Q&A: What are the ways that Solar Energy is more environment-friendly and feasible than Nuclear Energy?

Question by Galen Alexis: What are the ways that Solar Energy is more environment-friendly and feasible than Nuclear Energy?
The more, the better. The arguments should be at least remotely feasible. I’m looking for ecological arguments why Solar Energy is a better alternative than Nuclear Reactors.
Just list as many as you can come up with.

Best answer:

Answer by Wawa
Nuclear reactors produce uranium that is dangerous to living things and must be buried in deep underground or mountain caves. This unusable uranium must be stored for hundreds of years; meanwhile the earth gains 100 million people for the next 20 years, and those dangerous materials have to be transported through areas where people live to the storage areas.
Solar energy has no such after effects at all, and the sun is a plentiful source of energy for most of the planet (not so much at the poles!).
There are no radioactive materials needed or produced as a waste material. Solar panels are easily and safely transported from their place of manufacture to where they’re needed and are safely installed without special clothing to protect installers from radiation.

What do you think? Answer below!

3 Responses to “Q&A: What are the ways that Solar Energy is more environment-friendly and feasible than Nuclear Energy?”

  1. Well, as far as I know there is no waste. But the problem with solar is that it is impractical in many places in the world. It depends totally on the sun and the weather. Nuclear energy is not “evil” like many people might say it is. It is very highly regulated, and most of that waste is just things like clothing worn by people. The waste usually has very low doses of radiation and is safely stored where it can not effect the environment. It’s not at all like you might see on the Simpsons with green sludge being dumped into lakes and streams, causing mutations. But the problem is that it has to be there for thousands of years before it can be removed.

    If I had to pick which energy source was going to power my city I would definately go with solar, but it just won’t work in most places. I don’t know for sure, but I think I have heard that solar energy is not all that efficient. I saw a thing on TV once about a solar energy plant in southern Spain. It was a pretty large state of the art solar plant, but it only powered the small town nearby.

    Maybe in the future there will be better technology allowing us to harness the suns power in a better way.

  2. They both have their place, so if you’re planning for a debate, you’ll have to take this into consideration. Your argument should be for solar, but not against complete replacement of nuclear. If you argue the latter, you’re sure to lose, unless your opponents are incompetent.

    But to answer your question directly:

    – Solar can provide heat directly, without being converted to mechanical motion and then electricity. It is thus more efficient at heating (say) water.

    – Solar scales down well, so a single house system can be feasibly installed. A nuclear reactor needs at least an apartment-building load to be feasible. And they would only do that in Russia, because

    – Nuclear reactor technology can be used to breed weapons materials. And even if you couldn’t construct an A-bomb, if you could order fuel for your home reactor, a bad person could grind it up into a fine power that would make a hazardous mess when blown up in a public place.

    – The nuclear waste and radiation hazard also make nuclear unsuitable for single-home usage. These are not as much of a problem for a centralized plant.

  3. Its all about the “after life” of the energy source. With solar panels there is some carbon and other things that can (hopefully) be reclaimed and recycled. With nuclear power you get things like Yucca Mountain. However, unless we invest in breeder reactors and breeder nuclear fusion to enrich the uranium waste into plutonium. This is great because the waste that would other wise be carted off to Yucca Mountain gets recycled.

    Plutonium caries a stigma due to the fact that it can be easily weaponized. More over breeder plants use liquid sodium. Liquid sodium is highly volatile when exposed to air or water. They can also be cooled using helium.

    The down falls of solar are that the productivity will decrease with the age of the panels. disposal (nothing like radio-active storage). And power generation at night (overcome with the use of solar towers).

    Solar power generation has very little environmental impact beyond mining the resources, manufacturing, and disposal.

    Best of luck.

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