Production and use of nuclear energy is among the controversial environmental issues, which have given led to a serious debate. On one hand, the opponents of the debate argue that nuclear energy have various environmental and economic challenges; whereas on the other hand, the proponents of use of nuclear energy perceive it as a substitute of fossil fuels because of its sustainability. However, the sustainability and cleanliness of nuclear energy is questionable. It is imperative to note that although nuclear energy produces less emission as compared to other forms of energy, particularly the fossil energy, it does not mean that it is absolutely clean. Arguably, because of environmental concerns and economic limitations, nuclear energy is not being produced and used more.
It is argued that nuclear energy is a sustainable form of energy. For instance, nuclear energy is has no emissions due to the fact that nothing is to be burned to generate electricity. However, due to the huge safety risks nuclear energy has remained unpopular in most parts of the globe. Specifically, the whole process of producing nuclear energy is associated with contamination and leaks, in addition to producing highly toxic elements for several years. Starting from the mining process of nuclear raw materials, running of nuclear energy stations, to disposing of waste products, there is significant contamination and leaks. All these indicate the unsustainability nature of nuclear energy (OECD, 2012). Besides, encouraging production and use of nuclear energy poses a danger of encouraging production of nuclear weapons. Furthermore, nuclear energy requires new and complicated energy, which further increases the likelihood of accidents occurring. This is evident from some of the accidents that have been experienced in various parts of the world such as the Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine and the three Mile Island accident in the United States (Ferguson, 2007).
In conclusion, nuclear energy is one of the controversial sources of energy. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why this form of energy is not produced and utilized at large scale. Particularly, concerns regarding this form of energy have emerged from the environmental and economic perspective. Although it is argued that nuclear energy is environmentally sustainable, the huge risks associated with it are evident of its unsustainability. Besides, the investment requirements on nuclear energy are a big limitation on the same.
Ferguson, C.D. (2007) Nuclear Energy: Balancing Benefits and Risks. Council on Foreign Relations CSR No. 28
OECD (2012) The Role of Nuclear Energy in a Low-Carbon Energy Future. Nuclear Energy Agency