Energy constitutes an important resource which is tapped and utilized in a variety of ways. Energy can be taken from hydropower, nuclear or fossil fuels. Both of these provide reliable sources but remain subject to various costs. The costs can be attributable to the environment, economics or associated with creating danger to health of living creatures through accidents or emissions of harmful materials. The source of energy should embrace security and safety of the environment, and cost effectiveness when tapping and manipulating.
The use of hydropower for the production of energy is a reliable and appropriate source of energy (Falk, 1982). Hydropower produces little carbon emissions to the environment and presents relatively low complications regarding dangers that gravitate around safety. The initial costs of installation are high but once installed, little costs are incurred for maintenance. It makes use of water, which is readily available on the surface, and thereby there is no exploitation of the environment or depletion of resources. This is unlike nuclear energy where some resources or minerals must be mined to be used for production of energy. As in the case of fossil fuels, there is extraction of wood in order to produce energy.
Fossil energy comprises burning of wood material for the production of energy. Burning of the resources causes emission of carbon material, which contributes towards pollution of the environment. The depletion goes against the objective of conserving the environment and having a safer place to live for the present and future generations. It is also a challenge to transport the energy from areas that are endowed with the resources to those that are not. This means that it is not a reliable and appropriate source of energy.
Nuclear energy is another reliable source for energy production. It entails the extraction of minerals transported to the processing plants where they are burnt to produce energy. This is a long and expensive process. The initial capital costs for the setting up of the plant are high. The extraction of minerals and their transportation also present enormous challenges. The costs of decommissioning the plant are also high and tedious. It takes quite a long time to decommission. This makes the adoption of such a means an expensive affair that calls for alternative sources of energy production.
The use of nuclear energy has also many shortcomings. The disposal of refuse after fission is a huge challenge. The waste from the materials takes long time to dispose as it emits radioactive emissions. These emissions must be contained as they pose a health hazard upon humans. Exposure to frequent rays from the waste is said to cause genetic mutations and other health hazards including cancer. Consequently, it complicates the adoption of nuclear energy as an appropriate source of energy provision.
There are also matters regarding the safety in the plant (Walker, 2004). There have been accidents caused by flaws in the safety setup and inappropriate designs in the plant. The notable ones are the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (2001) and the Chernobyl disaster (1986). This can partly be due to the complexity of the plant and the magnitude of the scheme. Since such plants do not guarantee safety, it is considered that this source is not a suitable one as compared to other sources like hydropower.
Nuclear proliferation and the chances or the risk of the use of nuclear material for wrong intentions remains ripe. The present tension regarding Iran’s nuclear program is a case in point. Terrorists or enemy nations can use nuclear materials to manufacture weapons which can cause huge losses of lives and property. This is unlike other sources like hydropower and fossils, which cannot be manipulated and be used for such a wrongful act. From the foregoing, all these present sources of energy despite the shortcomings provide the basis upon which an analysis on their suitability can be assessed. The use of hydropower presents the least negative effects and should be encouraged where conditions are favourable.
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