclear power leads to environmental, health, and economic injuries. There is no 100% set method to control negative effects brought about by nuclear plants emissions; neither is there a way to avoid emission. Radioactive wastes that are produced in the production of nuclear energy affect the life of human beings and the environment that they live in negatively.

The effects of nuclear reactants spill over can be understood by the effects that it had on Japan after 1945 attack by United States. Today, many years after the bombing, the effects are still felt on the people who survived as they suffer from cancer, leukemia, and other related illnesses. These diseases have been carried forward genetically to their offspring in the succeeding generations[5].

In the misfortunes of leakages, Ukraine has been affected by Chernobyl disaster on 26 April 1986. The leakage was as result of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant; there was huge damage caused which is still felt even today. These memories are fresh in the minds of criticizers and thus they fear the repeat of a similar occurrence.

In 1979, there was a leakage of nuclear reactant plant in Pennsylvania, the result was a wide spread increase in the number of cancer diseases. Studies noted that over 200-300% of increase in leukemia was as a result of the leakage and 600-700% of increase in lung cancer was as a result of the same.

The problem that nuclear plants face is that they cannot wholly prevent an emission from occurring. Cancer is a disease that is not curable, it has continued to kill and paralyze people. When nuclear reactants are present in the environment, they hinder the salinity of the atmosphere and leads to cancer[6].

There is no fully reliable method that has been developed to ensure that there is no leakage of radioactive components, the problem is on the nature of the products. One of the ways that have been recommended to reduce any emission from radioactive plants is the use of steel cans; however, it is appreciated that despite the fact that they have been locked, there are high chances of reacting with the can and the gases will find their way out.

For security purposes, these plants can be target points and if successful, the effect can be wide spread. If the manufacturing plants are bombed, emitted radioactive materials of which will have adverse effects? Developing a nuclear plant is fighting campaigns that are aimed to reduce nuclear weapon production. When a plant is the target point, the damage is expected to reach areas that they were not supposed to reach.

Conclusion and recommendations

Australia has a potential of producing nuclear energy, the rich depots of unexploited nuclear reactants are cheap low material for nuclear energy; the Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research should go ahead and develop a nuclear plant but take precautions to prevent any dangers likely to come from the plants.

Bibliography

Alastair, Harris.2010. Nuclear Power for Australia? Available from Internet, http://ezinearticles.com/?Nuclear-Power-for-Australia?&id=374453 Accessed 13 April 2011.

Commonwealth of Australia.1992. National Greenhouse Response Strategy. Australian Government publishing service, Canberra.

Cravens, Gwyneth.2007. Power to Save the World: the Truth about Nuclear Energy. New York: Knopf.

Ernesto, Zedillo.2003. Global warming: looking beyond Kyoto. Washington: Brookings Institution Press.

Maul, Paul. 2006. Environmental impacts of nuclear power: past experience and future prospects. Available from Internet, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?reload=true&url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fiel5%2F2199%2F5474%2F00210741.pdf%3Farnumber%3D210741&authDecision=-203 Accessed 13 April 2011.

Walker, Samuel.2004. Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective. California: University of California Press.

Alastair, Harris.2010. Nuclear Power for Australia? Available from Internet, http://ezinearticles.com/?Nuclear-Power-for-Australia?&id=374453 Accessed 13 April 2011.
Walker, Samuel.2004. Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective. California: University of California Press. ^
Commonwealth of Australia.1992. National Greenhouse Response Strategy. Australian Government publishing service, Canberra.
Ernesto, Zedillo.2003. Global warming: looking beyond Kyoto. Washington: Brookings Institution Press.
Cravens, Gwyneth.2007. Power to Save the World: the Truth about Nuclear Energy. New York: Knopf.
Maul, Paul. 2006. Environmental impacts of nuclear power: past experience and future prospects. Available from Internet, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?reload=true&url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fiel5%2F2199%2F5474%2F00210741.pdf%3Farnumber%3D210741&authDecision=-203 Accessed 13 April 2011.

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