Editorial: We’re Underusing Nuclear Energy


Harris G., Staff Writer

     Hopefully, we can all agree that climate change is real, a problem, and it needs to be tackled. However, thinking that everybody is in agreement on how to tackle it is wishful thinking. Specifically, one of the most controversial issues is nuclear energy. Despite it being a great way of dealing with climate change, many people are scared of it, causing it to be used very little. I believe that nuclear energy’s cons are greatly outweighed by its pros, making it a very good short-term way to deal with climate change.

     Climate change is a problem, and the primary cause of it is greenhouse gas emissions, mostly CO2, which is mostly caused by burning fossil fuels for energy. Nuclear energy can help with this. Nuclear energy, despite making up a mere 10% of the global energy supply, has saved over 64 gigatons of carbon dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere. Increasing the nuclear power supply, of course, will increase this number. And nuclear energy is the only short-term way to get these results, as we’re already ramping up renewable energy sources greatly.

     Nuclear energy is often thought of as being very dangerous. The stories of Chernobyl and similar disasters have spread far and wide, and are admittedly quite scary. However, when you apply logic and statistics to these feelings, they quickly fall apart. Fossil fuels cause large amounts of air pollution. In fact, using an amalgamation of estimates by The Lancet, Our World in Data, BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019, and the Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network, air pollution by fossil fuels has caused anywhere between 100 and 133 million deaths in the past 50 years. Some might say that this isn’t fair, as fossil fuels are responsible for a larger portion of global energy consumption, so it’s reasonable that they are more fatal. However, even when looking at deaths per terawatt hour, fossil fuels are at best around two hundred times more dangerous than nuclear energy.

     In conclusion, we need a way to tackle climate change right now, and nuclear energy is the best option. It is far less dangerous than coal, and better for the environment. A phaseout of fossil fuels, especially coal, to nuclear energy would save millions of lives and give us enough time to find long-term solutions to climate change, yet currently, some countries are doing the opposite. I hope you are convinced and will help spread the word, as the day when nuclear energy is no longer feared and governments are encouraged to implement it is a day we should all hope for.