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101 Nuclear Energy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

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Nuclear energy is a controversial topic that sparks debate among scientists, policymakers, and the general public. With the potential for both significant benefits and risks, there is no shortage of essay topics to explore in this field. Whether you are a student looking to write a research paper or an individual interested in learning more about nuclear energy, here are 101 essay topic ideas and examples to get you started:

  • The history of nuclear energy development
  • The science behind nuclear energy
  • The benefits of nuclear energy
  • The risks of nuclear energy
  • Nuclear energy vs. renewable energy sources
  • Nuclear energy and climate change
  • Nuclear energy and national security
  • The role of nuclear energy in the future energy mix
  • Nuclear energy and economic development
  • The Fukushima nuclear disaster
  • The Chernobyl nuclear disaster
  • Nuclear energy and public perception
  • Nuclear energy and waste management
  • Nuclear energy and nuclear proliferation
  • The cost of nuclear energy
  • The safety of nuclear power plants
  • The role of nuclear energy in reducing carbon emissions
  • The ethics of nuclear energy
  • Nuclear energy and environmental impact
  • The future of nuclear fusion
  • The potential of small modular reactors
  • The role of nuclear energy in space exploration
  • The impact of nuclear energy on wildlife
  • Nuclear energy and water usage
  • The role of nuclear energy in healthcare (e.g., medical isotopes)
  • The social implications of nuclear energy development
  • Nuclear energy and energy independence
  • The role of nuclear energy in disaster response
  • Nuclear energy and the military
  • The challenges of decommissioning nuclear power plants
  • The role of nuclear energy in developing countries
  • Nuclear energy and human health
  • The impact of nuclear energy on Indigenous communities
  • Nuclear energy and sustainable development
  • The role of nuclear energy in addressing energy poverty
  • Nuclear energy and the energy transition
  • The role of nuclear energy in combating air pollution
  • Nuclear energy and job creation
  • The impact of nuclear energy on land use
  • The role of nuclear energy in achieving energy security
  • Nuclear energy and geopolitical considerations
  • The impact of nuclear energy on water resources
  • The role of nuclear energy in disaster preparedness
  • Nuclear energy and social justice
  • The role of nuclear energy in urban planning
  • The impact of nuclear energy on Indigenous knowledge systems
  • Nuclear energy and food security
  • The role of nuclear energy in reducing energy poverty
  • Nuclear energy and the circular economy
  • The impact of nuclear energy on air quality
  • The role of nuclear energy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Nuclear energy and energy access
  • The challenges of nuclear energy governance
  • Nuclear energy and energy justice
  • The role of nuclear energy in sustainable development
  • Nuclear energy and energy affordability
  • The impact of nuclear energy on human rights
  • Nuclear energy and energy democracy
  • The role of nuclear energy in community development
  • Nuclear energy and energy resilience
  • The challenges of nuclear energy regulation
  • Nuclear energy and energy sovereignty
  • The role of nuclear energy in climate adaptation
  • Nuclear energy and energy equity
  • The impact of nuclear energy on vulnerable populations
  • Nuclear energy and energy transition pathways
  • The role of nuclear energy in the post-carbon economy
  • Nuclear energy and energy infrastructure
  • The challenges of nuclear energy policy
  • Nuclear energy and energy governance
  • The role of nuclear energy in energy sector transformation
  • Nuclear energy and energy system integration
  • The impact of nuclear energy on energy security
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector reform
  • The role of nuclear energy in energy planning
  • Nuclear energy and energy market dynamics
  • The challenges of nuclear energy financing
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector regulation
  • The role of nuclear energy in energy sector development
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector transformation pathways
  • The impact of nuclear energy on energy sector sustainability
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector resilience
  • The role of nuclear energy in energy sector innovation
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector disruption
  • The challenges of nuclear energy integration
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector transition
  • The role of nuclear energy in energy sector modernization
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector transformation strategies
  • The impact of nuclear energy on energy sector competitiveness
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector diversification
  • The role of nuclear energy in energy sector optimization
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector performance
  • The challenges of nuclear energy deployment
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector transformation initiatives
  • The role of nuclear energy in energy sector transformation processes
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector transformation trends
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector transformation challenges
  • The role of nuclear energy in energy sector transformation dynamics
  • Nuclear energy and energy sector transformation opportunities
  • The challenges of nuclear energy adoption

These essay topic ideas and examples cover a wide range of aspects related to nuclear energy, from its history and science to its benefits and risks. Whether you are interested in exploring the environmental impact of nuclear energy or its role in sustainable development, there is no shortage of topics to delve into. So pick a topic that interests you, conduct thorough research, and start writing your essay on nuclear energy today!

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76 Nuclear Energy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best nuclear energy topic ideas & essay examples, 📌 simple & easy nuclear energy essay titles, 👍 good essay topics on nuclear energy.

  • Why Nuclear Energy Is Not Good? Even those who say net production is cost effective for unit of nuclear energy produced may not be saying the truth because most of these estimate forget that nuclear energy is recipient of many government […]
  • Nuclear Energy Effectiveness Although water is used to cool nuclear plants, we can conclude that nuclear energy is the most cost effective method of producing electricity. We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • Energy Disruption: Causes and Effects of the Fukushima Nuclear Reactors Leak The Fukushima nuclear disaster that occurred in March, 2011in Japan as the result of the earthquake and tsunami led to a number of the serious problems and energy disruption.
  • Nuclear Power Provides Cheap and Clean Energy The production of nuclear power is relatively cheap when compared to coal and petroleum. The cost of nuclear fuel for nuclear power generation is much lower compared to coal, oil and gas fired plants.
  • Metropolitan Edison Company vs. People Against Nuclear Energy In addition, the commission published a hearing notice which entailed an invitation to parties that were interested to submit their briefs explaining the impacts of the accident to the psychological harm or any other indirect […]
  • Nuclear Energy: High-Entropy Alloy One of the tools for reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions is the development of nuclear energy, which is characterized by a high degree of environmental efficiency and the absence of a significant impact […]
  • Nuclear Energy: Impact of Science & Technology on Society In spite of the fact that hopes of adherents of the use of atomic energy substantially were not justified, the majority of the governments of the countries of the world do not wish to refuse […]
  • Nuclear Energy and The Danger of Environment Nuclear energy can be a benefit in the medium and long term perspective, but the communal and public awareness of nuclear energy breeds anxieties about nuclear technology that must be directed to attain the public […]
  • Nuclear Energy: Safe, Economical, Reliable Thus, nuclear energy is viable and safe in meeting the current and future demand for energy across the world. Nuclear energy has significant implications for the environment and population health in case of an accident […]
  • Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation: Business Principles The first 3 are enablers of the system of management while the fourth component is process-oriented, which helps in the development, production, and delivery of services coupled with products of an organization to the market […]
  • Nuclear Power as a Primary Energy Source The energy crisis the world faces currently is one of the most urgent and disturbing questions countries have to deal with.
  • Nuclear Energy and Its Risks The situation became difficult when the power in the reactors reduced and could not be enough to be used by the operators.
  • Fossil Fuel, Nuclear Energy, and Alternative Power Sources It is important to keep in mind that the amount of coal is decreasing and there is no guarantee that people will be able to discover more.
  • Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s Employee Training Program The problem is the need to incorporate training and development as part of the human resource management policies of the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation.
  • Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation Managerial Accounting The flagship project and the construction of the first reactor of the four scheduled reactors began in 2011. In the execution of the role of management accountants, ENEC encounters challenges due to the use of […]
  • Harmful Health Effects of Nuclear Energy The risk of developing thyroid cancer following exposure to nuclear radiations increased with a decrease in the age of the subject.
  • Sustainable Energy Source – Nuclear Energy One of the groups led by World Nuclear Association, believes that nuclear energy is a reliable and efficient source of energy.
  • A Cost Benefit Analysis of the Environmental and Economic Effects of Nuclear Energy in the United States The nature of damage posed to the environment depends on the nature of the nuclear plant being used and also the extraction process of fossil fuel themselves.
  • Nuclear Energy Fusion and Harnessing Physicists use the equation E=MC2 to calculate the amount of energy that is generated as a result of the fusion of nucleus.
  • Nuclear Energy Usage and Recycling The resulting energy is used to power machinery and generate heat for processing purposes. The biggest problem though is that of energy storage, which is considered to be the most crucial requirement for building a […]
  • The Effect of Nuclear Energy on the Environment In response to the concerns, this paper proposes the use of thorium reactors to produce nuclear energy because the safety issues of uranium.
  • The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, ENEC, brought together six UAE member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other countries such as the United States of America. The assertions made above indicate that UAE relies […]
  • Nuclear Energy Benefits and Demerits The aim of the research is to provide substantial proof that nuclear energy is not efficient and sustainable. It is also argued that the whole process and the impacts of nuclear energy production make the […]
  • Balanced Treatment of the Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy Thus, the use of nuclear power presupposes a number of positive short-term and log-term consequences for the economy of the country and the environment of the planet.
  • The Environmental Impact of Nuclear Energy The country has the opportunity to enhance its capacity to generate electricity from nuclear following the approval of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and operate between three to four units of the Vogtle […]
  • Sources of Energy: Nuclear Power and Hydroelectric Power The main source of power in the world is the Sun. The Sun is the sole source of energy that plants use in the process of photosynthesis in order to manufacture their food.
  • Corporate Governance Strategy for Emirates Energy Nuclear Corporation To establish the difference privatization will bring to the company in terms of resources and manpower To establish the feasibility of this undertaking in comparison to other companies that manage nuclear transmission such as Exelon […]
  • Nuclear Energy in Australia The irony of the matter is that Australia does not use these reserves to produce nuclear energy; two main reasons that has contributed to the un-exploitation are availability of rich coal deposits in the country, […]
  • Impact of Nuclear Energy in France Through the process, heat energy is released from the bombardment of the nucleus and the neutrons. The need to manage the nuclear waste affected the economic parameters attached to nuclear energy.
  • Nuclear Energy Benefits One of the factors why nuclear energy is an effective source of energy is that it is cost effective. The other factor that makes nuclear energy cost effective is that the risks associated with this […]
  • Understanding the Significance of Nuclear Energy
  • The Nuclear Energy and Its Impact on the Environment and Economic Growth
  • The Use of Nuclear Energy as an Alternative to Global Energy Crisis
  • The Impact of Nuclear Energy in the Environment and Economic Growth
  • The Economic Consequences of Shifting Away From Nuclear Energy
  • The Issue of Climate Change and Nuclear Energy
  • The Importance of Controlling the Use of Nuclear Energy
  • The Environmental Benefits Of Utilizing Nuclear Energy Rather Than Fossil Fuel Energy
  • The Problem Of Nuclear Energy
  • Understanding How Nuclear Energy Is Produced from the Atom Level
  • The Process Of Producing Nuclear Energy From Thorium
  • The Dangers of Atomic Weapons and Nuclear Energy
  • The Theory of Nuclear Energy and Its Applications in the Industry
  • The Tommyknockers and Nuclear Energy
  • The Future of the U. S. Nuclear Energy Industry
  • The Nuclear Energy Advantage Of The United States
  • The Controversy Regarding The Utilization Of Nuclear Energy
  • The Future Industry In Energy: Dropping The Concept Of Nuclear Energy
  • The Hope For Nuclear Energy As A Source Of Power
  • The Role of Nuclear Energy in Our Lives Today
  • The Environmental Benefits of Utilizing Nuclear Energy
  • The Argument For Nuclear Energy
  • The Ethical and Philosophical Implications of Harnessing Nuclear Energy
  • The United States Should Use Nuclear Energy
  • Why Do We Still Have Nuclear Energy And Fossil Energy
  • The Phenomenon Of Decreased Usage Of Nuclear Energy
  • The Politics of Nuclear Energy in Western Europe
  • The Negative Issues Surrounding the Use of Nuclear Energy as an Alternative Source of Renewable Energy
  • Thorium As An Alternative Form Of Nuclear Energy
  • The Advantages of Using Nuclear Energy as a Source of Power
  • The Complicated, Expensive, and Dangerous Use of Nuclear Energy
  • Why European Countries Are Holding Off On Nuclear Energy
  • The Socio-Political Economy of Nuclear Energy in China and India
  • The Development of Nuclear Energy and It Importance in the World Today
  • Should Nuclear Energy Developed Thailand
  • Why the United States Should Stop Using Nuclear Energy
  • The History, Advancements and Modern Uses of Nuclear Energy
  • Transparency and View Regarding Nuclear Energy Before and After the Fukushima Accident: Evidence on Micro-data
  • The Hazards in the Coal Mines and the Benefits of Nuclear Energy
  • Use Of Nuclear Energy In Modern World
  • The Scientific Discoveries on the Nuclear Energy During the 19th Century
  • The Pros and Cons When Discussing the Use of Nuclear Energy
  • The Potential Benefits and Risks of Using Nuclear Energy to Produce Electricity
  • The Manhattan Project Was a Top Secret Nuclear Energy
  • The Nuclear Energy Controversy: Finding a Place for the Nuclear Waste
  • The Effects Of Nuclear Energy On The Environment
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2023, January 24). 76 Nuclear Energy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/nuclear-energy-essay-topics/

