Nuclear power refers to electrical power generated from regulated nuclear reactions within a nuclear plant; the nuclear reactions mainly used are nuclear fission and nuclear fusion, despite its sensitivity in terms of safety and waste management in the environment more than 450 nuclear systems have been so far been set up to produce nuclear power (Lenzen, 2008). Nuclear power, just like all other sources of energy has both positive and negative effects on the environment as a result of nuclear fuel cycle brought up by nuclear radiation.
Positive effects of nuclear power to the environment.
With alarming rate of global warming across the world, nuclear power is thought to be the only option that will have to reduce the effects of global warming with an environment. In deed nuclear power generation emits comparatively low amounts of carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere as compared to other sources of energy. Hence there is less emissions of greenhouse gases thus nuclear power contributes little to global warming (Mainers,1999).A part from its ability to give the clean air within its system area, the nuclear technology is readily available and a single plant generates relatively a high amount of electrical power hence less environmental destruction is experienced as observed in others sources of energy like coal fired generation, as this makes it’s the most possible source of energy that is suitable in solving the world energy crisis.
Negative effects of nuclear power to the environment.
The radioactive waste released to the environment from nuclear plants is extremely dangerous and pose as threat to the environment for a considerate period of time usually thousands of years(Mainers,1999).Nuclear power generation is highly risky; accidents at the plant system pose a risk of harsh ecological contamination, it is almost impossible to construct a nuclear system with 100% safety to the environment, the effects of an nuclear plant accident are totally distressing both to animal and plant life within the environment . For instance, The Chernobyl accident at RBMK nuclear plant system contaminated the environment with huge amount of radioactive thus causing loss of life and rendering the environment unsuitable for a long period of time (Science abstracts & nbsp 1977).
According to American Nuclear Society (1994), Though it argued that, as much nuclear wastes are observed to be such severe dangerous, effects of nuclear power wastes do not reach any close to accumulative of fossil waste, it is estimated that fossil wastes from vehicles and industrial emission alone claim 3million lives annually due to use of solid fuel and environmental pollution, it is also observed that coal burning release more radioactive substances to the atmosphere but a single accident at the nuclear plant would have devastating effect to the environment for a very long period of time.