why do we need nuclear power plants
Answer 1: The question about what kinds of energy we use and
why we use them is very much a political question more than it is a scientific one. Science can only comment on the facts of energy production. The reality is that humans require energy. We need energy for heat, to cook, for transportation, and to run all of our technological equipment. So, producing energy is absolutely necessary. Right now, about 86% of the energy used commercially in the United States comes from fossil fuels. These fuels are very harmful to the environment and dangerous to work with. For example, mining coal is very destructive, causing extreme damage to ecosystems and producing toxic wastes that contaminate our water supplies. The burning of fossil fuels produces air pollution, including large quantities of CO2, which is a major concern because of its role in global warming. Use of fossil fuels as an energy source is also very inefficient, with most of the energy present in the fuel being wasted as heat rather than turned into useable energy. Currently, only about 6. 5% of the energy being used commercially in the United States comes from nuclear energy. However, in many ways nuclear energy is far superior to fossil fuels. Nuclear energy produces no greenhouse gases, and an 8. 5g pellet of uranium can provide as much energy as burning one ton of coal. The main problem with nuclear energy is that it produces radioactive waste. This raises concerns about radioactive pollution escaping into the environment. People are also concerned about the possibility of having a nuclear accident that could cause radioactive contamination to escape, or of terrorists or other groups deliberately causing such a problem. It is part of human nature that people are often simply more comfortable with things they are familiar with, and are suspicious or fearful of things that they are not. For example, people are sometimes afraid of being struck by lightning or eaten by a shark, even though the chances of such a thing happening are very remote.
They will then smoke cigarettes and drive cars without a seat belt even though these habits are thousands of times more dangerous and present a very real and significant risk to their health and safety. A similar situation occurs with how people perceive nuclear energy. Some concerns that people have over nuclear power are not justified. For example, people sometimes think that a nuclear power plant could explode like a nuclear bomb, but this is not actually possible. In terms of energy production, because coal has been around a long time and is something that is encountered frequently, people are comfortable with it. In contrast, nuclear energy is something far more technologically complex and mysterious, and so oftentimes people view it with suspicion and as something that is very dangerous. The reality, though, is that estimates suggest that around 10,000 people die every year as a direct result of the normal coal-producing and burning industry, whereas there are no known deaths have every occurred from normal use of nuclear energy! Nuclear energy is not a perfect energy source, and certainly concerns of radioactive contamination and accidents are legitimate ones. However, many people do view nuclear power as a safer, more efficient, and less polluting alternative to fossil fuels, and they would disagree with the assumption in your question that it is something that is very dangerous. However, the decision on which energy sources to invest in and use is ultimately one that is made by governments based on many different factors, of which safety, the environment, cost, public opinion, and international policy are only a few! There are concerns around the world about taking up nuclear power projects, especially from the safety and large-scale upfront investment aspects. And for Bangladesh, there is a concern that since we are a densely populated country, a nuclear accident would be a massive disaster for us.
And yet we are moving ahead with the 2400MW USD 13. 5 billion infrastructure. Is it not too costly? Such a project is of course costly in the beginning. But compared to a conventional power plant that has a lifecycle of 22 years, a modern nuclear power plant has a lifecycle of above 60 years. Thus in the long run, the nuclear power project is not costlier than a conventional power plant. Is it not too risky? Yes, in case of an accident, it has greater risks than any conventional power plant. That is why a nuke power plant comes with extra measures of safety from the very beginning. Each step of its construction has to be okayed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)Бthe global top body for the technologyБin order to ensure that construction work adheres to certain safety standards. Do we really need this? We need this because as a nation we can no longer afford to bank on one or two sources of primary energy like gas and oil. In a world where countries lock themselves in wars or political turmoil over oil or large volumes of energy reserves, and where everyone is fighting to survive in the economic race, Bangladesh needs to diversify its primary source of energy in as many ways as possible. For decades, cheap indigenous natural gas has been contributing significantly to the economic growth of the country. But we do not have infinite supply of gas. As a result, the country has been witnessing gas supply shortfalls for the last two decades. The country's power and industrial infrastructure has largely grown up around natural gas supply. The gas shortfall naturally affected power generation and industrial production, especially since 2004-05. Amid such a situation in 2009-2010, the government unrolled a plan to gradually shift focus from natural gas as a primary energy to multiple sources of energyБoil, coal, liquefied natural gas (LNG), nuclear and renewable technology.
Accordingly, the country now produces a good part of its power using imported fuel oil. It has a few large coal-fired power projects under implementation. Two parties are building LNG terminals to facilitate import of LNG in containers beginning next year. Upon import the LNG would be gasified and mixed with the natural gas supply systemБso that the gas-starved power plants and industries can function optimally. And then there is the 2400MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project being implemented by Russian agency Rosatom under a loan agreement. The USD 13. 5 billion project will be the biggest single project of the country, which is expected to go into full operation from 2023-2024. Is nuclear power really becoming unpopular around the world? Actually, the number of nuclear power projects under construction around the world is on the rise. According to World Nuclear Association website, over 45 countries are currently considering nuclear power projects. The frontrunners are UAE, Turkey, Belarus and Poland. Of these 45 countries, 20Бincluding BangladeshБdo not currently have a nuclear power plant. Most interestingly, oil-rich nations, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, are also rolling out nuclear power plants. Why do oil-rich nations want nuke power? The very reason Bangladesh wants it: to ensure energy security. Arab nations are also concentrating on building their solar power system for the same reason. According to energy experts, only a fool would not want to diversify their primary source of energy. Depending on one imported energy sourceБlike coal or oilБhas an additional risk. In case of a sudden price hike of that single source in the international market, or a constraint in supply due to political conflict, the dependent country could face an unwarranted crisis. Therefore, it is wise to diversify.
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