The world is very focused on energy types today. With global warming, fossil fuel consumption, and the costs of utilities weighing heavily on the minds of many, nuclear energy for many seems to be a light in the darkness. Nuclear fusion creates energy when an atomic atom is created. This type of energy has certain advantages that make it useful, but certain disadvantages that can make it dangerous. Do you support nuclear fusion? Here are some of the key points to consider when forming your opinion on the matter.
The Advantages of Nuclear Fusion
1. Nuclear fusion doesn’t create harmful waste.
Nuclear fission creates nuclear waste that must be stored properly to keep people safe. This shouldn’t be confused with nuclear fusion, which only has the creation of helium as a byproduct. Helium is non-toxic, safe, and won’t create the same environmental damage that the burning of fossil fuels creates.
2. There is an infinite amount of fuel for nuclear fusion.
The main ingredient of nuclear fusion, which is deuterium, is distilled from ocean water. Every other component of the process is either easily found or easily made. The end result is an infinite amount of fuel that can be used to create energy resources for the entire planet.
3. It is incredibly inexpensive to create.
The estimated cost of providing energy through nuclear fusion is just $0.03 per kilowatt hour. This makes it one of the cheapest forms of energy that humans have ever discovered.
4. It is a low risk form of energy.
If you’re using nuclear fission, then you’re splitting atoms and that creates the chance of a dangerous chain reaction occurring. Constant exposure to fossil fuels and the energy products made from them can also have a negative impact on personal health. Not only is nuclear fusion easy to control, it’s much safer than almost any other major form of energy creation that is used in the world today.
5. Global warming can still be negated without energy loss.
Helium is not one of the greenhouse gases that are believed to be contributing to changing weather cycles. This means the planet can continue to heal and we don’t have to sacrifice energy levels to make that happen.
The Disadvantages of Nuclear Fusion
1. It requires almost as much energy to create nuclear fusion as the energy it creates.
To fuse two atoms together, high levels of heat are required. In order to create this heat, a large energy investment must be made. This means the reaction from nuclear fusion produces just barely more than is required to make it, so with our current technology, it is not really a plausible energy creation method.
2. Creating the infrastructure for nuclear fusion is expensive.
It may only cost $0.03 per kilowatt hour to create energy from nuclear fusion, but that doesn’t take into account the construction costs necessary to create the utility infrastructure that would be required. The investment necessary would be in the trillions of dollars if looked at on a global scale, which means most economies wouldn’t be able to afford the investment.
3. There may be unanticipated consequences to using nuclear fusion.
The fact is that we don’t really know much about this form of energy creation. What would happen to the planet in 50 years with an increased level of helium in the atmosphere? Are there health dangers that we simply do not know yet and cannot predict?
4. This industry still requires innovation.
The high levels of heat that are required to create nuclear fusion mean that we need materials available that can withstand those temperatures to create energy. With our current technology, we have no knowledge of a specific material that can withstand the heat necessary to create fusion.
5. Heat can be just as deadly as radiation.
Although there may be less of a fallout risk and other environmental risks may also be reduced, high heat levels are just as deadly as anything else. Nuclear fusion just changes what risks we must take on in order to have the energy levels we want.
These nuclear fusion advantages and disadvantages show that there is a lot of potential value in this idea. They also show that we’d need to take on several risks to turn this technology into a reality. Is this the future of energy creation for the world? We’ll need more time to understand this technology before that question can be answered in an honest way.