For the purpose of this submission, the selected topic is on nuclear energy. In particular, the paper focuses on the topic of whether nuclear power is cost-effective. Nuclear power refers to a form of energy often contained or derived from atoms. In most cases, the nuclear power is used for the purposes of producing electricity. There is a growing debate about the cost effectiveness of this type of power. On one hand, it has been claimed that nuclear power is characterized by cost overruns and insufficient safety provisions. While this is the case, all that is needed is harnessing safety, which will in turn help in reducing costs. Furthermore, research has shown that nuclear power is clean, reliable, as well as, cost effective. In the light of this, it is right to claim that nuclear power is cost effective and thus, it should be adopted and the main source of energy.
According to Inhofe, as revealed in the Procon.org (2009), nuclear energy is not only a clean but also reliable and cost effective sources. Additionally, the Inhofe claimed that it allows America to increase the domestic supply of energy. This position is indeed agreeable. In support of this perspective, nuclear power has been deemed as one of the smallest carbon footprints of any energy source, and this makes it a clean source of energy. At the same time, it implies is that this source of energy can potentially be the most affordable option for generating low carbon electric energy on a large scale. This is an implication that if nuclear power is adopted, it will become the most cost effective option that the world will have. Also, it has been determined that nuclear power stations often require huge investments to construct. While this is the case, they have relatively low costs of running throughout their long operational life. This also makes the technology as one of the most cost effective.
‘Another position that has been advanced in support of the theme of this paper is the idea that none of the renewable energy sources, apart from the hydropower, are suitable, whether intrinsically or economically. This position has been advanced by The World Nuclear Association, as reported by Procon.org (2009). This notion is also undeniable. The world at present, given its high industrialization nature, requires a large-scale and reliable supply of energy. The renewable energy sources remain as among the most cost-effective, especially when compared to the use of fossil fuels. While this is the case, these sources of energy depend on weather, which is often dynamic in nature. There are seasons of the year, especially in the UK, in which adverse snow conditions are experienced. The amount of solar, in this case, is usually marginal. If this is the case, it means that there would be extreme variations in the generation of solar energy. The same can be said about the wind, which is also extremely dynamic. Therefore, companies that depend solely on power have to experience periods of optimization and sub-optimization with respect to their operations, a thing that is entirely uneconomical. However, nuclear power, given that it is derived from atoms, means that it is more reliable. As such, there are no instances of low supply of power meaning that industries are not required to sub-optimize their operations.
Further, according to Beasley, as cited in the Procon.org (2009), the use of nuclear energy is essential as it will make the US more independent and efficient. This position is also entirely sound and believable. The US does not have an oil capacity. Rather, it depends on oil-rich countries especially in the Middle East in order to satisfy its energy needs. This is not cost effective. With the prices of oil increasing, the US will be required to allocate more financial resources. This might even mean cuts on other essential economic aspects and areas such as education. However, if the US adopts the use of nuclear power, it means that it will not have to depend on other countries. Rather, the US will be able to produce its power internally. Therefore, the outlay that would have been used to acquire fossil fuels from the Middle Easter countries is put on other projects that can easily drive the economy.
There are several commentators who do not agree with the above views. For instance, the Procon.org (2009) identified McCally, Lovins and The Sierra Club as all expressed their dissatisfaction with the above supporting thoughts. Commonly, these commentators claim that the majority of the nuclear power projects have never been completed and for those that have, they have sat idled due to cost overruns and thus, the nuclear power option is the most expensive. What these commentators do not fully understand is that a consensus on the production of nuclear power has never been reached in the US. Especially on a national project, any disagreements tend to raise the cost. If the initiative is approved, the costs named by the critics will be eliminated.
When evaluating the above positions, both for and against, it is highly possible that several biases came into play. The most likely types of biases include selection and reporting bias. Selection bias arose given that I had the freedom to select some positions and leave others (Rothman, et al., 2008). This, in turn, meant that I was biasing the sample. Reporting bias was evident in the idea that there was a skew in the availability of data (Rothman, et al., 2008). As such, the issues presented on the website were only excerpts. Therefore, I was forced to argue according to these excerpts. Perhaps, my argument or reporting would have been entirely different if I was presented with the entire articles. My own enculturation may have also influenced my bias (Rothman, et al., 2008). Take an instance of my background. As such, I come from the United States. Such an enculturation potentially motivated to select studies that originated from the US, and pay less focus or overlook those that reflect on other parts of the world.
After playing the believing game, my thinking about the topic has indeed transformed. I have come to realize that what I believe is highly influenced by the availability of data and bias. If these are eliminated, it is possible that I would have an entirely distinct argument from the one that I have set out above. Despite the case, my position about nuclear power remains unchanged.
- Procon.org (2009). Is Nuclear Power Cost-Effective? Retrieved from http://alternativeenergy.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001269
- Rothman, K.J. et al. (2008). Modern Epidemiology. New York, NY: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.