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What is the environmental impact of nuclear energy?
Weegy: The environmental impact of nuclear power results from the nuclear fuel cycle, operation, [ and the effects of nuclear accidents. The routine health risks and greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear fission power are small relative to those associated with coal, but there are "catastrophic risks":[1] the possibility of over-heated fuel releasing massive quantities of fission products to the environment, and nuclear weapons proliferation. The public is sensitive to these risks and there has been considerable public opposition to nuclear power. The 1979 Three Mile Island accident and 1986 Chernobyl disaster, along with high construction costs, ended the rapid growth of global nuclear power capacity.[1] In March 2011 an earthquake and tsunami caused damage that led to explosions and partial meltdowns at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. Concerns about the possibility of a large scale radiation leak resulted in 20 km exclusion zone being set up around the power plant and people within the 20–30 km zone being advised to stay indoors. John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK's National Nuclear Corporation, has said that it "might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant". ] (More)
Question
Expert Answered
Updated 6/18/2012 1:07:35 PM
1 Answer/Comment
Nuclear power plants are a large part of our power grid here in the United States. Nuclear power is an excellent resource, but like every form of energy, environmental impacts must be considered.

Construction
The construction of nuclear power plants can cause pollution. Deforestation and CO2 from construction machines can contribute to global warming.

Water
In order to run properly, a nuclear power plant must operate near a large body of water, like a lake. That water is often contaminated, affecting the surrounding animal life and potential for human usage.

Waste Disposal Issue
When uranium has completed the fission process, nuclear waste is formed that takes thousands of years to disappear. That waste needs to be stored somewhere that won't harm the environment.

Radiation Danger
Each nuclear power plant has the possibility of meltdown. If a nuclear disaster does occur, radioactive particles could be released into the air, potentially harming all living things.

Benefits
Plants produce no CO2 into the atmosphere, creating a clean air power generator.

Read more: Environmental Effects of Nuclear Power Plants | eHow.com
Added 6/18/2012 1:07:38 PM
why is nuclear energy renewable?
Question
Expert Answered
Updated 6/18/2012 1:16:26 PM
1 Answer/Comment
Although nuclear power is considered a low carbon power generation source, its legal inclusion with renewable energy power sources has been the subject of debate. Statutory and scientific definitions of renewable energies usually exclude nuclear energy. Commonly sourced definitions of renewable energy sources often omit or explicitly exclude nuclear energy sources as examples.
Added 6/18/2012 1:16:28 PM
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