Harnessing Nuclear Energy as an Alternative Source of Energy: Truth or myth?

Main takeaways:

  • Nuclear energy has both positive and negative aspects pertaining to it. Whereas it is deemed to be a much cleaner source of energy than fossil fuels and it encompasses many positive attributes; at the same time, it tends to be deemed as rather unsafe and some say it is questionable whether it actually is green and sustainable; and,
  • With a four-person panel consisting of two people who were in favour, one being neutral and one being against, it was concluded that nuclear energy is indeed deemed to be an alternative source of clean energy in spite of its already-mentioned pitfalls. It presents itself to be a far greater alternative to fossil fuels.

On 4th October 2022, YPFP Brussels welcomed four panelists; Carla Galea, Diego Marin, Andrei Goicea and Guilherme Cardoso to discuss whether or not Nuclear Energy is deemed to be an alternative source of clean energy. Carla presented a neutral point of view, Diego formed part of the front against this use of energy whereas Andrei and Guilherme were very much in favour of the use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear Energy has played a very important role in generating electricity over the years. It has been used as a source of energy since the 50s. This source of energy has grown substantially, so much so that there are now 440 nuclear power reactors within the world, contributing to circa. 10% of the planet’s electricity. Nonetheless, Nuclear Energy in itself has been a rather contentious issue because of the negative aspects attributable to it and also due to the fact that other sources of energy, namely solar and wind, are perceived to be cleaner and also greener. As a matter of fact, this is precisely what the main bone of contention of the panel discussion was, where there was a healthy exchange of opinions amongst the panelists, which led to the final deduction that Nuclear Energy is indeed a good alternative source of energy when compared to the use of fossil fuels, in spite of its pitfalls. However, the panelists chose to close this discussion by arguing that there are other sources of energy which are far better alternatives than nuclear energy itself.

Written by Petra Grech, Deputy Director, Programmes Team, YPFP Brussels