Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nuclear Energy

by Antonio C. Antonio
October 12, 2014

Nuclear energy or nuclear power is the use of exothermic nuclear processes to produce or generate useful heat and electricity.  Nuclear power is a term often related to nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion.  Nuclear energy is supposed to be a cheaper source of power compared to fossil fuel which is a finite resource. 

The finite nature of non-renewable energy sources gives critical importance to the use of nuclear energy.  Proponents of nuclear energy, such as the World Nuclear Association, the IAEA and Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy argue that nuclear power is a safe and sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions.  On the other hand, opponents, such as Greenpeace International and NIRS, are uncomfortable with nuclear energy saying that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment.

In the Philippines, the use of nuclear energy was seriously considered during the last years of the Marcos Administration.  The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) was built with a total cost of $2.3 billion (including interest) as of 2009.  (Please see photo of BNPP.)  Decommissioned before construction was even completed, the BNPP is a 40-year old mothballed project.  At present, there are a lot of issues on safety and sustainability that needs to be addressed if this facility is to be put into operation.  U.S. nuclear engineer Robert Pollard who did his own inspection of the BNPP in the early 80s after the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents in the United States and U.S.S.R. then concluded that the BNPP is not safe since it used an old design plagued with unresolved safety issues, making it a potential hazard to the safety and health of the public. (

Nuclear energy has proven to be an unstable source of power which even advanced countries failed to make safe.  The nuclear accidents in the United States, U.S.S.R. and Japan (Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima Daiichi (2011) respectively) gave reasons for the world to take a second suspicious and prejudicial look at the safety and sustainability of nuclear energy.

Just my little thoughts…

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