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Should Pakistan Be Jumping On The World Famous Band-Wagon Of Nuclear Energy?

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There are a large number of factors that are widely agreed upon. A high rate of incline in world’s population is taking place and this will continue for many decades. This increase in the population gives rise to the demand for energy even quicker. However, there are extensive grid systems setups that are expected to serve predominantly as usual.

Thus, a large-scale, strong trend has to be put forward in order to provide a reliable and continuous supply of electricity on this extensive grid. This strong trend should dominate its consideration qualitatively. Nuclear Energy is the best-chosen name to serve as this strong qualitative trend to generate energy and electricity instead of using renewable and other non-renewable sources.

As relative to large electricity demand, a sustainable form of energy is required for the upcoming generations. According to the law of conservation of energy, energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is only transformed from one form to another. Considering an atom, all the mass of an atom is concentrated in its nucleus .i.e. protons, carrying the positive charge and neutrons, carrying no charge. This nucleus of the atom goes through various fission and fusion reactions. After being processed by these chemical reactions, the nucleus releases a good amount of eco-friendly energy by breaking up the nucleus or unifying two nuclei into one, this form of energy is known as “Nuclear Energy” and it has vast pros and advantages in our industrial, economic and social surroundings.

Source: Star2.com

Nuclear energy is a categorized separately from renewable, but it is a sustainable form of energy. Renewable refers to harnessing the energy from natural sources that are provided by nature and are infinitely present in the environment. This includes wind, solar, hydro, and etc. The wind and solar energy are increasing extensively as seen in the modern world. Wind farms are being planted in order to take more advantage of the natural contribution. Today worldwide, 68% of the total energy comes from fossil fuels, 19% from hydropower, and 13.4% from nuclear fission. This is a very small proportion of nuclear fission contribution in the production of energy and there are many reasons due to which it should replace fossil fuels for this task.

The word “Nuclear” itself automatically refers to atoms and their structures. However, nuclear energy refers to the energy generated by the actions of nuclear reactions and their chemical reactivity. Most frequently, the reactions over which the generation depends upon are nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, and nuclear decay. The actinide series of periodic table contribute to the performance of these reactions. The elements that carry atomic number greater than 83 also play a vital role in these chemical reactions. The nuclear energy available per atom is roughly one million times greater than the chemical energy produced. The main sources of nuclear energy are uranium and thorium.

Source: ECmag.com

Uranium is a fast radioactive element and is found in large amount under the sea, oceans, grounds, and reserves. Nuclear reactors have to use uranium as an input fuel to function and result in the generation of energy by following nuclear fission reaction. The methodology to practically implement this function is using a once-through method and fast breeding reactors. Sustainability in relationship to the Uranium sources lies in the interaction, production, demand, and extraction of uranium. This enables usable resources to get created effectively.

Source: Foreign Affairs

Operating a nuclear plant somehow offers more stability in the production costs. Uranium mining cost is a smaller constituent of the overall cost of nuclear energy generated electricity. As compared to the fossil-fired and gas-fired plant, they contribute about 70% of the total cost. Worldwide, countries have enforced large programs that are based on standardized units for the efficient and automatic operation of the plants. A significant return payback is possible if a nuclear plant runs on large-capacity factor for a long-term duration. Countries implementing this standard trend will perform well in general and contribute to low electricity prices and stability.

Source: GE Power

Moreover, as compared to other ways of producing energy, produced and avoided waste of nuclear energy is considerable. Nuclear energy efficiency is greater as the process requires no combustion of ultimate fuel in order to generate carbon dioxide therefore, it contributes minimally to the production of greenhouse gases. Secondly, the decommissioning and operational wastes have to be managed very smartly since it produces 90% very low-level waste that includes demolished materials such as, piping, valves, plaster, bricks, metal, etc. It produces 7% of moderate level waste that includes resins, chemical sleds, metal fuel cladding, and etc. The only part left is 3%, which is the high-level waste produced. It is produced by the burning of uranium. It is very hazardous and can be left unaffected for up to a thousand year when kept in the water to reduce its radioactivity.

If we talk about the safety and incident rate in the industries, it has been found that oil industries contribute a larger proportion in terms of lives lost per unit energy generation whereas, the least amount of contribution is by the nuclear industry. There is now sufficient amount of fossil fuels, solar and wind capacity operating worldwide, but significantly, nuclear fission provides a highly intensive production of energy to meet small as well as large-scale needs.

Nuclear Energy is the best alternative to squander the fossil fuel resources and carbon production resource. Low emission of carbon dioxide produces eco-efficient projections for environmental impacts. If the main load starts getting carried by nuclear energy, the share of pros will increase and cons will decrease. However, nuclear power has the ability to contribute significantly and long-lastingly for the sustainable and environmentally friendly development.

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