"76 Nuclear Energy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." IvyPanda , 24 Jan. 2023, ivypanda.com/essays/topic/nuclear-energy-essay-topics/.

IvyPanda . (2023) '76 Nuclear Energy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples'. 24 January.

IvyPanda . 2023. "76 Nuclear Energy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." January 24, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/nuclear-energy-essay-topics/.

1. IvyPanda . "76 Nuclear Energy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." January 24, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/nuclear-energy-essay-topics/.


IvyPanda . "76 Nuclear Energy Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." January 24, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/nuclear-energy-essay-topics/.

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essay question nuclear energy

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Essay on Nuclear Energy in 500+ words for School Students 

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Essay on Nuclear Energy

Essay on Nuclear Energy: Nuclear energy has been fascinating and controversial since the beginning. Using atomic power to generate electricity holds the promise of huge energy supplies but we cannot overlook the concerns about safety, environmental impact, and the increase in potential weapon increase. 

essay question nuclear energy

The blog will help you to explore various aspects of energy seeking its history, advantages, disadvantages, and role in addressing the global energy challenge. 

Table of Contents

  • 1 History Overview
  • 2 Nuclear Technology 
  • 3 Advantages of Nuclear Energy
  • 4 Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy
  • 5 Safety Measures and Regulations of Nuclear Energy
  • 6 Concerns of Nuclear Proliferation
  • 7 Future Prospects and Innovations of Nuclear Energy
  • 8 FAQs 

Also Read: Find List of Nuclear Power Plants In India

History Overview

The roots of nuclear energy have their roots back to the early 20th century when innovative discoveries in physics laid the foundation for understanding atomic structure. In the year 1938, Otto Hahn, a German chemist and Fritz Stassman, a German physical chemist discovered nuclear fission, the splitting of atomic nuclei. This discovery opened the way for utilising the immense energy released during the process of fission. 

Also Read: What are the Different Types of Energy?

Nuclear Technology 

Nuclear power plants use controlled fission to produce heat. The heat generated is further used to produce steam, by turning the turbines connected to generators that produce electricity. This process takes place in two types of reactors: Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) and Boiling Water Reactors (BWR). PWRs use pressurised water to transfer heat. Whereas, BWRs allow water to boil, which produces steam directly. 

Also Read: Nuclear Engineering Course: Universities and Careers

Advantages of Nuclear Energy

Let us learn about the positive aspects of nuclear energy in the following:

1. High Energy Density

Nuclear energy possesses an unparalleled energy density which means that a small amount of nuclear fuel can produce a substantial amount of electricity. This high energy density efficiency makes nuclear power reliable and powerful.

2. Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Unlike other traditional fossil fuels, nuclear power generation produces minimum greenhouse gas emissions during electricity generation. The low greenhouse gas emissions feature positions nuclear energy as a potential solution to weakening climate change.

3. Base Load Power

Nuclear power plants provide consistent, baseload power, continuously operating at a stable output level. This makes nuclear energy reliable for meeting the constant demand for electricity, complementing intermittent renewable sources of energy like wind and solar. 

Also Read: How to Become a Nuclear Engineer in India?

Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy

After learning the pros of nuclear energy, now let’s switch to the cons of nuclear energy.

1. Radioactive Waste

One of the most important challenges that is associated with nuclear energy is the management and disposal of radioactive waste. Nuclear power gives rise to spent fuel and other radioactive byproducts that require secure, long-term storage solutions.

2. Nuclear Accidents

The two catastrophic accidents at Chornobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011 underlined the potential risks of nuclear power. These nuclear accidents can lead to severe environmental contamination, human casualties, and long-lasting negative perceptions of the technology. 

3. High Initial Costs

The construction of nuclear power plants includes substantial upfront costs. Moreover, stringent safety measures contribute to the overall expenses, which makes nuclear energy economically challenging compared to some renewable alternatives. 

Also Read: What is the IAEA Full Form?

Safety Measures and Regulations of Nuclear Energy

After recognizing the potential risks associated with nuclear energy, strict safety measures and regulations have been implemented worldwide. These safety measures include reactor design improvements, emergency preparedness, and ongoing monitoring of the plant operations. Regulatory bodies, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the United States, play an important role in overseeing and enforcing safety standards. 

Also Read: What is the Full Form of AEC?

Concerns of Nuclear Proliferation

The dual-use nature of nuclear technology raises concerns about the spread of nuclear weapons. The same nuclear technology used for the peaceful generation of electricity can be diverted for military purposes. International efforts, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), aim to help the proliferation of nuclear weapons and promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. 

Also Read: Dr. Homi J. Bhabha’s Education, Inventions & Discoveries

Future Prospects and Innovations of Nuclear Energy

The ongoing research and development into advanced reactor technologies are part of nuclear energy. Concepts like small modular reactors (SMRs) and Generation IV reactors aim to address safety, efficiency, and waste management concerns. Moreover, the exploration of nuclear fusion as a clean and virtually limitless energy source represents an innovation for future energy solutions. 

Nuclear energy stands at the crossroads of possibility and peril, offering the possibility of addressing the world´s growing energy needs while posing important challenges. Striking a balance between utilising the benefits of nuclear power and alleviating its risks requires ongoing technological innovation, powerful safety measures, and international cooperation. 

As we drive the complexities of perspective challenges of nuclear energy, the role of nuclear energy in the global energy mix remains a subject of ongoing debate and exploration. 

Also Read: Essay on Science and Technology for Students: 100, 200, 350 Words

Ans. Nuclear energy is the energy released during nuclear reactions. Its importance lies in generating electricity, medical applications, and powering spacecraft.

Ans. Nuclear energy is exploited from the nucleus of atoms through processes like fission or fusion. It is a powerful and controversial energy source with applications in power generation and various technologies. 

Ans. The five benefits of nuclear energy include: 1. Less greenhouse gas emissions 2. High energy density 3. Continuos power generation  4. Relatively low fuel consumption 5. Potential for reducing dependence on fossil fuels

Ans. Three important facts about nuclear energy: a. Nuclear fission releases a significant amount of energy. b. Nuclear power plants use controlled fission reactions to generate electricity. c. Nuclear fusion, combining atomic nuclei, is a potential future energy source.

Ans. Nuclear energy is considered best due to its low carbon footprint, high energy output, and potential to address energy needs. However, concerns about safety, radioactive waste, and proliferation risk are challenges that need careful consideration.

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Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus, or core, of an atom. Nuclear energy can be used to create electricity, but it must first be released from the atom.

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Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus , or core, of an atom . Atoms are tiny units that make up all matter in the universe , and energy is what holds the nucleus together. There is a huge amount of energy in an atom 's dense nucleus . In fact, the power that holds the nucleus together is officially called the " strong force ." Nuclear energy can be used to create electricity , but it must first be released from the atom . In the process of  nuclear fission , atoms are split to release that energy. A nuclear reactor , or power plant , is a series of machines that can control nuclear fission to produce electricity . The fuel that nuclear reactors use to produce nuclear fission is pellets of the element uranium . In a nuclear reactor , atoms of uranium are forced to break apart. As they split, the atoms release tiny particles called fission products. Fission products cause other uranium atoms to split, starting a chain reaction . The energy released from this chain reaction creates heat. The heat created by nuclear fission warms the reactor's cooling agent . A cooling agent is usually water, but some nuclear reactors use liquid metal or molten salt . The cooling agent , heated by nuclear fission , produces steam . The steam turns turbines , or wheels turned by a flowing current . The turbines drive generators , or engines that create electricity . Rods of material called nuclear poison can adjust how much electricity is produced. Nuclear poisons are materials, such as a type of the element xenon , that absorb some of the fission products created by nuclear fission . The more rods of nuclear poison that are present during the chain reaction , the slower and more controlled the reaction will be. Removing the rods will allow a stronger chain reaction and create more electricity . As of 2011, about 15 percent of the world's electricity is generated by nuclear power plants . The United States has more than 100 reactors, although it creates most of its electricity from fossil fuels and hydroelectric energy . Nations such as Lithuania, France, and Slovakia create almost all of their electricity from nuclear power plants . Nuclear Food: Uranium Uranium is the fuel most widely used to produce nuclear energy . That's because uranium atoms split apart relatively easily. Uranium is also a very common element, found in rocks all over the world. However, the specific type of uranium used to produce nuclear energy , called U-235 , is rare. U-235 makes up less than one percent of the uranium in the world.

Although some of the uranium the United States uses is mined in this country, most is imported . The U.S. gets uranium from Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. Once uranium is mined, it must be extracted from other minerals . It must also be processed before it can be used. Because nuclear fuel can be used to create nuclear weapons as well as nuclear reactors , only nations that are part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are allowed to import uranium or plutonium , another nuclear fuel . The treaty promotes the peaceful use of nuclear fuel , as well as limiting the spread of nuclear weapons . A typical nuclear reactor uses about 200 tons of uranium every year. Complex processes allow some uranium and plutonium to be re-enriched or recycled . This reduces the amount of mining , extracting , and processing that needs to be done. Nuclear Energy and People Nuclear energy produces electricity that can be used to power homes, schools, businesses, and hospitals. The first nuclear reactor to produce electricity was located near Arco, Idaho. The Experimental Breeder Reactor began powering itself in 1951. The first nuclear power plant designed to provide energy to a community was established in Obninsk, Russia, in 1954. Building nuclear reactors requires a high level of technology , and only the countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty can get the uranium or plutonium that is required. For these reasons, most nuclear power plants are located in the developed world. Nuclear power plants produce renewable, clean energy . They do not pollute the air or release  greenhouse gases . They can be built in urban or rural areas , and do not radically alter the environment around them. The steam powering the turbines and generators is ultimately recycled . It is cooled down in a separate structure called a cooling tower . The steam turns back into water and can be used again to produce more electricity . Excess steam is simply recycled into the atmosphere , where it does little harm as clean water vapor . However, the byproduct of nuclear energy is radioactive material. Radioactive material is a collection of unstable atomic nuclei . These nuclei lose their energy and can affect many materials around them, including organisms and the environment. Radioactive material can be extremely toxic , causing burns and increasing the risk for cancers , blood diseases, and bone decay .

