Hydroelectric vs Nuclear Power

Hydroelectric vs Nuclear Power
Together nuclear power plants and hydroelectric dams provide about 50% of the power generated for the United States doing so in a clean and efficient manner. Both systems have their ups and down, radiation and disrupting ecosystems for example, but their benefits far outweigh the small risks and problems they create. We have progressed in leaps and bounds in power development making these two much safer and efficient than most other ways to generate electricity.
Hydroelectric dams create a substantial amount of efficient clean power using a renewable resource. Because water is used to generate the power there are no emissions of greenhouse gases to pollute the environment. Running out of water is also not a problem seeing as we would have much bigger problems on our hands if such a thing happened. Dams also do good for the community as well, creating recreational areas, providing a tourist attraction, and controlling flooding. Hydroelectric dams are also not very complex often going years without needing repairs, and if they do the parts are all simple and can be replaced at low cost and quickly. There are so many positives to the dams that it is very easy to look overt the small amount of negative effects they have on us.

Though hydroelectric dams have many positive effects on society there are some problems that come with it as well. Tough hydroelectric dams seem to be environmentally friendly, they can gravely damage a fragile ecosystem killing off certain types of fish that in turn effect everything else in the area. Creating a dam can also mean flooding hundreds of square miles of valley and scenic areas forcing animals and plants to either die or move. Plant decay caused downstream can also produce as many greenhouse gases as some other ways of generating electricity though not all. Even with their simple design dams have a very high initial cost but also create many jobs in the process. There are consequences with almost every way to generate power but hydroelectricity problems can mostly be balanced or even shadowed by the good they create just as other sources such as nuclear power have.

Nuclear power is, to many people, seen as unsafe and unstable much attributed to the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl plant failures, Chernobyl actually having a meltdown releasing radiation into the atmosphere. What people fail to realize is that nuclear power is the cheapest and one of the cleanest ways of producing power. Nuclear plants create no greenhouse gases to pollute the atmosphere and are very reliable, not depending on solar cycle or rainfall to produce energy. Nuclear waste is also an issue most people bring up but in our advances in technology we now have proven and effective ways to dispose of the waste. With the amount of uranium we have on the planet and the amount used to create power we have virtually an unlimited supply of fuel. Though not abundant, as with most power generation processes there are adverse effects with creating nuclear power.

Though the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island plant disasters were blamed mostly on human error rather than equipment malfunction there is always danger when dealing with radioactive material. If a plant does have a meltdown it can be extremely dangerous causing extreme health problems and death due to the radiation. Most plants now a day, because of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl have implemented more safety features and use these events as examples. Plants are also expensive to build and can take up to 5 years to complete, but the high cost is offset by the very low cost of fuel. Though there are a few cons much of nuclear powers bad rep comes from uneducated and uninformed people not realizing how clean and efficient they are.

When looking at the pros and cons of both hydroelectric power and nuclear power we realize they both are excellent, effective, relatively cheap and clean ways of generating power. Though they do have their cons such as environmental impact and cost, their good qualities greatly offset the bad. I believe they are very equal and together are much more efficient and generate much more power when compared to other ways of generating electricity. Without using fossil fuels and coal hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants are a tremendous step foreword toward a cleaner or efficient world.

Hydroelectric vs Nuclear Power 8.7 of 10 on the basis of 3226 Review.