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Environment – Nuclear Power Challenges

Disadvantages and effects of using nuclear energy

Nuclear Power Challenges

The energy in the nucleus of an atom is nuclear energy. This energy, when released, can be utilized to create electricity. However, it must be split from an atom first. This process is called nuclear fission. A nuclear reactor is a power plant composed of a series of machines. It controls and coordinates the process of nuclear fission to generate electricity. These reactors use pellets of uranium as their fuel. In a nuclear reactor, the atoms split. While splitting, they release tiny particles called fission products. These particles initiate the breaking of other atoms forming a chain reaction with the formation of heat energy. The heat warms the cooling agent (water, liquid metal, molten salt, etc.) that produces steam. The steam turns the turbine and drives generators. Electricity generation using nuclear power sounds interesting due to low or negligible greenhouse gas production. In reality, the whole process is much more complicated and hazardous. Uranium mining waste, radioactive waste maintenance, exposure to high-level radiation and health hazards, and proliferation of nuclear weapons are the main reasons for gaining its unpopularity.

Nuclear Power Challenges
Radioactive waste

  •   Environmental contamination
  •   Exposure to harmful radiation
  •   Leakage of high-level waste
  •   Massive amount/ highly toxic waste
  •   High risk of explosion
  •   Accident prone


  •   Risks of shutdown reactors
  •   High operating cost
  •   Long lead time/ construction delay
  •   Licensing and regulation approval
  •   Environmental and health concerns
    • CO2 emission by nuclear fuel cycle/ construction instrument

Uranium mining

  •    Nonrenewable resource
  •    Lengthy process
  •    Endangering habitat
  •    Contaminates food chain/ water shed
  •    Contaminated rainwater
  •    Radioactive dust
  •    Radon gas
  •    Unprocessed waste of Uranium mining

Proliferation risks

  •    Proliferation of nuclear terrorism
  •    High risk of nuclear weapon proliferation

This Ishikawa diagram contains some of the main disadvantages and effects of producing electricity using nuclear energy. This incident analysis template helps to understand the risks we run while generating electricity.

Who should use the Nuclear Power Challenges template?

  • Anyone who needs to know the different challenges and effects of using nuclear energy to produce electricity.

Why use this template?

  • Identify various challenges or disadvantages of using nuclear energy.
  • Extend this template using smartQED tools to reuse problem-solving knowledge.
  • Craft templates for different types of problem analysis in smartQED.

Curated from community experience and public sources:

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