Radioactive waste is what is left over from the operation of a nuclear reactor . Radioactive waste is mostly protective clothing worn by workers, tools, and any other material that have been in contact with radioactive dust. Radioactive waste is long-lasting. Materials like clothes and tools can stay radioactive for thousands of years. The government regulates how these materials are disposed of so they don't contaminate anything else. Used fuel and rods of nuclear poison are extremely radioactive . The used uranium pellets must be stored in special containers that look like large swimming pools. Water cools the fuel and insulates the outside from contact with the radioactivity. Some nuclear plants store their used fuel in dry storage tanks above ground. The storage sites for radioactive waste have become very controversial in the United States. For years, the government planned to construct an enormous nuclear waste facility near Yucca Mountain, Nevada, for instance. Environmental groups and local citizens protested the plan. They worried about radioactive waste leaking into the water supply and the Yucca Mountain environment, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the large urban area of Las Vegas, Nevada. Although the government began investigating the site in 1978, it stopped planning for a nuclear waste facility in Yucca Mountain in 2009. Chernobyl Critics of nuclear energy worry that the storage facilities for radioactive waste will leak, crack, or erode . Radioactive material could then contaminate the soil and groundwater near the facility . This could lead to serious health problems for the people and organisms in the area. All communities would have to be evacuated . This is what happened in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986. A steam explosion at one of the power plants four nuclear reactors caused a fire, called a plume . This plume was highly radioactive , creating a cloud of radioactive particles that fell to the ground, called fallout . The fallout spread over the Chernobyl facility , as well as the surrounding area. The fallout drifted with the wind, and the particles entered the water cycle as rain. Radioactivity traced to Chernobyl fell as rain over Scotland and Ireland. Most of the radioactive fallout fell in Belarus.

The environmental impact of the Chernobyl disaster was immediate . For kilometers around the facility , the pine forest dried up and died. The red color of the dead pines earned this area the nickname the Red Forest . Fish from the nearby Pripyat River had so much radioactivity that people could no longer eat them. Cattle and horses in the area died. More than 100,000 people were relocated after the disaster , but the number of human victims of Chernobyl is difficult to determine . The effects of radiation poisoning only appear after many years. Cancers and other diseases can be very difficult to trace to a single source. Future of Nuclear Energy Nuclear reactors use fission, or the splitting of atoms , to produce energy. Nuclear energy can also be produced through fusion, or joining (fusing) atoms together. The sun, for instance, is constantly undergoing nuclear fusion as hydrogen atoms fuse to form helium . Because all life on our planet depends on the sun, you could say that nuclear fusion makes life on Earth possible. Nuclear power plants do not have the capability to safely and reliably produce energy from nuclear fusion . It's not clear whether the process will ever be an option for producing electricity . Nuclear engineers are researching nuclear fusion , however, because the process will likely be safe and cost-effective.

Nuclear Tectonics The decay of uranium deep inside the Earth is responsible for most of the planet's geothermal energy, causing plate tectonics and continental drift.

Three Mile Island The worst nuclear accident in the United States happened at the Three Mile Island facility near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1979. The cooling system in one of the two reactors malfunctioned, leading to an emission of radioactive fallout. No deaths or injuries were directly linked to the accident.

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The Nuclear Debate

(Updated May 2022)

  • The underlying question is how electricity is best produced now and in the years to come.
  • Between 1990 and 2019 electricity demand doubled. It is expected to roughly double again by 2050.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that at least 80% of the world's electricity must be low carbon by 2050 to keep warming within 2 °C of pre-industrial levels.
  • At present, about two-thirds of electricity is produced from the burning of fossil fuels. 
  • Nuclear is proven, scalable and reliable, and its expanded use will be essential for many countries to achieve their decarbonization goals.

Notes & references

1. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),  Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report  – Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  (2015) [ Back ] 2. International Energy Agency,  Data and Statistics   [ Back ] 3. IPCC, Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation – Summary for Policymakers and Technical Summary , Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , Annex II, Table A.II.4 (2011, reprinted 2012) [ Back ] 4. OECD International Energy Agency and OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, Projected Costs of Generating Electricity , 2015 Edition (September 2015) [ Back ] 5. OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, Comparing Nuclear Accident Risks with Those from Other Energy Sources , 2010 [ Back ] 6. UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionising Radiation, Report to the UN General Assembly , 2008 [ Back ] 7. World Health Organization, Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident and Special Health Care Programmes , Report of the UN Chernobyl Forum Expert Group "Health" , 2006 [ Back ] 8. American Cancer Society, Thyroid Cancer Survival Rates, by Type and Stage (revised 9 January 2020) [ Back ] 9. United Nations, No Immediate Health Risks from Fukishima Nuclear Accident Says UN Export Science Panel , 2013 [ Back ] 10. UK Government press release, Government confirms Hinkley Point C project following new agreement in principle with EDF (15 September 2016) [ Back ] 11. Ørsted website, Renewable energy record achieved at London Array (1 August 2016) [ Back ] 12. Kharechi and Hansen, Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power , 2013 [ Back ] 13. UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionising Radiation , 2010 [ Back ]

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Nuclear Energy Frequently Asked Questions

How is nuclear energy created how does it work.

Generation of electricity from nuclear power is fundamentally similar to other kinds of traditional power generation like coal, natural gas, and oil. All of these power sources are referred to as “thermal” power sources.  Oil, coal, or natural gas is burned to boil water or to make hot gases. The high pressure of the boiled water (steam) or gases is used to turn an electric turbine that generates electricity.

Nuclear power makes electricity in exactly the same way as coal, natural gas, or oil except a nuclear chain reaction is used to create heat, instead of burning fossil fuel.  The heat from that nuclear chain reaction, or fission (splitting of atoms), boils the water.

How is nuclear energy used?

Nuclear energy is used in about 30 states in the United States and in about as many countries around the world. It accounts for fewer than 20% of our electricity supply in the United States and about 8% of our total energy consumption in the entire country if you consider transportation, heating, etc. For instance in Maryland, there are two nuclear reactors, located at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, and there are currently 93 reactors operating around the country.

What is NIRS’s position on nuclear power?

Our position is that nuclear power should be phased out as quickly as possible and that the federal government should create energy policies that enable the transition to an energy system that i powered by 100% renewable energy—solar, wind, small hydropower, geothermal—and energy efficiency.

What are the most contentious issues surrounding nuclear energy?

The biggest issues right now are radioactive waste and pollution, nuclear safety, environmental justice, and the costs of nuclear energy. Nuclear power plants produce vast amounts of radioactivity in nuclear waste, some of which is in the form of used fuel, which isn’t consumed in the way that one imagines burning fossil fuels.

When you put nuclear fuel into a reactor, that fuel doesn’t get “used up” in the same way as burning fossil fuel. The nuclear waste has the same volume and mass when it comes out of the reactors as the nuclear fuel that went in several years earlier. But when it is removed to put in fresh fuel, the fuel rods are 100 million times more radioactive than before undergoing fission in the reactor. The splitting of atoms creates even more radioactive byproducts, but it is not consumed the way coal or natural gas do. The used fuel remains extremely hot for hundreds of years. Radioactive materials in the waste remain a threat to health, water, and the environment for over one-million years.

Currently, there is no solution for radioactive waste. There is no way to dispose of it in an environmentally safe or responsible way. As nuclear reactors in the United States have been running since 1942, waste has been piling up at nuclear facilities awaiting the government to find an environmental solution for it.

We take issue with both the security and the safety of nuclear waste’s location on reactor sites.  There are proposals by the nuclear industry and the federal government to create, essentially, parking lots for nuclear waste (“ Centralized Interim Storage ” sites) in Texas, New Mexico, and possibly other locations where it would sit outside, in the same type of storage currently in use at most reactor sites, for undetermined periods of time awaiting an environmentally responsible solution that doesn’t yet exist.

How does nuclear energy impact the environment?

Nuclear energy impacts the environment in a lot of ways. Nuclear waste, also known as irradiated fuel, as produced by power plants, is only one piece of a very large chain of radioactive waste that nuclear power relies upon. We call this the Nuclear Fuel Chain.

The process begins with uranium mining. The mining of uranium is an extremely dirty process that isn’t immediately apparent when people think about nuclear power. Uranium mining requires a lot of fossil fuels in order to extract uranium and process it.

For every pound of “enriched” uranium that goes into a nuclear reactor, there are, on average, over 5,000 pounds of radioactive waste is produced in the mining and processing of uranium. Most of this waste is in the form of rocks, dust, and uranium mill tailings that are primarily dumped on the ground or in ponds located at or near mines and mills. In the United States and in most other parts of the world, uranium mines, mills, and enrichment plants are disproportionately located in indigenous peoples’ territories and communities of color. Many of these communities suffer from birth defects, cancer, immune deficiencies, and other diseases as a result of contamination from uranium and its byproducts.

In the U.S., there aren’t strict environmental standards guiding the disposal of uranium wastes or clean-up of mines and milling sites. There are over 15,000 uranium mines that have simply been abandoned.

In addition to the radioactive waste produced by uranium mining, there’s also radioactive waste produced by the operation of nuclear reactors, i.e., contaminated components, water, gases, etc., and some of it is routinely released into the environment when nuclear reactors are operating. There are also things like radioactive laundry facilities (where the uniforms that nuclear workers wear are laundered), which have routinely released radioactivity into the environment.

Also of note is the enormous strain nuclear energy places on our water supply via consumption and pollution. Nuclear power plants consume more water than any other kind of power plants. For example, the state of New York has closed the last two reactors at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. Indian Point consumed over 2 billion gallons of water per day (twice the amount of water as the entire City of New York), and it killed about a billion fish and other organisms per year, placing a tremendous burden on the Hudson River and on the fish species there.

These are things that are never taken into account when people think about the environmental impact of nuclear power.

Are there any advantages to using nuclear energy for the US?

Considering the financial burden, the environmental and health impacts, and the environmental injustices, there aren’t. We must establish policies and programs to transition away from nuclear power and fossil fuels, but there’s no advantage to continuing it, which is being sharply highlighted right now.

As nuclear power plants age, they not only become more dangerous and prone to safety problems, they also become extraordinarily expensive to operate. Since 2013, a number of nuclear power plants that have closed because it is no longer economical for the energy companies that own them to continue operating them.

To solve this problem, the nuclear industry has pushed states and the federal government for billions of dollars in subsidies to make these old nuclear reactors more profitable. One of their arguments is that we need these nuclear reactors and plants to continue running because it could affect the electricity in our homes or global warming, but that’s simply untrue. If the funds required to keep uneconomical reactors operating were spent on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, we could not only phase out nuclear power, but end our use of fossil fuels, as well.

The question becomes how do we transition more quickly to renewable energy sources and energy efficiency so that we don’t need to use dirty energy sources like nuclear and fossil fuels.

Is using nuclear power really the answer to clean, environmentally friendly energy?

No. There is nothing environmentally friendly about nuclear power. It only creates different environmental problems than fossil fuel energy sources. But neither fossil fuels nor nuclear power are safe, sustainable, or healthy for humans and the environment.

What kind of resources does nuclear energy require? With this in mind, is it worth the effort and the investment to acquire nuclear energy?

Nuclear power requires a lot of uranium to make the fuel, and it produces a lot of radioactive waste in the process. Building and constructing reactors requires a lot of steel, concrete, and rare earth metals; there is a large carbon emissions footprint associated with just the construction of nuclear power plants.

