The Pros and Cons of a Nuclear Power Plant

The basic working mechanism of a nuclear power plant is similar to that of the thermal power plant. Both of them use heat energy to generate electricity, but the difference lies in their source for heat production. Thermal power plants use fossil fuels, and nuclear power plants use nuclear reactors to produce heat. A nuclear power plant is one of the most advanced mechanisms for electricity generation.

Source: Thetimes 

Nuclear power plants have a bit complicated operation as compared to traditional power plants. The stakes are high in nuclear power plants because of the huge scope of the project. From site to the equipment, everything linked with a nuclear power plant is different from the conventional ones. If you want to know about the positive and negative aspects of a nuclear power plant, this blog will assist you.

Pros:

Generation of Higher Output:

The first benefit of a nuclear power plant is its ability to produce a higher amount of electricity. One nuclear reactor is capable of meeting the electricity demands of an average sized city including the industrial needs. Unlike other power plants, nuclear power plants require a lesser amount of fuel to generate electricity. The reason behind it is the incredibly high energy density of nuclear fuels like uranium and plutonium.

Reliability:

Nuclear power plants provide a reliable mechanism for producing electricity. Due to the lesser amount of fuel consumed during processing, nuclear power plants are sustainable compared to other types. The average lifespan of a nuclear reactor is 60-70 years, which offers a great return on investment. There is no financial unpredictability associated with nuclear power plants because there are no unexpected fluctuations in fuel prices.

Also, the working of a nuclear power plant is not dependent on environmental conditions like in solar and tidal power plants.

Lesser Harmful Emissions:

Although nuclear power plants are not environment-friendly as a whole, the harmful emissions are lesser compared to thermal power plants. The negative impact of a nuclear power plant on the atmosphere is negligible. That is why the areas with nuclear power plants never have complaints of air pollution. Also, nuclear power plants do not contribute to global warming.

Source: Wikipedia 

Cost-effective Operations:

The operational cost of a nuclear power plant is lesser as compared to other types like thermal power plants. It is mainly because the fuel expense of the nuclear power plant is lower than fossil fuels. Also, a nuclear power plant only uses nuclear materials like uranium or plutonium as fuel. The lack of dependency on fossil fuel also drops the operational costs of nuclear power plants considerably.

Moreover, pipelines are used to regulate the flow of fuel through high-quality valves which you should only get from a trusted industrial valve manufacturer.

Employment Opportunities:

One of the biggest advantages of a nuclear power plant is the employment opportunities it brings. During construction, a nuclear power plant creates thousands of jobs. Other than that, the running of a nuclear power plant demands hundreds of employees. There are also many investment opportunities like shops available near a nuclear power plant. The increase in the number of employees means a further increase in employment opportunities.

A nuclear power plant requires extensive research during construction and operations, which is beneficial for the growth of other industries.

Cons:

Radioactive Waste:

Despite lesser emission of gases, a nuclear power plant is responsible for a big environmental menace in the form of radioactive waste. The radioactive waste is generated as a result of the processing of nuclear fuel. If not disposed of properly, this radioactive waste is hazardous for every aspect of the environment. It emits radioactive waves that can destroy any living organism from humans to plants and animals.

Source: Newsherald 

Terrorism Threat:

One of the biggest drawbacks of a nuclear power plant is its constant threat of terrorism. The materials used in a nuclear power plant are deemed as the most destructive constituents in the world. Most of the countries using nuclear power plants face a lot of pressure from world powers to strengthen their defense. The additional investment in security and defense also increases the overall cost of the project.

High Initial Cost:

A nuclear power plant is a huge project that requires a big initial investment. From state-of-the-art equipment to massive construction, every aspect of a nuclear power plant requires a good amount of money. Also, a nuclear power plant requires a foolproof mechanism for the disposal of waste, which contributes to higher initial costs.

Long Setup Duration:

The nuclear power plants take a lot more time in setting up as compared to other modes of electricity production. An average-sized nuclear power plant takes around five years for completion, and the large ones can take up to 20 years.  Many aspects are to be considered before constructing a nuclear power plant. From choosing the appropriate site away from the population to the construction of complex infrastructure, everything is time-consuming.

Source: IAEA 

Lack of Adaptability:

A nuclear power plant has some rigidity when it comes to adjusting according to the energy demands. Unlike other power plants, a nuclear power plant cannot adapt quickly to the changes in need of electricity. The reason for that is the complexity of the nuclear power plant’s mechanism.

The machinery in a nuclear power plant is programmed to perform in a particular manner, and it takes time to change it.

Finite Fuel Reserves:

Nuclear power plants rely on nuclear fuels like uranium for the production of electricity. With the growing increase in the demand for uranium, its reserves are becoming lesser around the globe. Due to this reason, the fuel used in nuclear power plants cannot be considered as an eternal source. After realizing this fact, different countries around the globe are converting to other radioactive materials like plutonium and thorium.

Source: Power-technology 

Conclusion:

A nuclear power plant has a bigger scope as compared to all the other types of power plants. It has the capabilities of generating great amounts of electricity.  All the details mentioned above will help you understand different aspects of a nuclear power plant.