Argumentative Essay | Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy

Many people believe that nuclear energy plays an important role in our life as it is one of the most preferable methods for producing electricity. However, they do not take into consideration the negative aspects of nuclear energy. Undoubtedly, electricity affects human lives in various ways every day. According to the recent research, for any person on this planet, it would be rather hard or even impossible to imagine life without electricity. Traditional sources of energy for electricity production, such as gas and oil, are diminishing and their cost is often too high. Therefore, more and more countries are focused on obtaining energy from atom, although it is environmentally hazardous. Actually, commercial nuclear energy has always been represented as a controversial technology (Maehlum).The debate regarding pros and cons of nuclear energy continues and requires understanding of the contribution that nuclear energy is making today and the negative aspects of nuclear energy in the future.

Thesis statement: Although there are some advantages of the use of nuclear energy technologies, including cost-competiveness, base load of energy, low pollution technologies and high energy density,  it is evident that nuclear energy causes a potential harm to both human beings and the environment.

To start with, nuclear energy is a rather cheap method of producing electricity. Although the initial costs of construction of nuclear power plants are rather large, the fundamental process of electric power generation is not expensive. In other words, nuclear energy is cost-competitive (Maehlum). When electricity is generated in nuclear reactors, it is much cheaper than electricity generated from gas, oil, coal and the renewable energy sources (hydropower systems, wind energy systems, solar-thermal electricity systems, ocean energy systems and geothermal energy).

Moreover, nuclear energy can be viewed as base load energy because nuclear power plants, both large and small ones, produce a stable base load of energy. According to OECD, “nuclear energy is a reliable producer of base load electricity at stable variable cost, which is an attractive property from a social point of view”(60). At the same time, nuclear energy can be combined with the renewed energy sources, such as solar and wind. The electric power generation from the nuclear power plants can be reduced when wind and solar energy resources are available.

In addition, nuclear energy technologies are low pollution technologies. Actually, in most cases, it is more beneficial to use nuclear energy than other energy resources, especially in terms of the climate crisis. According to the recent research findings, the environmental effects of nuclear energy technologies are relatively small compared with the environmental impacts of other energy sources (McLeish 34).  However, it is obvious that nuclear waste causes harm to both human beings and the environment.

One more advantage of nuclear energy for electric power generation is the use of thorium technology. Scientific data show that “with the yearly fuel consumption of today’s nuclear power plants, we have enough uranium for 80 years” (Maehlum). Nuclear power plants can be fueled with other fuel components. Thorium can be viewed as “a greener alternative” to uranium. Such countries as China, Russia and India have already started to use thorium as an alternative to uranium.

Besides the above mentioned facts, the use of nuclear energy guarantees high energy density. It has been found that “the amount of energy released in a nuclear fission reaction is ten million times greater than the amount released in burning a fossil fuel atom (e.g. oil and gas)” (Maehlum). Therefore, nuclear power plants need much smaller amount of fuel comparing to other types of power plants.

In general, there are many advantages of using nuclear energy, but one can find a variety of negative aspects of nuclear energy as well. One of the most important negative aspects of nuclear energy is the increased amount of accidents. The radioactive waste can possess a threat to the environment and is very dangerous for human beings. According to Bolto and colleagues, “it is possible to pollute the environment during processing of the exhausted nuclear fuel if particular care is not taken and during the storage of radioactive waste”(29). One of the accidents is the Chernobyl accident, which occurred on April 26, 1986.The harmful effects of nuclear radiation on human beings and the environment can be witnessed in Chernobyl today. The statistical data show that “between 15 000 and 30 000 people lost their lives in the Chernobyl aftermath and more than 2.5 million Ukrainians are still struggling with health problems related to nuclear waste” (Maehlum). One more accident occurred on March 18, 2012 in Japan. While the amount of casualties was not as high as in the Chernobyl accident, the environmental effects of the nuclear waste were disastrous for the whole world.

Additionally, the negative aspect of using nuclear energy is radioactive waste, which causes air, land and water pollution. According to Maehlum, “the nuclear power plants emit negligible amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but the processes in the nuclear fuel chain such as mining, enrichment and waste management do” (1). In fact, nuclear fuel rods possess a limited usability. Besides, the atomic composition of fuel rod materials is altered in the process of fission. One of the most serious consequences of this chemical process is the creation of another radioactive element, called plutonium. According to the research, this chemical element remains dangerously radioactive for more than 240,000 years (Bolto et al. 32). Today, radioactive waste materials must be stored on-site at nuclear power plants. There are many initiatives to develop long-term, underground storage of radioactive wastes, but these strategies do not guarantee safety.

Another negative aspect of nuclear energy is the so-called nuclear proliferation, which stands for the increased expansion of nuclear technologies and development of modern nuclear weapons. Actually, the expansion of nuclear technology is really a serious challenge to mankind at large (McLeish). Besides, the plutonium byproduct created in nuclear reactors can be used in manufacturing process of bombs. It is clear that the more plutonium byproducts are used in manufacturing of weapons, the higher the risk that extremists and terrorists make use of it in the nearest future.

Thus, it is necessary to conclude that nuclear energy has more disadvantages than advantages for human beings and the environment. Nuclear energy production is very dangerous for human health. Radioactive waste storage negatively affects the environment. Besides, nuclear power plants have the greatest potential for severe accidents. What is more important is that nuclear technology can be used in the manufacturing of weapons. Therefore, it would be better to abandon the idea of the use of nuclear energy in commercial purposes.


Works Cited

Maehlum, Mathias Aarre. “Nuclear Energy Pros and Cons,” Energy Informative. May 3, 2013. Retrieved from:<>

McLeish, Ewan. The Pros and Cons of Nuclear Power. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2007. Print.

Nuclear Development The Security of Energy Supply and the Contribution of Nuclear Energy. (2010). OECD.

Bolto, B. A., Barcicki, J., Kozak, Z., Pawlowski, L. “Technology and the environment: allies or antagonists” in Chemistry for Protection of the Environment, ed. by A.J. Verdier, L. Pawlowski, W.J. Lacy. Elsevier, 2000. Print.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: March 21, 2023]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: March 21, 2023] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: March 21, 2023]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: March 21, 2023]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: March 21, 2023]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: March 21, 2023]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: March 21, 2023]
Haven't found the right essay?
Get an expert to write you the one you need!

Professional writers and researchers


Sources and citation are provided


3 hour delivery