Shefali California

Nuclear Energy: Make the Change

Coal and crude oil energy sources are more harmful to us than we thin they are. Nuclear energy provides us with a better option.

Dear Future President,

The sources of energy that sparked modern civilization might be the same factors that will destroy it. Every year, humanity uses thousands of terawatt hours of energy. The majority of the energy that we use comes from coal and crude oil, which both contribute greatly to the 30 million metric tonnes of CO2 spewed out into the atmosphere. And,this isn’t even mentioning other greenhouse gases. Though we have turned to coal and crude oil for energy for most of time, we have looked over the problems of these methods. We need to find an alternative to these inefficient forms of supplying ourselves with energy.

This issue affects the environment through pollution and global warming. Each year, 7 million tonnes of CO2, about 200,000 tonnes of sulfur oxide, and about 200,000 tonnes of fly ash are spewed into the atmosphere by just a few coal and oil power plants. Carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas and contributes to air pollution which is a major cause to global warming. Sulfur oxide is a big pollutant and causes acid rain across national boundaries. Fly ash contains toxic metals and naturally occurring radioactive substances. Another problem with getting our energy through these means is many deaths caused by mining accidents and oil rig explosions. Sadly many of these stories are never brought to light even though these accidents continue to occur. Some of the worst coal mine accidents have killed thousands of workers who were trapped in mines, blown to smithereens from explosions, or killed through carbon monoxide poisoning. Just because we have looked past these deaths in the past doesn’t mean we have to continue this way. However, something we do see on the news is how the crude oil and refined oil for energy have negative effects on ocean animals. Oil spills harm many animals by getting oil in feathers and polluting waters. The birds cannot fly properly or keep warm with the oil in their feathers. which often ends up killing them. The marine animals can accidently get the oil in their system through breathing or gulping the water for oxygen, which could potentially poison them.

The solution to this problem is emission free, more efficient nuclear power plants. Even though people think that nuclear power plants are exceptionally dangerous this is not the case. It is true that accidents have happened in nuclear power plants, an especially horrible one being Chernobyl, but they usually have nothing to do with the actual reactors and uranium. In fact compared to the deaths of coal mining, and the numbers are few. For example in the accident of 3-mile Island, a relatively well known accident, there were no injuries or adverse side effects. Another great benefit to nuclear power plants is that there are no greenhouse gases emitted. This means that it does not contribute to global warming. In fact, according to, each year nuclear power plants save emission of about 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. Even though people may argue that nuclear energy may not be as efficient as coal and oil they are most definitely wrong. 1 kg of of natural uranium can provide nearly 10,000 kg worth of energy in oil and 14,000 kg worth of energy in coal. The amount of uranium needed for energy therefore is much smaller and and easier to manage. In addition to providing more energy another part of nuclear energy efficiency is the waste. 97% of the used fuel is recycled which leaves a small amount that is easily manageable. Even so scientists are trying to find a way to make it so that all the waste is recyclable.

Using coal and oil for energy harms animals, people in coal mining accidents, and they both harm the environment. It is of utmost importance that we find a different way to supply ourselves with energy. Nuclear energy can help solve this problem because it is emission free, safer, and more efficient. I urge you to take action upon this cause by making the shift to helping America use more nuclear energy.

Peterson Middle School

8th Grade ELA

Middle School students from 8th Grade English

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