When discussing alternatives for the type of energy we should use, nuclear power is a replacement that is brought up very often. Many Americans have questioned as to whether nuclear energy is safe enough to use as a source of electricity. Nuclear power can be a factor in many social, economic and environmental issues. People who support the usage of nuclear energy would argue that there are minimal consequences for nuclear power. Although that is true for the present, the future consequences that the next generations would have to deal with are great in number. While there are indeed advantages to using nuclear energy, it is clear that the disadvantages are far more serious. .
Nuclear energy is created when a process called fission takes place. This process begins when an atom is bombarded with a subatomic particle and split in two. When this happens, heat energy is created and the heated tubes are then put into water in order to create steam. The steam is then taken to an electric generator. Uranium is the atom most typically used for this process. Another process used to create nuclear energy is fusion. This occurs when two atoms with low atomic numbers come together to form a heavier nucleus with the release of energy. Unfortunately, this method cannot be used because the conditions (high temperature and pressure) that can be used in that process are only found on the sun. During these processes, little to no greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide), which destroy the ozone layer and contribute to global warming, are produced.
Nuclear energy does however create nuclear waste which is highly radioactive. Radioactive materials have been known to cause birth defects, cancer, and, in serious situations, death. An example of the disasters nuclear energy can cause is the atom bomb dropped in Japan during WWII. Many people were completely obliterated because of the bomb.