Nuclear Power in UK

Nuclear energy refers to the energy found in the nucleus of an atom which is the smallest unit of any object. The two particles in the atom called the protons and the neutrons are held together by this nuclear energy. To obtain this energy, nuclear fission and fusion methods are used in the power plants to produce electricity (Markandya and Wilkinson 2007, p.980). Nuclear energy has been a major issue of concern in the UK to match up the energy needs of the citizens. The idea of this alternative energy came into existence approximately a century ago and remains a form of a clean, secure, and affordable source of electricity. With time, the British workforce has successfully produced a skilled workforce and has earned a good reputation for its safe, reliable, and high-quality operations. The use of this form of energy in most of the developed world has been met with a lot of difficulties as scholars and policy makers argue against the use of nuclear for the possible threats posed to the environment (Brookes 1978, p.98). Previous disasters that took place in the nuclear plants, like Chernobyl disaster, have made critics to push the government against the energy option. Many states in the world have been revolutionising their manner of energy production, and these efforts have not left the United Kingdom behind. The nation has a high population density and a relatively higher per capita use of the electricity compared to other first and second world countries (Grubb et al. 1991, p.913). The demand for energy has been projected to be gradually increasing calling for more reliability on nuclear. Coal has also been used as an alternative form of energy as measures continue to be put in place to control the emissions. Despite the negative views that nuclear energy has received, it remains to be one of the best ways of matching the future energy requirements in the United Kingdom and should not be faced out (Sovacool 2008, p. 2951).

 

The nuclear remains a clean and environmentally-friendly with the government working tirelessly to provide a measure of maintaining its safety. It has been a reliable supply of low-carbon electricity. The government has been gearing its efforts towards the reduction of the carbon emission as it aims to deliver 16GW-75GW of the overall United Kingdom’s energy needs (Owens 2000, p.1143). The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has set up plans for cleaning up the already existing facilities. The body is also in charge of investigating new plants that are being set up in order to establish whether they meet the required standard. The infrastructure set up need to have their prior approval, a move that shows the government is committed to meeting the safety needs of its citizens. However, there have been critics trying to reduce and if possible completely face off the use of nuclear energy in the United Kingdom. The argument put forth in this is that there are other forms of low carbon electricity that should be encouraged rather than relying on a hazardous source of energy. Due to debates touching on the climate change, the use of nuclear has been a controversial issue. Nuclear plants have, however, not been producing greenhouse gasses as compared to non-renewable energies. The human-made climate change, therefore, when it comes to this source of energy, should not be a major issue of concern. There are fears of nuclear meltdowns, exposure to radiations, nuclear terrorism, and the problem of nuclear waste. All these might point out the manner in which the nuclear plants pose a great danger to the environment with human beings being at a risky position of losing their lives in large numbers. Although these claims are true, the measures that have been put up in the UK guarantees the safety of the citizens through ensuring that there are no faults in the system. Experts who control the facilities are well trained on dealing with radioactive elements and have been adequately trained on disaster management.

Whenever the safety of the nuclear plants is being considered, the idea of possible attacks by terrorist groups has always come into the picture. Britain is safer and has not been under terrorist threats compared to her close allies like France and Germany that have recently witnessed a wave of violence from the Islamic State. These attacks will make nuclear plants in the United Kingdom at risk in the future as violence is becoming more rampant in Europe. The Islamic State militants have been previously linked with the scandals concerning the loss of radioactive materials in the Middle East (Allison 2005, p.43). This has raised concerns in the global arena over nuclear plants control for the realization of the collective security goals. Nuclear facilities need to convert into Kirsch IFR plants, and that will be one of the effective measures to deal with terrorists because the material cannot be used in crafting WMDs (Watson and Scott 2009, p.5098). The idea of various terrorist organizations around the world having the technical knowhow in handling and crafting nuclear weapons is, however, a conjecture for debate. The main propagandas pushed by these groups are meant to cause fear to those outside the group in a bid to lure them or have a bargaining power. It is for this reason that their powers can be considered as being overstated. The idea of nuclear energy cannot be abandoned because of these differences that exist between various groups of people. It should be noted that crime has been in existence for a long time and that conflicts within the human society are inevitable. Terrorism is a problem that seems not to end soon regardless of how America and her allies advance collectively for good and bad will always coexist. Terrorists have been recruiting those who have been deprived of their rights and are angry with the system of government for neglecting their needs. However, if nuclear energy manages to alleviate the conditions of living through the redirection of global attention to problems like global warming and poverty, terrorism will be reduced. This will make nuclear energy proliferation to be wonderful and more viable. A need, thus, arises to give the safety of the nuclear plants a multifaceted approach to come up with long lasting solutions.

Nuclear energy is more reliable and efficient compared to other renewables and, thus, worth pushing for its existence. More so, it has ensured that the energy demands are sufficiently met, and this works positively towards the legitimization of regimes that have to articulate the energy needs of the population. The majority of the energy in the UK has been produced using fossil fuels, and this made the government face big challenges. There had been pressure from the international forces that wanted the UK to cut down its carbon transmission. Cutting the carbon emission proved to be problematic as the country struggled to meet the growing demands of its citizens (Mitchell and Connor 2004, p.1938). The decision to opt for nuclear energy can be considered as the least worst option but have advantages when considering the reliability and the ability to constantly produce huge quantities of energy. Windmills can be an alternative source of energy, but one nuclear plant can be equated to hundreds of them when considering the energy production (Price 2006, p.227). It is, therefore, true to argue that the use of nuclear energy is a good option that the UK resulted in having stepped up its nuclear regulation that cannot be compared to those of nations like Iran.

Conclusively, the idea of adopting the nuclear energy in the United Kingdom is ingenious and faultless, despite many unresolved issues around it. There is no method of energy collection that will be perfect and appealing to all the members of the public, as well as the players and the actors in the international system. The UK has demonstrated the need of putting the interests of the citizens first through articulating every facet of their energy needs, not only in the short term but also in many years to come. Problems identified with nuclear power like terrorism can be addressed and corrected through taking a multifaceted approach. The UK has stood tall in addressing the needs of its citizens and has not shied or succumbed to the international pressures in doing what is right. It is, however, advisable to ensure that the existing policies are continually revisited and revamped to meet the ever changing demands of the world’s population.

 

References

Allison, G., 2005. Nuclear Accountability.”. Technology Review, 108(7), p.43.

Brookes, L.G., 1978. Energy policy, the energy price fallacy and the role of nuclear energy in the UK. Energy Policy, 6(2), pp.94-106.

Grubb, M., Rayner, S., Tanabe, A., Russell, J., Ledic, M., Mathur, A. and Brackley, P., 1991.       Energy policies and the greenhouse effect: A study of national differences. Energy policy, 19(10), pp.911-917.

Markandya, A. and Wilkinson, P., 2007. Electricity generation and health. The Lancet,     370(9591), pp.979-990.

Mitchell, C. and Connor, P., 2004. Renewable energy policy in the UK 1990–2003. Energy          policy, 32(17), pp.1935-1947.

Owens, S., 2000. ‘Engaging the public’: information and deliberation in environmental policy.    Environment and planning A, 32(7), pp.1141-1148.

Price, T.J., 2006. UK large-scale wind power programme from 1970 to 1990: the Carmarthen      Bay experiments and the musgrove vertical-axis turbines. Wind Engineering, 30(3),    pp.225-242.

Sovacool, B.K., 2008. Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power: A critical         survey. Energy Policy, 36(8), pp.2950-2953.

Watson, J. and Scott, A., 2009. New nuclear power in the UK: A strategy for energy security?.    Energy Policy, 37(12), pp.5094-5104.

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