Jacob M. Washington

The Advantages of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is undoubtedly the most efficient, safe and environmentally friendly source of energy out there. It would be a mistake to continue on the path of ignoring its potential as America's primary source of energy production.

Dear Mrs. Clinton,

While researching the policies of presidential candidates I noticed a stark lack of discussion about clean energy. I found this odd, considering that our energy methods are quickly approaching a point of unviability. Our old sources, fossil fuels to be specific, are becoming unfeasible for lack of physical resources while future sources, such as solar, nuclear, and hydropower, lack wide enough implementation and deep enough exploration to be viable options moving forward. I am writing this letter to hopefully persuade you of placing greater emphasis on the development of nuclear energy.

As I understand, your current plan is to install half a billion solar panels by the end of your first term. This is certainly a step in the right direction of becoming a nation of completely clean energy but I believe it is not the most reasonable option available. I thoroughly believe the key to a healthy and efficient future is nuclear energy, whose multitude of advantages constantly seem to be understated.

Nuclear energy currently accounts for 20% of the country’s electricity. It has already been established as a reliable source of energy. It also accounts for 0% of the country’s air pollution. The lack of emissions from nuclear energy is more important now, than ever before considering global warming is a growing issue. In addition to a lack of emissions, nuclear energy is extremely reliable. America’s nuclear reactors operate 90 percent of the time, making nuclear our most reliable source of electricity. Renewable energy is intermittent, with power available only when the wind blows or the sun shines — about a third of the time. It’s hard to imagine a strong economy that can run its computers, factories and air conditioning only one-third of the time.

Along with advantages to the environment, nuclear energy would also help stimulate the economy. Because it is such a young industry, nuclear has the potential to grow into our largest energy industry, creating plenty of new jobs. This is especially important considering that 80 percent of the $2 billion in renewable subsidies from the “stimulus” package went to overseas manufacturers. More red, white and blue jobs will be created by low-cost, reliable nuclear power than by high-cost, intermittent power from renewables.

With all of that being said, I understand the perceived issues with nuclear energy. There is a general sense of fear towards the word nuclear. Since its inception, the word nuclear has been associated with nukes and violence, thus making it seems like nuclear energy is somehow dangerous as well. This is simply untrue. While we have recently experienced a coal mine tragedy, a devastating oil spill and the deadly explosion of a natural-gas pipeline, there has never been a death from a nuclear accident at an American commercial reactor. There has never been a nuclear-related death aboard an American nuclear Navy vessel, either. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that working in the nuclear industry is safer than working in the finance, insurance and real estate sectors.

The cost of nuclear reactors also seems to be a large barrier preventing widespread development of nuclear energy. However, at current rates, taxpayers would have to shell out $170 billion to subsidize the 186,000 wind turbines necessary to equal the output of 100 reactors. In comparison to other sources of energy, nuclear provides an intensely greater cost efficiency. The only issue with those numbers is the price of each individual reactor being much larger than each turbine or solar panel. Taxpayers would likely be afraid of voting for the construction of one nuclear reactor versus the construction of 1000 wind turbines. The extent of price as a factor in nuclear energy’s development is strictly psychological. When you look closely at the numbers, nuclear energy is the most efficient option, hands down.

I hope that this letter has made an impact on your thoughts about nuclear energy. I sincerely believe that nuclear energy is the key to our nation’s future. It is undoubtedly the cleanest, safest, and most cost efficient energy option that exists. It would be a mistake to ignore nuclear energy until it is too late.


Jacob Moody

Lake Washington High School

1st period Civics


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