Nuclear power has been a significant source of electricity since the mid-20th century, originating with the advent of the Atomic Age, marked by the 1945 detonation of nuclear bombs during WWII.
The first civil nuclear power stations were built during the 1950s, and Britain was a pioneer, commissioning Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, in 1956.
- nuclear power is incredibly efficient, providing a huge amount of energy from a small amount of uranium;
- unlike solar or wind energy, nuclear power isn’t dependent on weather conditions;
- nuclear power plants produce virtually no carbon dioxide (CO2);
- nuclear power plants can generate electricity for several decades; and
- compared to wind or solar farms, nuclear power plants require far less land to produce a comparable amount of energy.
Despite concerns about radiation, modern practices and technologies have considerably mitigated risks and, contrary to popular belief, radiation is not as dangerous as widely claimed. The politicisation of nuclear power has led to misconceptions and fears, with anti-nuclear lobbies and green campaigns frequently emphasising fear and fake claims.
Furthermore, a nuclear power station operates continuously, supplying a steady base-load of energy, unlike renewable sources such as wind or solar, which are subject to fluctuations due to weather conditions. This reliability can ensure that energy needs are met even in periods of high demand.
Moreover, nuclear power is cheaper over its lifetime due to its longevity and efficiency.
The big thing is fear.
Fear of nuclear power often stems from high-profile disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima. Chernobyl, for example, occurred due to a fundamentally flawed reactor design and inadequate safety protocols, issues that have been comprehensively addressed in modern reactors. Similarly, Fukushima was hit by an exceptionally powerful earthquake and tsunami. Thousands died, not because of a radiation leak, but because of a catastrophic tidal wave.
Hügo Krüger is a South African nuclear engineer based in France, who has written a number of excellent articles on the topic, such as President’s Climate Report is “flawed, simplistic and inadequate” and Financing Options for Nuclear Plants.
Subscribe to my War Report, sent to your inbox every few days.