There is also the question of what to do with nuclear reactor sites once they close down. These reactor sites become highly contaminated with radioactive and chemical wastes and byproducts.  After they shut down, the equipment must be dismantled and the heavily contaminated and radioactive steel, concrete, machinery, clothing, etc., is removed to be “disposed of.”

Frequently, the government and energy companies are looking for places to dump radioactive waste.  These dump sites often times end up in communities of color or Indigenous communities specifically targeted due to their relatively lower political power. This is yet another instance of institutional racism and settler colonialism.

How much of a difference would it make if we were to eliminate nuclear energy?

You wouldn’t notice a difference. That’s been proven repeatedly. There have been over 30 nuclear power plants that have closed across the country over the last 30 years; not once have the lights flickered as a result.

What we’re seeing more increasingly is that nuclear plants are closing and being replaced with renewable energy sources and energy efficiencies, significantly reducing the environmental impact.

Should nuclear energy not be used at all? If it should not be, what are some other forms of energy that are better?

We believe that nuclear power should not be used at all and, in fact, should be replaced with renewable energy and energy efficiency.

There’s an enlightening report that was published in 2016 called Prosperous, Renewable Maryland , which outlines how the state of Maryland can reach 100% renewable energy within the next 35 years, while continuing to meet all of its energy needs. This is part of a larger goal to research and assess the way the United States, and the entire world, can reach 100% renewable energy.

It is where we need to be going, and we should really examine the politics around energy to think about why that isn’t happening.

What kind of action has NIRS taken to combat nuclear energy use?

NIRS has taken, and continues to take, a myriad of actions to combat the use of nuclear energy.

One of the more visible actions we’ve taken recently was the mobilization of protesters against nuclear at the historic People’s Climate Marches in New York City in 2014 and Washington in 2017, and at the March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia in 2016.

We also work with the global Don’t Nuke the Climate coalition to mobilize protesters at the United Nations Climate summits to oppose nuclear power and the industry’s efforts to promote it as a climate solution.

Additionally, we are working with groups at both the state and national level to oppose billions of dollars in government subsidies for nuclear power plants, and to ensure that we’re moving towards a 100% renewable energy system.

We’ve also worked for a very long time to help mobilize public opinion to influence federal legislation, such as the “Mobile Chernobyl” bill, as we named it, back in the 1990s. This legislation aimed to create a nuclear waste parking lot, as mentioned before, that would have required thousands of shipments of high-level radioactive waste across the country, through major cities and urban areas, as well as rural communities. We were successful in mobilizing other organizations and people from across the country to stop this bill in the 1990s.

Another thing we do regularly is to raise awareness by talking to people about these issues, both on the streets and at public events. In 2002 we, along with several other groups across the country, constructed a ‘Nuclear Waste Wagon Train’ consisting of mock nuclear waste canisters. We drove them around the country to show people what it would be like if nuclear waste was actually transported to these parking lot dumps or the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site. As a result, public opinion turned against the shipping of nuclear waste, and we’ve continued to fight against most of those proposals.

We still, however, haven’t been able to persuade the federal government to do something more scientifically sound and environmentally and ethically responsible with the waste; this is what we will devote the bulk of our efforts to during 2017.

Are the impacts of the Chernobyl (Ukraine) and Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania) nuclear accidents still relevant today? If so, how?

Not only are the impacts of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island still relevant today, but also the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.

Chernobyl still has an 18-mile uninhabitable zone where no one is allowed to live. There are still countries across Europe (i.e. Germany, Scotland, etc.) that experience environmental contamination as a result of the Chernobyl accident, which forces them to implement food restrictions; for example in Germany, they can’t eat wild boar (previously a local delicacy) for fear of radioactive contamination.

There are significant levels of illness, especially in areas like Ukraine, Belarus, and other areas surrounding Chernobyl, and the same thing is starting to happen around Fukushima. In just a few years, there has been a significant increase in thyroid tumors among children near Fukushima, likely caused by radioactive iodine released by the reactor explosions and leaks.

One of the problems with radiation and nuclear disaster is that governments and nuclear power companies do not prepare for disasters to happen. When the accident does happen, government officials fail to take emergency measures until too late, like moving people out of the area as a way to minimize the initial intense exposure to radiation immediately following the accident. And because they do not want to admit their failures and liability later on, they don’t take adequate measures to protect people after the accident.

Without long-term protection measures, radiation, invisible to the eye, remains present in the environment. Air, soil, water, food, and therefore people’s bodies become contaminated with radioactivity. Children and women are disproportionately harmed by radiation; many health effects like cancer, take years to become apparent.

There is no safe level of radiation exposure. Every dosage of radiation exposure increases your chances of cancer and other health effects, but it takes cancer a long time to develop. It can take 10, 15, 20 years or more for an exposure to a carcinogen to actually result in disease, making it easy for people to disqualify exposure to radiation as the culprit. In the case of childhood cancers, which are on the rise, the exposure was likely to the mother, or to the fetus, in utero. Since children are growing and their cells dividing quickly, radiation exposure is more potent than in adults.

This is a problem communities poisoned by nuclear facilities consistently endure—officials telling them that their exposure to radiation isn’t the cause of their disease.

This is happening in Japan right now, where people are being denied access to health care and health services, and even forced to return to or continue living in communities where their families’ health is at risk. There are mothers constantly worried about the effects the radiation has on their children, but the government is telling them that the radiation levels are perfectly safe, even though the radioactivity is much higher than before the disaster. Because their illnesses are not acknowledged, people are not receiving the health care and services they need, or support for leaving their homes. Many areas have been partially cleaned up, but the mountains are still highly radioactive and rain causes this radioactivity to return to areas that were declared “clean.”

How likely is it that accidents like those in Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima will happen again?

The scientific evidence suggests that there’s a 50% chance of another nuclear accident like Chernobyl happening within the next 25-30 years. However, those odds may be an under-estimate. We’ve had five reactor meltdowns globally in just the last 40 years, and reactors in the U.S. and elsewhere are only getting older.

In the US and other countries, we’re finding that nuclear reactors become more expensive to operate as they get older. Utility owners struggle with the rising operation costs and, as a result, begin cutting back on costs like maintenance, staffing, and other important things that are necessary to reduce safety problems.

We never say that a nuclear disaster is certain, but the risks are increasing and that’s one of the reasons we support phasing out nuclear power as quickly as possible. For instance, the governor of New York have been supporting billions of dollars in subsidies to prevent nuclear power plants from shutting down, even after their reactors have become unprofitable. Two of these reactors are among the oldest still operating in the world, and three of them have the same flawed design as the failed Fukushima reactors in Japan made by General Electric.

What legislation should we expect to see surrounding nuclear power and nuclear waste in the coming presidential administration?

There are currently proposals to provide billions of dollars in subsidies to nuclear power plants in several states: Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It’s also possible that proposals to subsidize the reactors in Maryland, Ohio and other states could come up soon, or other national reactor subsidies created by the federal government.

There are several proposals coming up about the parking lot nuclear waste dumps (“ Central Interim Storage ” sites) in Texas and New Mexico. There would need to be federal legislation to make them legal. We’re expecting in 2017 and 2018 that congress will push for nuclear waste legislation.

Additionally there’s a proposed site for a long-term nuclear waste dump in Nevada called Yucca Mountain . This site has never been suitable for nuclear waste. It’s actually a mountain that the Western Shoshone Indian Nation, whose territory Yucca Mountain is on, refer to as “the snake that moves.” The Western Shoshone have known for thousands of years that the mountain is moving, and this was confirmed by GPS satellite data showing the earth’s crust is expanding, moving the mountain and strong evidence of a magma pocket below the site. The area is riddled with earthquake fault lines, ongoing quakes and a row of lava cones pointing towards the proposed nuclear waste dump site confirm that volcanism is a feature of Yucca Mountain

This location was chosen by congress in the 1980s because Nevada was a state that had no political power at that time.  President Obama wisely canceled the project effectively in 2011, but Congress and the Trump administration are expected to try to revive it.

We’re likely to see legislation in Congress to get Yucca Mountain restarted again, and that’s something we’ll be opposing as well.

Exactly how important is nuclear power and nuclear waste?

It’s extremely important, not only because of the important questions involved in how we receive our energy, and how we address the climate crisis, but also, the important related questions surrounding nuclear weapons and nuclear war.

The technology necessary for nuclear power is the same technology necessary for nuclear weapons and that connection has always been an impetus for the United States government’s support of nuclear power. It is also what results in the government’s inconsistent policies with other countries. For instance, the U.S. has negotiated to limit Iran from accessing nuclear power in order to ensure it does not obtain nuclear weapons, while supporting nearby countries like Pakistan and India having nuclear power despite their development of nuclear weapons. President-elect Trump’s enthusiasm about nuclear weapons is very concerning to us both because of the increased risk of nuclear weapons proliferation and/or warfare, and the possible promotion of nuclear power.

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Nuclear Power and Society: Topic ideas, Grammar, Vocabulary and Sample Answers

Nuclear Power and Society: Topic ideas, Grammar, Vocabulary and Sample Answers

July 13, 2023 By Ben W

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In this tutorial, we discuss   nuclear power and society IELTS Topic ideas, grammar, vocabulary and sample answers.

Table of Contents

Introduction, grammar point covered, pros and cons regarding nuclear power, topic specific vocabulary collocations and phrases, model sentences using the nuclear power phrases and conjunctions, model essay about nuclear power, speaking part 3 questions and model answers, further reading.

Nuclear power, a controversial yet pivotal topic, has significant implications for society. This article will explore the pros and cons of nuclear power, provide vocabulary and grammar points related to the topic, and offer model answers for IELTS-style questions.

Conjunctions are words that connect clauses or sentences. They include coordinating conjunctions such as ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’, ‘so’, ‘yet’, and ‘for’; and subordinating conjunctions like ‘although’, ‘because’, ‘since’, ‘unless’, and ‘while’.

  • Nuclear power is a reliable source of energy.
  • It has a lower carbon footprint compared to fossil fuels.
  • Nuclear power plants require less land than renewable energy sources.
  • It provides a significant contribution to the energy mix of many countries.
  • Nuclear power can meet large energy demands.
  • It has the potential for technological advancements and innovations.
  • Nuclear power can help countries achieve energy independence.
  • It can contribute to economic growth and job creation.
  • Nuclear power can be used for purposes other than electricity generation, such as medical treatments.
  • It can play a role in combating climate change.
  • Nuclear power plants can pose significant safety risks, including nuclear accidents.
  • The disposal of nuclear waste is a major environmental concern.
  • Nuclear power plants have high upfront costs for building and decommissioning.
  • There are concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation.
  • Nuclear power plants are not renewable and rely on finite resources.
  • construction times.
  • There are potential health risks for plant workers and local residents.
  • Public perception of nuclear power is generally negative.
  • Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to security threats.
  • Nuclear fission
  • Radiation exposure
  • Nuclear reactor
  • Uranium enrichment
  • Radioactive decay
  • Nuclear waste disposal
  • Thermal power
  • Control rods
  • Nuclear proliferation
  • Energy independence
  • Although nuclear fission provides a significant amount of energy, it also produces harmful radioactive waste.
  • While radiation exposure can be harmful, safety measures in nuclear power plants aim to minimise this risk.
  • Nuclear reactors are complex systems, and they require careful management and maintenance.
  • Uranium enrichment is a crucial process in the production of nuclear energy, but it also raises concerns about nuclear proliferation.
  • Radioactive decay is a natural process, yet it is harnessed in nuclear power plants to produce energy.
  • Because nuclear waste disposal is a significant challenge, research into safer and more efficient methods is ongoing.
  • Thermal power plants, including nuclear ones, contribute significantly to the global energy mix.
  • Control rods in a nuclear reactor regulate the fission process, and they are crucial for safety.
  • Although nuclear proliferation is a concern, international treaties and inspections aim to prevent it.
  • Energy independence can be achieved with nuclear power, but it requires significant investment and infrastructure.

