Is Nuclear Energy Renewable?

Nuclear energy plant. France

Nuclear energy plant. France. Credit: Stefan Kühn

Clean energy in recent years has gained tremendous momentum. There has been considerable thought and debate by experts on whether nuclear energy should be included in the renewable energy list.

So, the first step is to try and understand renewable energy. Renewable is very suggestive and it means, to make new again. So, any resource which can replenish with time could be considered renewable. For example the sources of biomass, solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal are considered renewable sources.

Next, getting into the definition of nuclear energy, it would be the energy that is in the core of a given item. Nuclear energy is the heat that is generated through the fission process of atoms is considered as nuclear energy. The fission process releases energy which is in the form of neutrons and heat. One of the fuels which get used for the nuclear fission is uranium.

Facts in favour of nuclear energy as renewable energy

The biggest proponent for nuclear energy to be included in the renewable energy list is the aspect of low carbon emission.

Former Professor at the University of Pittsburg, Bernard L. Cohen., observed that if the Uranium deposit could last around 5 billion years that is the relationship between the Earth and the Sun, then the nuclear energy could in all possibility be included in the renewable energy portfolio.

Nuclear energy is featured with affordability, reliability, and high level of efficiency. In the US, the nuclear energy facilities are extremely regulated and have a regular inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It is also reported that around 1,800 jobs are created in the US every year in this sector.

Facts against nuclear energy as renewable energy

Many who argue against the inclusion of nuclear energy in the list of renewable energy sources believe that uranium deposit is finite. There is a comparison to solar and wind sources to compliment this thought of finiteness. So, the energy source should be featured with sustainability for an indefinite period of time to be defined and included in the renewable energy list.

Those who oppose also find that nuclear energy contributes to harmful nuclear waste coming from nuclear power plants/reactors. As the nuclear waste is featured with radioactive pollutants, this adds to the point of non-inclusion of it as a renewable energy source.

Conclusion

Constructive thought processes towards renewable energy sources can help streamline clean energy. Meanwhile, the debate over the inclusion of nuclear energy in the renewable energy sources is ongoing and inconclusive.

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