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Nuclear Energy

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Nuclear Energy Paper

Who remembers the black out in 2003, and how crazy people went when there was no power? Every person that walks the face of the earth is concerned with energy and what it does for him or her, where it comes from, and how long will we have it. The need of energy has always been in a major demand. You can go back to the 1900 when Albert Einstein introduced nuclear energy.

There are sources of energy that are renewable and do not cause so many pollutants, however they only contribute a small amount to the energy pyramid. Coal, gas, oil, and nuclear power are the most common forms of energy used in the United States. Three of these energies are limited: coal, gas, and oil. Nuclear power is unlike the other three because it uses the fission process instead of combustion. This form of power is unlimited. It produces heat energy like the others, but does not produce Carbon Dioxide and other particulate emissions.

Nuclear power plants have improved steadily over the last ten years. Nuclear power plants are a safe, clean and reliable source of energy production. They are uniquely qualified to meet the growing demand for energy in the U.S. It is estimated that the demand for power will grow two and a half percent per year. Even if the demand for energy didn't increase in the future but stayed where it is nuclear would still be the best choice for power production. Nuclear costs less and is environmentally cleaner than coal, which currently supplies approximately fifty percent of the power in the U.S. ( )

In terms of history, nuclear energy as a whole has been quite controversial. As time progressed the idea of nuclear energy became very common after, the United States dropped the atomic bomb in 1945. If we look at the history of nuclear energy, from when it was introduced to present day, it is clear to see that the concept has evolved in American society, however, the public still has trouble accepting the idea of nuclear energy in their everyday life due to the thee major nuclear disasters; Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island and Bodega Head. These seem to hinder the overriding future of nuclear energy in America.

The controversy of the effects of nuclear energy continues to be brought up. Throughout the years nuclear energy has proven to have many benefits, especially that it provides a growing planet with a clean and economical energy alternative. Supporters argue that nuclear energy is not only safe but will preserve and nurture the land and raw materials due to its efficiency and form. These supporters argue that accidents like Chernobyl were merely natural disasters capable of occurring in any industry and that the price for utilizing nuclear energy is far more beneficial than the inherent risk of natural disasters. However, while groups of scientists and the public believe that nuclear energy has strong positive benefits, there is a large group who oppose nuclear energy, specifically the construction and utilization of nuclear power plants. The group of people who oppose nuclear and promote renewable power sources, hereafter termed environmentalists, do so for very sound reasons. However, they fail to realize that renewable, wind and solar power, cannot supply the base-load electricity needed for the power grid. They also don't realize that of the five power sources that can supply base-load electricity, coal, oil, hydroelectric dams, nuclear and natural gas, nuclear outranks the others either in cost or environmental safety or both. In America, a large percentage of people oppose the use of nuclear energy. Disasters, accidents, and terrorism take front seat to the public who never really embraced the idea of nuclear energy to begin with especially after 9-11. Environmentalists argue against nuclear power on the grounds of the danger of the radiation emitted by nuclear reactors and nuclear waste, the problems with the disposal of nuclear waste and, finally, that renewable energy sources can supply all the power necessary to meet any growth in demand. ( )

As time has progressed, nuclear power plants have expanded. There are two types of basic energy. Primary energy is energy in the form of natural resources, such as wood, coal, oil, natural gas, natural uranium, wind, hydropower, and sunlight. ( ) Secondary energy is the more useable forms to which primary energy may be converted, such as electricity and petrol. There is not a shortage of primary energy. The sun pours an abundance of energy onto our planet each day. ( ) We see this energy in a variety of forms, ranging from solar radiation, through wind and waves, to trees and vegetation, which convert the sun's rays into plant biomass. ( ) In addition, there is an enormous amount of energy in the materials of the earth's crust, the fossil fuels also storing energy from the sun. ( ) Uranium is an energy source, which has been locked into the earth since the solar system was formed, billions of years ago. ( ) The challenge today is to move away from our heavy dependence on fossil fuels and utilize non-carbon energy resources more fully. ( ) Nuclear power plants aid in the effort to conserve and end the use of secondary sources.

Power plants have largely been successful because they employ our public with jobs and try to ease the consuming public's need for secondary energy sources. Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant is one of these plants. Located in Buchanan, New York, Indian Point has three main facilities and generates 2000 watts of electricity to the area. Indian Point was originally owned by Consolidated Edison Inc, but was bought in September 2001 by Entergy Nuclear Northeast, a New Orleans based company. Particularly since the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, residents and local officials are in strong opposition to Indian Point's existence.

The primary stakeholders include Entergy top management, employees for the company and those who work directly at Indian Point, vendors for the products used at the plants and the consuming public. The secondary stakeholders are the activists, environmentalists, local residents and government officials. As described in the course text: Business and Society, Corporate Strategy, Public Policy, Ethics, sometimes the interests and concerns of the stakeholders involved can be shadowed by one another. It is stated that, "Primary and secondary areas of involvement are not always sharply distinguished; often, one area shades into another."( ) In this case, the environmental consequences of nuclear energy is as important to the primary group, as the concern of the health and safety risks is to the secondary group.

To discuss this topic we must bring up and understand the ethical, social, governmental, environmental and economical issues that surround this case. As



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