Question: What are the implications of nuclear power for society, and how should it be managed?

Introduction: Nuclear power, a significant source of energy, has profound implications for society. It offers potential benefits such as energy independence and low greenhouse gas emissions, yet it also presents challenges like radioactive waste disposal and the risk of nuclear accidents.

Body Paragraph 1: On the positive side, nuclear power can contribute to energy independence. By harnessing the power of nuclear fission, countries can produce a large amount of energy from a small amount of uranium. This can reduce reliance on foreign energy sources and contribute to national security. Furthermore, nuclear power produces very low amounts of greenhouse gases, making it a cleaner energy source compared to fossil fuels. This can contribute to efforts to combat climate change.

Body Paragraph 2: However, nuclear power also presents significant challenges. The disposal of radioactive waste is a major environmental and health concern, and the risk of nuclear accidents, although low, can have devastating and long-lasting impacts. Furthermore, the construction and decommissioning of nuclear power plants require high initial investments, and the supply of uranium, which is used as fuel in nuclear reactors, is limited and non-renewable.

Conclusion: In conclusion, while nuclear power offers potential benefits, it also presents significant challenges. It is crucial that nuclear power is managed responsibly, with stringent safety measures, effective waste disposal methods, and careful consideration of the economic and environmental implications.

Question 1: Why is nuclear power a controversial issue? Answer: Nuclear power is a controversial issue mainly because of the risks associated with it. While it provides a significant amount of energy, the disposal of radioactive waste and the potential for nuclear accidents are major concerns. Furthermore, there are also concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation.

Question 2: Should countries invest more in nuclear power? Answer: This is a complex issue and depends on a variety of factors. On one hand, nuclear power can provide a stable source of energy and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, the challenges and risks associated with nuclear power, such as waste disposal and the potential for accidents, cannot be ignored.

Question 3: What are the alternatives to nuclear power? Answer: There are several alternatives to nuclear power, including renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. These sources are sustainable and have a much lower environmental impact compared to nuclear power. However, they also have their own challenges, such as variability and storage issues.

Question 4: How has the use of nuclear power changed over time? Answer: The use of nuclear power has changed significantly over time. In the early days of nuclear power, there was a lot of optimism about its potential, and many countries invested heavily in it. However, after several high-profile accidents, public opinion shifted, and many countries began to move away from nuclear power. Today, the debate continues, with some advocating for a nuclear renaissance, while others argue for a transition to renewable energy sources.

Question 5: Is nuclear power common in your country? Answer: In my country, nuclear power is not very common. While there are a few nuclear power plants, the majority of our energy comes from fossil fuels and renewable sources. However, there is ongoing debate about whether to invest more in nuclear power.

  • BBC: Climate change: Should we be scared of nuclear power?
  • International Atomic Energy Agency
  • World Nuclear Association
  • Wikipedia: Nuclear Power
  • U.S. Department of Energy: Office of Nuclear Energy

Why don’t nuclear scientists ever play hide and seek?

Because good luck hiding when you’re always glowing!

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Essay on Nuclear Energy

Students are often asked to write an essay on Nuclear Energy in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Nuclear Energy


Nuclear energy is a powerful source of energy generated from atomic reactions. It is created from the splitting of atoms, a process known as nuclear fission.

Production of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is produced in nuclear power plants. These plants use uranium, a mineral, as fuel. The heat generated from nuclear fission is used to create steam, which spins a turbine to generate electricity.

Benefits of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is very efficient. It produces a large amount of energy from a small amount of uranium. It also does not emit harmful greenhouse gases, making it environmentally friendly.

Drawbacks of Nuclear Energy

Despite its benefits, nuclear energy has drawbacks. The most significant is the production of radioactive waste, which is dangerous and hard to dispose of. It also poses a risk of nuclear accidents.

Also check:

  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy
  • Paragraph on Nuclear Energy

250 Words Essay on Nuclear Energy

Introduction to nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy, a powerful and complex energy source, is derived from splitting atoms in a process known as nuclear fission. Its significant energy output and low greenhouse gas emissions make it a potential solution to the world’s increasing energy demands.

Production and Efficiency

Nuclear power plants operate by using nuclear fission to generate heat, which then produces steam to turn turbines and generate electricity. The efficiency of nuclear energy is unparalleled, with one kilogram of uranium-235 producing approximately three million times the energy of a kilogram of coal.

Environmental Implications

Nuclear energy is often considered a clean energy source due to its minimal carbon footprint. However, the production of nuclear energy also results in radioactive waste, the disposal of which poses significant environmental challenges.

Security and Ethical Concerns

The utilization of nuclear energy is not without its risks. Accidents like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima have highlighted the potential for catastrophic damage. Furthermore, the proliferation of nuclear technology raises ethical concerns about its potential misuse for military purposes.

Future of Nuclear Energy

The future of nuclear energy hinges on technological advancements and policy decisions. The development of safer, more efficient reactors and sustainable waste disposal methods could mitigate some of the risks associated with nuclear energy. Additionally, international cooperation is crucial to ensure the peaceful and secure use of nuclear technology.

In conclusion, nuclear energy presents a potent solution to the energy crisis, but it also brings significant challenges. Balancing its benefits against the associated risks requires careful consideration and responsible action.

500 Words Essay on Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy, a powerful and complex form of energy, is derived from splitting atoms in a reactor to heat water into steam, turn a turbine, and generate electricity. Ninety-four nuclear reactors in 28 states, approximately 20% of total electricity production in the United States, are powered by this process. Globally, nuclear energy is a significant source of power, contributing to about 10% of the world’s total electricity supply.

The Mechanics of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is produced through a process called nuclear fission. This process involves the splitting of uranium atoms in a nuclear reactor, which releases an immense amount of energy in the form of heat and radiation. The heat generated is then used to boil water, create steam, and power turbines that generate electricity.

The fuel for nuclear reactors, uranium, is abundant and can be found in many parts of the world, making nuclear energy a viable option for countries without significant fossil fuel resources. Moreover, the energy produced by a single uranium atom split is a million times greater than that from burning a single coal or gas molecule, making nuclear power a highly efficient energy source.

Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy

One of the main advantages of nuclear energy is its low greenhouse gas emission. It emits a fraction of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuel-based energy sources, making it a potential solution to combat climate change.

Nuclear energy is also reliable. Unlike renewable energy sources like wind and solar, nuclear power plants can operate continuously and are not dependent on weather conditions. They can provide a steady, uninterrupted supply of electricity, which is crucial for the functioning of modern societies.

However, nuclear energy also has significant drawbacks. The risk of nuclear accidents, while statistically low, can have devastating and long-lasting impacts, as seen in Chernobyl and Fukushima. Additionally, the disposal of nuclear waste poses a serious challenge due to its long-term radioactivity.

The Future of Nuclear Energy

The future of nuclear energy is uncertain. On one hand, the demand for low-carbon energy sources to combat climate change could lead to an increase in the use of nuclear energy. On the other hand, concerns about nuclear safety, waste disposal, and the high costs of building new nuclear power plants could hinder its growth.

Advancements in nuclear technology, such as the development of small modular reactors and fourth-generation reactors, could address some of these concerns. These technologies promise to be safer, more efficient, and produce less nuclear waste, potentially paving the way for a nuclear renaissance.

In conclusion, nuclear energy presents a compelling paradox. It offers a high-energy, low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, yet it carries significant risks and challenges. As we move towards a more sustainable future, it is crucial to weigh these factors and make informed decisions about the role of nuclear energy in our global energy mix.

That’s it! I hope the essay helped you.

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Nuclear Energy Debate Mark as Favorite (37 Favorites)

ACTIVITY in Renewable Energy , Interdisciplinary , History , Radiation , Pros Cons of Nuclear Power , Radiation . Last updated February 19, 2021.

In this activity, students will watch a debate between experts on the merits and drawbacks of nuclear energy. They will use this debate, as well as additional research, to write a short position paper on whether or not to continue using nuclear energy that explains and defends their opinion, as well as the chemistry involved in nuclear energy production.

Grade Level

High School

NGSS Alignment

This activity will help prepare your students to meet the performance expectations in the following standards:

  • HS-ETS1-1: Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Identify the pros and cons of using nuclear power as an energy source.
  • Make a conclusion supported by specific evidence.

Chemistry Topics

This activity supports students’ understanding of:

  • Pros and cons of nuclear power

Teacher Preparation : 5 minutes

Lesson : 60–120 minutes

  • Video equipment
  • Internet access
  • No safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.

Teacher Notes

  • This lesson fits well towards the end of a unit on nuclear energy. Prior to the lesson, students should have learned what nuclear chemistry is and should be able to differentiate between natural and artificial transmutation. They should have also learned about fission and fusion and how these two processes can be used to create energy. One AACT activity that could introduce these topics is the Fission vs. Fusion Reading activity.
  • This activity can be completed in class with additional support from the teacher, as part of a sub lesson, or at home as homework. It could also be used as a post-AP Chemistry exam activity.
  • Show the TED Talk debate over nuclear power in class and have students take notes on both sides of the argument. You may want to pause it periodically to allow students to keep up in their notes.
  • As students are writing their initial response to the question “Do you think the U.S. should continue to develop nuclear power plants? Why or why not?” the teacher should circulate to make sure that every student is able to come up with an initial conclusion.
  • Encourage students to be respectful of each other’s ideas in their discussions. This article from the University of Michigan provides valuable ways to prepare for and approach discussions that may involve controversial issues or opinions.
  • Let’s Talk Science: https://letstalkscience.ca/educational-resources/stem-in-context/what-are-pros-and-cons-nuclear-energy (Note that this is a Canadian website so there are references to Canadian organizations and energy usage.)
  • ProCon.org: https://alternativeenergy.procon.org/questions/is-nuclear-power-safe-for-humans-and-the-environment/
  • Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121432182593500119#cx
  • The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Student Corner: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/students.html
  • Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy, STEM Resources: https://www.energy.gov/ne/information-resources/stem-resources
  • World Nuclear Association, Nuclear Power in the USA: https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/usa-nuclear-power.aspx
  • U.S. Energy Information Association, Energy Kids: https://www.eia.gov/kids/energy-sources/uranium/
  • Whether you provide students with the above resources or you let them find their own, encourage them to assess the quality of their resources so they are sure they are getting scientifically accurate information. This article is a good place for students to look for guidance on evaluating internet resources. Also be sure to indicate which format (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) you want them to use for their citations. Resources such as www.easybib.com or www.bibme.org might be helpful tools.
  • As students are researching, the teacher should circulate and check in to make sure that all students are able to use evidence to support their conclusion.
  • Students’ position essays on nuclear energy will serve as a summative evaluation. They will be evaluated on both their demonstration that they understand the chemistry content and their ability to formulate a claim and use evidence to back it up.
  • Nuclear Energy Power Plants
  • Town Meeting
  • The Tokaimura Nuclear Accident
  • Love It or Leave It: Living in the Nuclear Age
  • Nuclear Waste Challenge
  • Fission vs. Fusion Reading

For the Student

Does the World Need Nuclear Energy?

While watching the TED debate between Stewart Brand and Mark Jacobson, take notes on the arguments for and against nuclear energy.

After watching the debate, what would your answer be to the question: Should the U.S. continue to develop nuclear energy? Why or why not? Write a ~1 paragraph initial response in the space below.

