A growing concern for climate change and sustainable use of natural resources has led to the adoption of alternative forms of energy.
A growing concern for climate change and sustainable use of natural resources has led to the adoption of alternative forms of energy. Nuclear power is considered a panacea for the environmental degradation caused by fossil fuels. However, its environmental impact and natural resource use need to be assessed. Now, researchers from Ritsumeikan University in Japan have addressed this issue, revealing interesting findings in their assessment of resource use for nuclear power generation.
In a constantly evolving world, rapidly growing populations coupled with urbanization and industrialization are leading to an ever-increasing demand for energy. The challenge today lies in meeting these energy requirements while keeping global warming in check—a condition which fossil fuels do not fulfil. In an effort to mitigate the environmental degradation and natural resource depletion linked to the usage of fossil fuels, nuclear power is being promoted as an alternative source of energy.
Conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA) of any energy source is important to understand how it affects the environment. A lot of studies have, therefore, assessed the life cycle cumulative energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to electricity generated via nuclear power. However, most of these studies looked at the GHG emissions and the amount of energy consumed, which might lead to a less comprehensive assessment of the environmental impact and sustainability of electricity generated via nuclear power. For example, we are yet to understand the total resources used during this process.
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Image: Assessing the Environmental Impact of Nuclear Power Generation (Credit: Ritsumeikan University)