When it comes to nuclear energy, even though most Americans have an opinion, not all of them are fully informed. This is of course due to the multiple myths that have been circulated over the years regarding the use of nuclear power. Today we’ll discuss some of those myths and hopefully put them to bed, in hopes that regardless of your opinion on nuclear energy, at least we’ll all be informed. Here are some common myths about nuclear power and nuclear investment.
Myth: Nuclear power plants are constantly giving off radiation and it’s unsafe to live by a plant.
This is true and false. Yes, there is radiation generated from a nuclear power plant, but it’s a tiny amount in comparison to other naturally occurring radiation we’re exposed to. In fact, of the natural radiation you’re exposed to on a daily basis, nuclear power accounts for only 0.005%. That is approximately 100 times less than what we’re exposed to from coal and about 200 times less than what you are exposed to when you fly from New York to L.A.. To put it in perspective, it’s about the same as eating one banana per year. The truth is, compared to other energy sources, nuclear power poses very little threat to the public.
Myth: Nuclear power is a major contributor to global warming and climate change.
Uuuummmm…. No. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases during operation and it requires less land use than solar and wind power. If we invested more in nuclear power compared to other energy sources, it would actually help the fight against global warming or climate change.
Myth: A nuclear reactor is essentially a nuclear bomb that could explode at any minute.
Yes, that sounds scary. No, it’s not true. It would be impossible for a nuclear plant to explode like the “nuclear bombs” you see erupt in a mushroom cloud on TV. Why? Well, because nuclear weapons contain additional advanced materials that have been specially designed by nuclear scientists to do what bombs do. You won’t find any of these “additional advanced materials” in a nuclear reactor.
Myth: You can’t recycle nuclear waste and it is terrible for our environment.
The truth is 96% of all nuclear waste is reused or recycled. It’s not going to end up in the atmosphere and it’s not going to end up in your backyard.
Myth: We shouldn’t invest in nuclear energy.
Decide for yourself, but nuclear energy is proven to be clean, efficient and safe – especially when compared to other energy sources.