Do some additional research on nuclear energy, including more up-to-date energy statistics for the US and globally, and write a one to two page response to the question: Should the U.S. continue to develop nuclear energy? Why or why not? Cite evidence from the video and additional research.

Your response should include:

  • An explanation of the chemistry behind nuclear energy
  • Your position on the nuclear energy debate
  • Evidence to support your position
  • Acknowledgement of and reasons for disagreeing with the opposing position
  • A bibliography page with at least 3 reliable sources, cited properly

Use the space below to brainstorm for your essay, take notes on your additional research, and record the sources you consulted. (Use additional pages if you'd like.)

Position (circle one): The U.S. (should / should not) continue to develop nuclear energy.

Source: ______________________________________________________

Source: _______________________________________________________

Please submit these notes with your final essay on ________________.

Energy.gov Home

Nuclear energy protects air quality by producing massive amounts of carbon-free electricity. It powers communities in 28 U.S. states and contributes to many non-electric applications, ranging from the  medical field to space exploration .

The Office of Nuclear Energy within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) focuses its research primarily on maintaining the existing fleet of reactors, developing new advanced reactor technologies, and improving the nuclear fuel cycle to increase the sustainability of our energy supply and strengthen the U.S. economy.

Below are some of the main advantages of nuclear energy and the challenges currently facing the industry today.

Advantages of Nuclear Energy

Worker2Vogtle power plant

Clean Energy Source

Nuclear is the largest source of clean power in the United States. It generates nearly 800 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year and produces more than half of the nation’s emissions-free electricity. This avoids more than 470 million metric tons of carbon each year, which is the equivalent of removing 100 million cars off of the road.

Creates Jobs

The nuclear industry supports nearly half a million jobs in the United States and contributes an estimated $60 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product each year. U.S. nuclear plants can employ up to 700 workers with salaries that are 30% higher than the local average. They also contribute billions of dollars annually to local economies through federal and state tax revenues.

Supports National Security

A strong civilian nuclear sector is essential to U.S. national security and energy diplomacy. The United States must maintain its global leadership in this arena to influence the peaceful use of nuclear technologies. The U.S. government works with countries in this capacity to build relationships and develop new opportunities for the nation’s nuclear technologies.

Challenges of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power plant 2

Public Awareness

Commercial nuclear power is sometimes viewed by the general public as a dangerous or unstable process. This perception is often based on three global nuclear accidents, its false association with nuclear weapons, and how it is portrayed on popular television shows and films.

DOE and its national labs are working with industry to develop new reactors and fuels that will increase the overall performance of these technologies and reduce the amount of nuclear waste that is produced.  

DOE also works to provide accurate, fact-based information about nuclear energy through its social media and STEM outreach efforts to educate the public on the benefits of nuclear energy.

Used Fuel Transportation, Storage and Disposal

Many people view used fuel as a growing problem and are apprehensive about its transportation, storage, and disposal. DOE is responsible for the eventual disposal and associated transport of all commercial used fuel , which is currently securely stored at 76 reactor or storage sites in 34 states. For the foreseeable future, this fuel can safely remain at these facilities until a permanent disposal solution is determined by Congress.

DOE is currently evaluating nuclear power plant sites and nearby transportation infrastructure to support the eventual transport of used fuel away from these sites. It is also developing new, specially designed railcars to support large-scale transport of used fuel in the future.

Constructing New Power Plants

Building a nuclear power plant can be discouraging for stakeholders. Conventional reactor designs are considered multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects. High capital costs, licensing and regulation approvals, coupled with long lead times and construction delays, have also deterred public interest.

microreactor_SMR image

Microreactor (left) - Small Modular Reactor (right)

DOE is rebuilding its nuclear workforce by  supporting the construction  of two new reactors at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia. The units are the first new reactors to begin construction in the United States in more than 30 years. The expansion project will support up to 9,000 workers at peak construction and create 800 permanent jobs at the facility when the new units begin operation in 2023.

DOE is also supporting the development of smaller reactor designs, such as  microreactors  and  small modular reactors , that will offer even more flexibility in size and power capacity to the customer. These factory-built systems are expected to dramatically reduce construction timelines and will make nuclear more affordable to build and operate.

High Operating Costs

Challenging market conditions have left the nuclear industry struggling to compete. DOE’s  Light Water Reactor Sustainability (LWRS) program  is working to overcome these economic challenges by modernizing plant systems to reduce operation and maintenance costs, while improving performance. In addition to its materials research that supports the long-term operation of the nation’s fleet of reactors, the program is also looking to diversify plant products through non-electric applications such as water desalination and  hydrogen production .

To further improve operating costs. DOE is also working with industry to develop new fuels and cladding known as  accident tolerant fuels . These new fuels could increase plant performance, allowing for longer response times and will produce less waste. Accident tolerant fuels could gain widespread use by 2025.

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The U.S. is divided over whether nuclear power is part of the green energy future

The Associated Press

essay question nuclear energy

One of Pacific Gas and Electric's Diablo Canyon Power Plant's nuclear reactors is photographed on Nov. 3, 2008, in Avila Beach, Calif. Michael Mariant/AP File Photo hide caption

One of Pacific Gas and Electric's Diablo Canyon Power Plant's nuclear reactors is photographed on Nov. 3, 2008, in Avila Beach, Calif.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As climate change pushes states in the U.S. to dramatically cut their use of fossil fuels, many are coming to the conclusion that solar, wind and other renewable power sources might not be enough to keep the lights on.

As carbon removal gains traction, economists imagine a new market to save the planet

Planet Money

As carbon removal gains traction, economists imagine a new market to save the planet.

Nuclear power is emerging as an answer to fill the gap as states transition away from coal, oil and natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the worst effects of a warming planet. The renewed interest in nuclear comes as companies, including one started by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, are developing smaller, cheaper reactors that could supplement the power grid in communities across the U.S.

Nuclear power comes with its own set of potential problems, especially radioactive waste that can remain dangerous for thousands of years. But supporters say the risks can be minimized and that the energy source will be essential to stabilize power supplies as the world tries to move away from carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels.

Tennessee Valley Authority President and CEO Jeff Lyash puts it simply: You can't significantly reduce carbon emissions without nuclear power.

essay question nuclear energy

Peter Galbraith displays his opposition to a proposal to waive an environmental review of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power plant before renewing the plant's license, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Rich Pedroncelli/AP File Photo hide caption

Peter Galbraith displays his opposition to a proposal to waive an environmental review of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power plant before renewing the plant's license, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif.

"At this point in time, I don't see a path that gets us there without preserving the existing fleet and building new nuclear," Lyash said. "And that's after having maximized the amount of solar we can build in the system."

France ramps up nuclear power as Germany closes plants in the name of clean energy

The TVA is a federally owned utility that provides electricity to seven states as the nation's third largest electricity generator. It's adding about 10,000 megawatts of solar capacity by 2035 — enough to power nearly 1 million homes annually — but also operates three nuclear plants and plans to test a small reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. By 2050, it hopes to hit its goal of becoming net zero, which means the amount of greenhouse gases produced is no more than the amount removed from the atmosphere.

essay question nuclear energy

Framed by the Manhattan skyline electricians with IBEW Local 3 install solar panels on top of the Terminal B garage at LaGuardia Airport, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Mary Altaffer/AP File Photo hide caption

Framed by the Manhattan skyline electricians with IBEW Local 3 install solar panels on top of the Terminal B garage at LaGuardia Airport, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York.

An Associated Press survey of the energy policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that a strong majority— about two-thirds— say nuclear, in one fashion or another, will help take the place of fossil fuels. The momentum building behind nuclear power could lead to the first expansion of nuclear reactor construction in the U.S. in more than three decades.

Roughly one-third of the states and the District of Columbia responded to the AP's survey by saying they have no plans to incorporate nuclear power in their green energy goals, instead leaning heavily on renewables. Energy officials in those states said their goals are achievable because of advances in energy storage using batteries, investments in the grid for high-voltage interstate transmission, energy efficiency efforts to reduce demand and power provided by hydroelectric dams.

The split over nuclear power in U.S. states mirrors a similar debate unfolding in Europe, where countries including Germany are phasing out their reactors while others, such as France, are sticking with the technology or planning to build more plants.

The Biden administration, which has tried to take aggressive steps to reduce greenhouse gases, views nuclear as necessary to help compensate for the decline of carbon-based fuels in the nation's energy grid.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the AP that the administration wants to get to zero-carbon electricity, and "that means nuclear, that means hydropower, that means geothermal, that means obviously wind on and offshore, that means solar."

"We want it all," Granholm said during a visit in December to Providence, Rhode Island, to promote an offshore wind project.

The $1 trillion infrastructure package championed by Biden and signed into law last year will allocate about $2.5 billion for advanced reactor demonstration projects. The Energy Department said studies by Princeton University and the Decarb America Research Initiative show that nuclear is necessary for a carbon-free future.

Granholm also touted new technologies involving hydrogen and capturing and storing carbon dioxide before it is released into the atmosphere.

Nuclear reactors have operated reliably and carbon-free for many decades, and the current climate change conversation brings the benefits of nuclear to the forefront, said Maria Korsnick, president and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry's trade association.

"The scale of this electric grid that's across the United States, it needs something that's always there, something that can help really be the backbone, if you will, for this grid," she said. "That's why it's a partnership with wind and solar and nuclear."

Nuclear technology still comes with significant risks that other low-carbon energy sources don't, said Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists. While the new, smaller reactors might cost less than traditional reactors to build, they'll also produce more expensive electricity, he said. He's also concerned the industry might cut corners on safety and security to save money and compete in the market. The group does not oppose the use of nuclear power, but wants to make sure it's safe.

"I'm not optimistic we'd see the kind of safety and security requirements in place that would make me feel comfortable with the adoption or deployment of these so-called small modular reactors around the country," Lyman said.

The U.S. also has no long-term plan for managing or disposing the hazardous waste that can persist in the environment for hundreds of thousands of years, and there's the danger of accidents or targeted attacks for both the waste and the reactors, Lyman said. Nuclear disasters at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and more recently, Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 provide an enduring warning about the dangers.

Nuclear power already provides about 20% of electricity in the U.S., accounting for about half the nation's carbon-free energy. Most of the 93 reactors operating in the country are east of the Mississippi River.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved just one of the new, small modular reactor designs — from a company called NuScale Power, in August 2020. Three other companies have told the commission they're planning to apply for their designs. All of these use water to cool the core.

The NRC is expecting about a half dozen designs to be submitted for advanced reactors, which use something other than water to cool the core, such as gas, liquid metal or molten salt. That includes a project by Gates' company, TerraPower, in Wyoming, which has long depended on coal for power and jobs.

As utilities quit coal, Wyoming is tapping into wind and installed the third-largest amount of wind power generating capacity of any state in 2020, after Texas and Iowa. But Glen Murrell, executive director of the Wyoming Energy Authority, said it's unrealistic to expect all the nation's energy to be provided exclusively through wind and solar. Renewable energy should work in tandem with other technologies such as nuclear and hydrogen, he said.

TerraPower plans to build its advanced reactor demonstration plant in Kemmerer, a town of 2,700 in western Wyoming where a coal plant is closing. The reactor uses Natrium technology, which is a sodium-cooled fast reactor paired with an energy-storage system.

In another coal-dependent state, West Virginia, some lawmakers are trying to repeal the state's moratorium on the construction of new nuclear facilities.

A second reactor design by TerraPower will be built at the Idaho National Laboratory. The Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment will have a core that's as small as a refrigerator and molten salt to cool it instead of water.

