Nuclear Power : Is it a friend or foe?

Jeff Loats teaching about Nuclear Power at Metropolitan State University. Photo By: Madeline Gregory.


What is the word “nuclear” thought of as? For many, it is “deadly weapons”. To some, their first thought may be “danger”. Few people realize how particularly harmless nuclear power is and it may be harmful to continue to have that fear.


Understanding the process of nuclear power can eliminate the mislead opinions of the population. Fission, the process of splitting atoms, is the first step of nuclear power creation. When a neutron crashes into a uranium atom, it will break apart into two atoms and release many additional neutrons, creating other reactions. This process then is contained into heat then channeled into steam. The steam turns turbines, which then creates power. Nuclear power may seem complicated, but it is worth it to save people, energy, and the planet!


Deaths from power plants are unavoidable, but by choosing to use nuclear power, lives are saved. Most people are unaware of the number of deaths from nuclear power compared to coal or other power processes. It may look like a lot at the nuclear accidents, but overall, the number of deaths to amount of energy is far less than other power sources. From most power sources, global warming is gaining strength. However, nuclear power has almost no effect. The climate change alone will affect many and even kill some, making death more common throughout other power sources, making nuclear power an even better option for many. Jeff Loats Ph.D., Nuclear Physicist and Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at Metropolitan State University, believes “if we want to fix damage we’ve done, we should involve nuclear.” Along with other benefits, the amount of energy created takes a far less amount of mass than other processes, making it better for people and the environment. So why are people still afraid to use nuclear?


The definition of nuclear energy is “the energy released during nuclear fission.” It is less harmful than coal, yet people are still fearful to use nuclear energy. For most, the word “nuclear” is associated with “nuclear weapons”, making people weary to trust. Loats mentioned that the fear of nuclear “has the same sense of phobia or some kind of unrealistic fear.” That fear is preventing people to improve our future and create a safer and more efficient energy source. By expanding the knowledge and eliminating the fear of nuclear power, people can open their minds and help all people.


People need not only to focus on the present, but also the future. Our fossil fuel supply will run out eventually. If, as a human population, people are able to include nuclear power in the future, the world may be safer, more efficient, and a better place for everyone!