Nuclear Power Challenges and Solutions
Nuclear power is formed by converting heat energy from a nuclear fission chain reaction into electricity. Heat produced inside a nuclear vessel is used to change water into steam which then produces heat. It is a very competent source of energy compared to other sources, for instance, hydropower. The knowledge required is readily accessible and huge amounts of electrical energy can be produced at a single plant. However, there are several issues that are raised against nuclear power especially in the United Arab Emirates. Environmental alarms are still unresolved due to hazardous emissions and active wastes. It is critical, therefore, to establish strategies to curb the negative effects associated with nuclear energy for it to be efficient.
The main concern of the United Arab Emirates in regard to nuclear energy is driven by the need to develop extra sources of power to meet upcoming demand predictions. It will lead to a fast expansion of the country`s economy. The country has taken measures to examine feasible options to meet the forthcoming demand but nuclear power seems to be the best possibility (Jayaraman et al, 2015). Use of crude oil was found to be logistically worthy but valuations revealed that a substantial future dependence on liquids would have great financial costs.
In order to complete operational transparency, the UAE has established the Nuclear Energy Program Implementation Organization (NEPIO) to evaluate and implement a peaceful nuclear energy program. Joint-venture arrangements provided to foreign investors are meant to guarantee the construction and operation of future nuclear power plants. It will provide a continuous and fully transparent window to make it virtually impossible for any party to mistrust the country’s nuclear activities. The UAE has also established steps necessary to ensure effective public information and engagement (Jayaraman et al, 2015). The desired locations for the development of the power plants have to be communicated to the residents first. Awareness of the issues raised by nuclear power with respect to health, safety and environment is another important part of the plan.
The UAE has recognized strategies related to assessment and possible progress of peaceful nuclear energy to avoid risky effects associated with it. They are dedicated to guarding nuclear resources efficiently while they are transported within the country. Any transgression relating to theft or trafficking of fissionable materials will be treated as lawbreaking. With regard to trade regulation, the state will reinforce its export control system. It will block and reply efficiently to illegal trade of nuclear or other radioactive materials (Jayaraman et al, 2015).
Nuclear safety is one of the most important issues related to the construction of nuclear power plants in the UAE. It is important to analyze positive and negative effects of nuclear power to derive solutions. Research shows that the amount of greenhouse gases has decreased by half because of the prevalence of use of nuclear power. The expense of setting up a nuclear plant is moderately high but the expense of running it is quite low.
It is interesting to note that the focus is mainly put on the advantages of nuclear power generation. The disadvantages are rarely mentioned and often overlooked. One of the biggest issues is environmental impact in relation to uranium. The process of mining and transporting the nuclear fuel represents a significant environmental hazard. Once the fuel is used, one cannot simply take it to a landfill since its dangerous (Takahashi et al, 2015). Radioactive waste disposal is another concern. A nuclear power plant creates several metric tons of nuclear fuel per year and that comes with lots of waste products. The greater part of the latter transmits radiation and high temperatures. It can thus cause damage to living things and plants. It is imperative to note that decay of nuclear fuel to reach safe radioactive levels can take hundreds of years.
Nuclear calamities are also worth noting. The Chernobyl mishap that happened in Ukraine was the worst nuclear misfortune in history. Its detrimental effects on individuals and ecosystem can still be seen today. A similar accident happened in Fukushima in Japan and it caused serious environmental concerns (Takahashi et al, 2015). Uranium is finite and this makes nuclear energy non-renewable. It exists in few countries. It is also very expensive to mine and transport. During all these activities, it produces a considerable amount of waste that can result in environmental contamination and health concerns if not handled carefully. Nuclear energy is among the hot targets for militants. It has immense power that is used to make weapons. If these weapons fall into the wrong hands, it could lead to the end of the world. Nuclear power plants are prime targets for terrorist activities and a little lax in security can be lead to terrible consequences for the humankind. The UAE is resolute to overcome all these limitations related to nuclear power that may have hostile effects on the citizens and the environment.
The issue of nuclear power is very relevant to the UAE and Gulf region. This is because nuclear power has solid rewards since it is both maintainable for a very long period, and can be established in any country irrespective of its local uranium reserves. Statistics show that the world will need greatly increased energy supply in the next few years, especially cleanly-generated electricity. In previous years, a high percentage of primary energy used was converted into electricity. Nuclear power provides about eleven percent of the world’s electricity. It is the most environmentally friendly way of producing electricity on a large scale. Renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind power are costly per unit of output and are discontinuous but can be supportive on the verge of providing clean power (Onda et al, 2015). The production of electricity through nuclear energy restrains the amount of energy generated from fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Decreased use of fossil fuels means decreased greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and others. Currently, fossil fuels are used up faster than they are made. In future, these resources may be condensed or the price may increase becoming unreachable for most people.
Another advantage of nuclear power is that a small amount of fuel generates a considerable amount of energy. Thus, a lot of costs associated with raw materials, transport, management and mining of nuclear fuel will be saved. The price of nuclear fuels is twenty percent of the cost of energy generated. Moreover, the production of electric energy is continuous. A nuclear power plant can generate electricity for a very high percentage of annual time. It reduces the price volatility of other fuels such as petrol. This continuity helps in the electrical planning. Nuclear power does not rely on natural aspects. It’s a resolution for the main disadvantage of renewable energy, like solar energy or wind energy, because the periods of sun or wind do not always match with the times of more energy demand. Also, it’s an alternative to fossil fuels, so the consumption of fuels such as coal or oil is reduced and benefits the situation of global warming and global climate change. By reducing the use of fossil fuels, we also improve the quality of the air affecting the disease and quality of life (Le Pape, Field, & Remec, 2015).
Nuclear power has faced a lot of challenges but the global nuclear industry has continued to improve new skills that increase nuclear security. Developments in safety are necessary. International communities have been established and expertise exchanged to find a solution to these challenges. For example, the outcome of the Three Mile Island accident was shocking but the actions that followed led to improvement of nuclear safety. Likewise, the post-Fukushima activities also made nuclear technology much harmless and environmentally-friendly (Onda et al, 2015). The actions addressed prevention of damage caused by natural disasters, alleviation of accidents, emergency reply to nuclear disasters, clear nuclear guidelines and a stronger safety culture. Moreover, new organizations, such as Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, launched strengthen overall nuclear safety and security. Other nuclear plant operating countries have been also carrying out tests and taking actions to address the situation at hand.
The radiation produced within the core of nuclear reactors is comparable to natural radiation but much more powerful. However, protective shields are used to separate this radiation, making millions of people live in safely. Radiation experts, geologists and engineers have come up with plans for safe underground storage of nuclear waste. Geological repositories have also been considered to ensure that harmful radiation would not reach the surface even with severe earthquakes. Waste can be recovered if a new discovery offers ways to reprocess the material or accelerate the process of radioactive decay (Le Pape, Field & Remec, 2015).
In conclusion, even though many nations have hesitated to develop nuclear power since the 1970s, only the brave can overcome challenges. The Gulf region will become an icon within the Middle East and North African region for peaceful use of nuclear power. Nuclear power will be an energy source for supplying steady, sustainable, cost-effective and environment-friendly electricity worldwide. Therefore, governments and the nuclear industry leaders should discuss the issues of nuclear safety and the role of nuclear industry in improving nuclear security and safety. Such serious efforts to arrive at a consensus will pave the way for the save use of nuclear energy.