Among the other states that support nuclear power, Georgia maintains that its nuclear reactor expansion will "provide Georgia with ample clean energy" for 60 to 80 years. Georgia has the only nuclear project under construction in the U.S. — the expansion of Plant Vogtle from two of the traditional large reactors to four. The total cost is now more than double the original projection of $14 billion, and the project is years behind schedule.

New Hampshire said that without nuclear, the region's environmental goals would be impossible to meet as affordably. And the Alaska Energy Authority has been working since 2007 to plan for the use of small modular nuclear reactors, possibly at remote mine sites and military bases first.

The Maryland Energy Administration said that while the goal of all renewable energy is laudable and costs are declining, "for the foreseeable future we need a variety of fuels," including nuclear and cleaner natural gas-powered systems to ensure reliability and resiliency. Maryland has one nuclear plant, and the energy administration is talking with manufacturers of small modular reactors.

Other officials, mostly in Democratic-led states, said they're moving beyond nuclear power. Some said they never relied heavily on it to begin with and don't see a need for it in the future.

They said the cost of new reactors compared to installing wind turbines or solar panels, the safety concerns and the unresolved question of how to store hazardous nuclear waste are deal-breakers. Some environmentalists also oppose small modular reactors because of the safety concerns and hazardous waste questions. The Sierra Club has described them as "high-risk, high‐cost and highly questionable."

In New York, which has some of the nation's most ambitious goals to combat climate change, the future energy grid will be dominated by wind, solar and hydropower, said New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Doreen Harris.

Harris said she sees a future beyond nuclear, dropping from nearly 30% of the state's energy mix currently to around 5%, but the state will need advanced, long-duration battery storage and perhaps cleaner-burning fuels such as hydrogen.

Nevada is especially sensitive to nuclear energy because of the failed plan to store the nation's commercial spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain. Officials there don't consider nuclear power a viable option. Instead, they see potential for battery technology for energy storage and geothermal energy.

"Nevada understands better than most other states that nuclear technology has significant lifecycle problems," David Bobzien, director of the Nevada Governor's Office of Energy, said in a statement. "A focus on short-term gains can't alleviate the long-term issues with nuclear energy."

California is slated to close its last remaining nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, in 2025, as it turns to cheaper renewables to power its grid by 2045.

Officials think they can meet that goal if California sustains its expansion of clean electricity generation at a "record-breaking rate for the next 25 years," building on average of 6 gigawatts of new solar, wind and battery storage sources annually, according to state planning documents. California also imports power produced in other states as part of a Western U.S. grid system.

Skeptics have questioned whether California's all-in renewable plan can work in a state of nearly 40 million people.

Research from scientists at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that delaying Diablo Canyon's retirement to 2035 would save California $2.6 billion in power system costs, reduce the chances of brownouts and lower carbon emissions. When the research was presented in November, former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the nation is not positioned in the near-term to go to 100% renewable energy.

"They'll be times when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine," he said. "And we will need some power that we can actually turn on and dispatch at will. That leaves two choices: either fossil fuel or nuclear."

But the California Public Utilities Commission says it would likely take "seismic upgrades" and changes to the cooling systems, which could cost more than $1 billion, to continue operations at Diablo Canyon beyond 2025. Commission spokesperson Terrie Prosper said 11,500 megawatts of new clean energy resources will be online by 2026 to meet the state's long-term needs.

Jason Bordoff, co-founding dean of the Columbia Climate School, said that while California's plans are "technically possible," he's skeptical because it's challenging to build that much renewable capacity quickly. Bordoff said there is "good reason" to think about extending the life of Diablo Canyon to keep energy costs down and reduce emissions as quickly as possible.

"We have to incorporate nuclear energy in a way that acknowledges it's not risk-free," he said. "But the risks of falling short of our climate goals exceed the risks of including nuclear energy as part of the zero carbon energy mix."

Associated Press writer Matthew Daly in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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Nuclear Power Essay IELTS 2024: Writing Task 2 Latest Samples

  • Updated On March 10, 2024
  • Published In IELTS Preparation 💻

The IELTS exam tests how well-versed you are in the English language. It consists of 4 papers: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Essay writing can be daunting if you’re not conversant in its framework and concept. This blog will assist you in writing Nuclear Power Essay IELTS and guide you on how to crack IELTS writing task 2.

Table of Contents

We’ll focus more on the nuclear power essay during this blog and walk you through the process. For guidance and reference on other topics and any other help regarding the IELTS exam , you can look through our website’s collection of blogs and obtain the assistance you need.

nuclear power essay ielts

Nuclear Power Essay IELTS Sample Answer

Nuclear power is a very debated topic in every convention and has always been questioned for the bad it does rather than its good. In my opinion, nuclear power needs to be used, and the user should also be controlled and hedged with renewable energy sources as they are the only viable solution. Nuclear plants currently provide 11% of the world’s electricity. With an ever-increasing demand for electricity being seen everywhere and the fossil fuels reducing each day, it is now more important than ever that major decisions should be made. In the upcoming decades, energy consumption will only increase and meet the rising demand; nuclear power plants will be required as they are the best source of traditional energy-producing sources. Although nuclear power plants are required, it is also necessary to gradually push renewable energy sources and promote them to create a sustainable future for future generations. Nuclear power plants’ waste disposal and radioactivity are the concerning factors that have been the hot topic of most debates at conventions and meetings. In addition to that, a single misuse of this tremendous power can result in the disruption of life for all mankind. Striking a balance between the two will be crucial in the coming time as global warming and the energy crisis are on a constant rise. If nothing is done in the near time, countries could get submerged underwater within the coming decades, and the entire world will have to fight for survival.

Writing Task 2

The writing section of the IELTS exam consists of two sections. Writing task 2 is an essay writing task that requires deep thinking and coherence. This task will be our focus for this blog, as the rules and guidelines of the IELTS exam can be confusing for students appearing for the first time. Writing task 2 has the subsequent guidelines:

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Nuclear Power Essay IELTS 2024: Writing Task 2 Latest Samples

  • The essay should have a minimum of 250 words. An essay written in less than 250 words will be penalised and negatively marked. There is no penalty for writing a longer essay, but it will cause you to stray off-topic and waste time.
  • 40 minutes is a good enough time to complete this task and will leave you with time to recheck your answer.
  • The essay’s contents should be written with perfect grammar and solely focused on the topic.
  • You can be penalised if you stray off-topic while writing your essay. All the sentences must be related and formed to provide a clear view and information.
  • The content must be well structured to fetch the best results and have proper cohesion between the sentences.
  • The tone of your answer must be academic or semi-formal and should discuss the given topic at length and focus on proper and sophisticated language.
  • Using bullet points and notes is not allowed in the IELTS exam . The real answer must be written together and broken into paragraphs to better examine your writing style and structure.

Structure of Essay in Writing Task 2

Nuclear Power Essay IELTS 2024: Writing Task 2 Latest Samples

The structure of the essay in writing task 2 is the base of your essay, and a clear idea of the structure will make it much easier for you to finish the essay on time. The structure of the essay can be broken down in the following way:

  • First Paragraph
  • Second Paragraph
  • Third Paragraph
  • Fourth Paragraph

The first paragraph of your essay should provide a small introduction to the topic and provide an opinion of yours about what side you are on about the topic. The first paragraph should be minimal and to the point. A clear and concise introduction leaves a good impression on the examiner. The second paragraph should begin with your stance on the topic. The first sentence should provide clarity on your stance. The second sentence should build on that idea and delve deeper into the specifics. The next sentences are suitable for providing an example and developing it in detail. You can make up research studies and quote them in your essay to support your point. At the end of the paragraph, end with a statement that sums up the overall idea of the paragraph and supports the idea you started with. The third paragraph is very similar in structure to the second paragraph. The main objective of this paragraph is to provide either the opposite view of the topic or discuss new ideas that touch on a different perspective of the topic but ultimately support your opinion. The structuring is the same as in the second paragraph, with minute changes. The fourth paragraph is the conclusion of your essay and, just like the introduction, should be minimal. Summing up your essay with a statement supporting your opinion and overall idea is best advised.

Nuclear Power Essay IELTS

Score well on IELTS Nuclear Essay by understanding the Writing task 2 structure above. Add Brownie points for writing answers with facts, examples and evidence. For more related content, head on to LeapScholar blogs. Avail of one-on-one guidance from India’s top IELTS educators from the Leap Scholar Premium course .

Frequently Asked Questions

1. what are the pros and cons of nuclear power.

Ans: Nuclear energy is a widely used method of production of electricity. The benefits of nuclear technology and the main advantages of nuclear power are: a. No production of harmful gases that cause air pollution b. Clean source of energy c. Low cost of fuel d. Long-life once constructed e. A massive amount of energy produced f. Unlike most energy production methods, nuclear energy does not contribute to the increase in global warming

Disadvantages: a. Very high cost of construction of the facility. b. Waste produced is very toxic and requires proper and safe disposal, which is costly. c. If any accident happens, it can have a major impact on everyone and can be devastating. d. Mining of uranium 235, which is nuclear fuel, is very expensive.

2. Does Japan have a plan for dealing with its own nuclear waste problem?

Ans: As per the latest news and research, Japan does not have a proper nuclear waste dumping structure even after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The Fukushima disaster was caused by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 and caused meltdowns and hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor. It was the worst recorded nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Japan is said to have enough nuclear waste to create nuclear arsenals. In April 2021, Japan declared they would be dumping 1.2 million tonnes of nuclear waste into the sea. This is the same Japan that called the 1993 ocean dumping by Russia “extremely regrettable.” The discharges are bound to begin by 2023, and various legal proceedings and protests have been going on inside Japan against this inhuman decision that would destroy marine life.

3. How many countries have nuclear power plants?

Ans : Currently, 32 countries in the world possess nuclear power plants within their boundaries.

4. Why do people oppose nuclear power?

Ans: Opposition to nuclear power has been a long-standing issue. It is backed by a variety of reasons which are as follows:Nuclear waste is hard to dispose of, and improper disposal affects the radioactivity levels and can disrupt the normal life of people as well as animals. Nuclear technology is another concern of people as the usage of nuclear power plants leads to deeper research into the nuclear field. In today’s world, anything can be weaponised, and the threat of nuclear weapons is one of the drawbacks of nuclear power. This brings the threat of nuclear war and disruption of world peace. Any attack on nuclear power plants by terrorist organisations can result in a massive explosion that can disrupt and destroy human life and increase radioactivity to alarming levels around the site of the explosion.

5. What is the best way to dispose of nuclear waste?

Ans: Nuclear waste needs to be disposed of properly to prevent radioactive issues in the environment. The best methods to dispose of nuclear waste are as follows: a. Incineration : Radioactive waste can be incinerated in large scale incinerators with low production of waste. b. Deep burial: Nuclear waste can be buried deep into the ground as the radioactivity of nuclear waste wears off over time. This method is used for waste that is highly radioactive and will take a longer time to lose its radioactivity. c. Storage: Nuclear waste with low radioactivity is stored by some countries in storage. This is because their radioactive decay takes lesser time and can be disposed of safely once the radiation wears off.

6. Is it possible to produce electricity without using fossil fuels?

Ans: At the moment, 11% of the world’s electricity is produced by nuclear power plants alone. Replacing fossil fuel-based energy with renewable needs to be done gradually and properly. Renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, and wind will have to be promoted and pushed to create a sustainable future. Renewable energy sources provide cheap energy, do not use up natural resources and fossil fuels and are much cheaper to construct than a nuclear power station.

