Nuclear energy is an important contribution to
our country's electricity supply, making up about
20% of all electricity production. It offers what
is called "base load" power, which means it
provides large amounts of electricity all of the
time, but isn't designed to turn on or off very
Nuclear power production is attractive because
it does not release any greenhouse gas emissions
like carbon dioxide or methane. Like any
electricity source, though, there are
environmental costs to nuclear power, including
uranium mining, water usage for cooling the
reactors, and production of radioactive waste.
So, to answer your question directly, we don't
need nuclear power, and many countries don't use
it. If we chose to stop using nuclear, however, we
would either need to replace all of the power that
those nuclear plants produce with other sources of
electricity, such as coal, natural gas, solar,
etc. or dramatically reduce the amount of
electricity we consume.
Depends on what you mean.
Nearly all of the energy that we humans use is
nuclear in origin: the sun, which provides the
vast majority of our power, is a nuclear furnace,
basically a giant self-sustaining hydrogen bomb.
Most of the rest of our power comes from the
geothermal energy inside the Earth, which is
driven by radioactive decay, also a nuclear
process. The only source of energy that I can
think of that isn't either directly or indirectly
nuclear is the tides, which are gravitational
(fossil fuels are indirectly nuclear because the
energy that made the fuels in the first place came
from the sun).
Nuclear power generated in nuclear power plants
is a lot more iffy. It does not produce greenhouse
gasses, which is good, but it does produce
radioactive waste. There are ways to dispose of
radioactive waste that as far as we know are clean
and safe if all goes as planned, but whether all
will go as planned is a question of debate (mostly
political, but there are scientific arguments as
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