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Why is nuclear energy so popular?

When it comes to nuclear energy you can either be on the opposing side or the supporting side. It is no doubt nuclear energy is highly popular whether it be in the technology department or the development sector. Many tend to relate the environmental crisis of global warming to nuclear energy but since it produces energy via nuclear fission rather than chemical burning, it generates baseload electricity with no output of carbon, the villainous element of global warming. The uses of nuclear technology extend well beyond the provision of low-carbon energy. It helps control the spread of disease, assists doctors in their diagnosis and treatment of patients, and powers our most ambitious missions to explore space.

It is not to be left out that nuclear power plants also have interesting benefits. In the United States in 2016, nuclear power plants, which generated almost 20 percent of U.S. electricity, had an average capacity factor of 92.3 percent, meaning they operated at full power on 336 out of 365 days per year. (The other 29 days they were taken off the grid for maintenance.) In contrast, U.S. hydroelectric systems delivered power 38.2 percent of the time (138 days per year), wind turbines 34.5 percent of the time (127 days per year) and solar electricity arrays only 25.1 percent of the time (92 days per year). Nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors have enough capacity to cover up a noticeable amount of a country’s energy. Finland has four operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 2.8 GWe. In 2020, nuclear generated 33.9% of the country's electricity. A fifth reactor – a 1720 MWe EPR – is under construction, and there are plans to build a Russian VVER-1200 unit at a new site (Hanhikivi). China has 51 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 49.6 GWe. In 2020, nuclear generated 4.9% of the country's electricity.

The only downsides of nuclear energy ,closely linked to radiation, are the threat of accidents and the risk of irresponsible disposal of nuclear waste. There have been three large-scale accidents involving nuclear power reactors since the onset of commercial nuclear power in the mid-1950s: Three-Mile Island in Pennsylvania, Chernobyl in Ukraine, and Fukushima in Japan.

Nuclear energy plays a crucial role when It comes to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) hoping to be achieved by the UN, there remains some opposition to the growing recognition of the energy source’s credentials for contributing towards sustainable development. An analysis of nuclear energy’s characteristics within a sustainable development framework shows that the approach adopted within the nuclear energy sector is consistent with a central goal of sustainable development of passing a range of assets to future generations while minimizing environmental impacts and burdens.

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