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essay question nuclear energy

Nuclear Energy is a Better Choice for Meeting Increasing Demand: IELTS Topic

If you’re on the route of an IELTS preparation journey, you must give some importance to the IELTS writing task 2 essay section too. This section can easily get you a band score of 7, 8 or 9 if you know how to write a perfect essay of all the types.

In this article, you will learn how to write an agree or disagree essay in IELTS Writing Task 2 .

Below is an agree or disagree essay topic “Nuclear energy is a better choice for meeting increasing demand”.

IELTS Writing Task 2 Topic: Nuclear Energy is a Better Choice for Meeting Increasing Demand

Sample one: nuclear energy is a better choice for meeting increasing demand.

The word ‘global warming’ has had a huge effect on people’s minds with respect to the energy resources they use. Most nations are heavily dependent on fossil fuels for power production, even though they are very dangerous to our climate. As a result of climate change, many nations consider nuclear energy to be an effective solution to this issue and a good way to satisfy ever-increasing energy needs. To some point, I agree with this feeling.

Break the Paragraph: Agree or Disagree IELTS Writing Task 2 Question

On the one side, nuclear technology has many benefits over conventional energy sources. First of all, it’s a green energy source, so we don’t need to think about scarcity and reserve considerations. For example, once fossil fuels are non-renewable, the more easily we use them to die.

Secondly, nuclear energy is environmentally sustainable and releases no carbon dioxide material into the environment. It is more clean energy than conventional energy sources.

Lastly, atomic energy’s mass to energy generation is very high, which implies with a limited volume of atomic material we can generate enough electricity to lighten the whole region.

Also Read: How to Write Agree and Disagree Essays in IELTS? Tips to Write the Perfect Essay

Break the Paragraph: Agree or Disagree Question

To the opposite hand of the coin. It still has drawbacks, though. The substance of nuclear energy is a significant danger to any form of life on earth. Radioactive waves or radiation triggers dangerous illnesses, such as cancer, if not contained. Japan, for instance, was met with a tragedy after the waves hit one of the nuclear power plants in Fukushima.

As a consequence, there was a leakage in the facility, the region deemed to be a radioactive zone, culminating in a mass evacuation of natives from the region. But the region is still maintained as a quarantine area, meaning that no living things survive there. In comparison, the safety of nuclear power stations is very dangerous. Today, these kinds of installations are attacked by militants as nuclear weapons.

Break the Paragraph: Agree or Disagree IELTS Question

In summary, nuclear fusion is the only alternative to the energy deficiency that the earth is currently facing. It is also the ideal solution to the environmental issues that we are facing right now. While there are still certain drawbacks, proper service and creation of these types of facilities should be assured.

Sample Two: Nuclear Energy is a Better Choice for Meeting Increasing Demand

In today’s world, people are searching for an effective way to raise electricity consumption. Some people think that nuclear energy is a better option than fossil fuel. In my view, I am in favour of this claim.

Nuclear electricity has some advantages that other sources of energy do not have. Firstly, it is a renewable energy source, which ensures that it can be used to generate electricity without consuming scarce natural resources such as coal, oil or gas. As we all know, fossil fuels are being used at an unprecedented pace.

Second, it is safer than fossil fuel, in other terms, it will help us minimise the carbon content that induces global warming. Ultimately, the development of nuclear power will create more job possibilities and even make those technologies more effective for the industry.

Also Read: IELTS Essay in Writing Task 2: Here’s How to Organize it Well


Break the Paragraph: IELTS Writing Task 2 Agree or Disagree Question

There are, on the other hand, certain aspects against these claims. The sustainability of nuclear power is a big concern. It will be a tragedy once a dangerous crash occurs. Millions of people are going to be harmed or injured. In comparison, a nuclear power plant will occupy a large area, get rid of its own square, and nobody wants to live near it. Furthermore, the expense of constructing a nuclear power plant is high, and expensive investment would put a heavy economic strain on the country.

In addition, I agree with the assertion that nuclear technology can be used somewhat in some nations, such as some developing countries. Nevertheless, the country’s growth has been driven by technical and scientific developments, and the officials are required to boost the country’s global influence and increase the quality of living of people.

To write a perfect essay you must keep some points in mind. In agreeing or disagreeing essays, you must pick a side that is easy for you. You must support your answers with suitable examples which will impress the examiner while checking your essay. Do not bring your personal opinion or examples in your essay, as it is not appreciated at all.

For more topics of IELTS Writing Task 2, checkout the blog section of IELTS Ninja, one of the best online IELTS preparation portals.

Also Read: Importance of Art in Society: IELTS Essay Sample for IELTS Writing Task 2 Explained for Band 8


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Guest Essay

The Fantasy of Reviving Nuclear Energy

A photo of two cooling towers at a decommissioned nuclear plant in California, surrounded by vineyards.

By Stephanie Cooke

Ms. Cooke is a former editor of Nuclear Intelligence Weekly and the author of “In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age.”

World leaders are not unaware of the nuclear industry’s long history of failing to deliver on its promises, or of its weakening vital signs. Yet many continue to act as if a “nuclear renaissance” could be around the corner even though nuclear energy’s share of global electricity generation has fallen by almost half from its high of roughly 17 percent in 1996.

In search of that revival, representatives from more than 30 countries gathered in Brussels in March at a nuclear summit hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Belgian government. Thirty-four nations, including the United States and China, agreed “to work to fully unlock the potential of nuclear energy,” including extending the lifetime of existing reactors, building new nuclear power plants and deploying advanced reactors.

Yet even as they did so, there was an acknowledgment of the difficulty of their undertaking. “Nuclear technology can play an important role in the clean energy transition,” Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, told summit attendees. But she added that “the reality today, in most markets, is a reality of a slow but steady decline in market share” for nuclear power.

The numbers underscore that downturn. Solar and wind power together began outperforming nuclear power globally in 2021, and that trend continues as nuclear staggers along. Solar alone added more than 400 gigawatts of capacity worldwide last year, two-thirds more than the previous year. That’s more than the roughly 375 gigawatts of combined capacity of the world’s 415 nuclear reactors, which remained relatively unchanged last year. At the same time, investment in energy storage technology is rapidly accelerating. In 2023, BloombergNEF reported that investors for the first time put more money into stationary energy storage than they did into nuclear.

Still, the drumbeat for nuclear power has become pronounced. At the United Nations climate conference in Dubai in December, the Biden administration persuaded two dozen countries to pledge to triple their nuclear energy capacity by 2050. Those countries included allies of the United States with troubled nuclear programs, most notably France , Britain , Japan and South Korea , whose nuclear bureaucracies will be propped up by the declaration as well as the domestic nuclear industries they are trying to save.

“We are not making the argument to anybody that this is absolutely going to be a sweeping alternative to every other energy source,” John Kerry, the Biden administration climate envoy at the time, said. “But we know because the science and the reality of facts and evidence tell us that you can’t get to net zero 2050 without some nuclear.”

That view has gained traction with energy planners in Eastern Europe who see nuclear as a means of replacing coal, and several countries — including Canada, Sweden, Britain and France — are pushing to extend the operating lifetimes of existing nuclear plants or build new ones. Some see smaller or more “advanced” reactors as a means of providing electricity in remote areas or as a means of decarbonizing sectors such as heat, industry or transportation.

So far most of this remains in early stages, with only three nuclear reactors under construction in Western Europe, two in Britain and one in France, each more than a decade behind schedule. Of the approximately 54 other reactors under construction worldwide as of March, 23 are in China, seven are in India, and three are in Russia, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The total is less than a quarter of the 234 reactors under construction in the peak year of 1979, although 48 of those were later suspended or abandoned.

Even if you agree with Mr. Kerry’s argument, and many energy experts do not, pledging to triple nuclear capacity by 2050 is a little like promising to win the lottery. For the United States, it would mean adding an additional 200 gigawatts of nuclear operating capacity (almost double what the country has ever built) to the 100 gigawatts or so that now exists, generated by more than 90 commercial reactors that have been running an average of 42 years. Globally it would mean tripling the existing capacity built over the past 70 years in less than half that time in addition to replacing reactors that will shut down before 2050.

The Energy Department estimates the total cost of such an effort in the United States at roughly $700 billion. But David Schlissel , a director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis , has calculated that the two new reactors at the Vogtle plant in Georgia — the only new reactors built in the United States in a generation — on average, cost $21.2 million per megawatt in today’s dollars — which translates to $21.2 billion per gigawatt. Using that figure as a yardstick, the cost of building 200 gigawatts of new capacity would be far higher: at least $4 trillion, or $6 trillion if you count the additional cost of replacing existing reactors as they age out.

For much less money and in less time, the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewables like solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal power, and by transmitting, storing and using electricity more efficiently. A recent analysis by the German Environment Agency examined multiple global climate scenarios in which Paris Climate Agreement targets are met, and it found that renewable energy “is the crucial and primary driver.”

The logic of this approach was attested to at the climate meeting in Dubai, where more than 120 countries signed a more realistic commitment to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.

There’s a certain inevitability about the U.S. Energy Department’s latest push for more nuclear energy. The agency’s predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, brought us Atoms for Peace under Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s in a bid to develop the “peaceful” side of the atom, hoping it would gain public acceptance of an expanding arsenal of nuclear weapons while supplying electricity “too cheap to meter.”

Fast forward 70 years and you hear a variation on the same theme. Most notably, Ernest Moniz, the energy secretary under President Barack Obama, argues that a vibrant commercial nuclear sector is necessary to sustain U.S. influence in nuclear weapons nonproliferation efforts and global strategic stability. As a policy driver, this argument might explain in part why the government continues to push nuclear power as a climate solution, despite its enormous cost and lengthy delivery time.

China and Russia are conspicuously absent from the list of signatories to the Dubai pledge to triple nuclear power, although China signed the declaration in Brussels. China’s nuclear program is growing faster than that of any other country, and Russia dominates the global export market for reactors with projects in countries new to commercial nuclear energy, such as Turkey, Egypt and Bangladesh, as well as Iran.

Pledges and declarations on a global stage allow world leaders a platform to be seen to be doing something to address climate change even if, as is the case with nuclear, they lack the financing and infrastructure to succeed. But their support most likely means that substantial sums of money — much of it from taxpayers and ratepayers — will be wasted on perpetuating the fantasy that nuclear energy will make a difference in a meaningful time frame to slow global warming.

The U.S. government is already poised to spend billions of dollars building new small modular and “advanced” reactors and keeping aging large ones running. But two such small reactor projects based on conventional technologies have already failed. Which raises the question: Will future projects based on far more complex technologies be more viable? Money for such projects — provided mainly under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act — could be redirected in ways that do more for the climate and do it faster, particularly if planned new nuclear projects fail to materialize.

There is already enough potential generation capacity in the United States seeking access to the grid to come close to achieving President Biden’s 2035 goal of a zero-carbon electricity sector, and 95 percent of it is solar, battery storage and wind. But these projects face a hugely constrained transmission system, regulatory and financial roadblocks and entrenched utility interests, enough to prevent many of them from ever providing electricity, according to a report released last year by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Even so, existing transmission capacity can be doubled by retrofitting transmission lines with advanced conductors, which would offer at least a partial way out of the gridlock for renewables, in addition to storage, localized distribution and improved management of supply and demand.

What’s missing are leaders willing to buck their own powerful nuclear bureaucracies and choose paths that are far cheaper, less dangerous and quicker to deploy. Without them we are doomed to more promises and wasteful spending by nuclear proponents who have repeatedly shown that they can talk but can’t deliver.

Stephanie Cooke is a former editor of Nuclear Intelligence Weekly and the author of “In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , X and Threads .

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