Our state needs new sources of electricity, and we have several options; a coal-burning power plant, a natural gas power plant, or a nuclear plant. Assuming that we all live down the road from this proposed plant site that is going to be built, we should weigh the positive and negative impacts with each option. Regardless of the choice, our society relies on relatively cheap, accessible energy to function smoothly.
Coal can be used in many different ways, however there are some pros and cons of coal power plants. The top three pros of a power plant is that coal has been around forever, they have large reserves, and they can run for hours without any problems. Coal can be a reliable source because it has been around for ages. Coal is used all around the world and is a big factor in creating steel and cement. Coal power plants are our main way of getting electricity. Coal is the most affordable out of the other power plants because there is an abundant resource of it. It can be found in over 70 countries and the US being the biggest reserve (Wolfson). Furthermore, coal power plants can run 24/7 without any problems. They only need to be shut down when it comes to maintenance. With that said, there are also several downsides to coal. The top three cons of coal power plants is that they produce a large number of chemicals, coal mining deaths have occurred and coal can leave a ton of waste. Coal power plants produce a large number of chemicals into the air. It has been found that children who have lived near a nuclear power plant have suffered many health issues. One nuclear power plant was shut down in China to help children’s molecular and neurodevelopmental. Continuing to use coal power plants may further damage our environment and our selves (Tang D). When it comes to mining, pit mines are destroying the ground. Many coalmine fires have occurred; it’s a very unsafe job. Who would want there loved one working under ground with their life in danger every time they go to work? Last but not least, coal can leave a lot of waste behind. Right in our own soil toxic metals and other chemicals are being leaked. The air we breathe is also being affected. Carbon Dioxide is being released into the air we breathe and causing global warming changes.
Natural gas has been said to be the solution to our energy problems. Natural gas is the most obvious choice for the best energy source, but like coal there are many pros and cons of natural gas use. The top three pros of a natural gas power plant is that they are inexpensive to run, we have an abundant supply of it, and it does not pollute our Earth. Natural gas is very in expensive to run because it runs efficiently. Utilities all around the world and even in our home run on natural gas. It burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel! We also have an abundant supply of natural gas because it produces half of our heat. There are tons of barrels of natural gas reserves all over the U.S. that have not been harvested. Last but not least, natural gas power plants produce not nearly enough carbon dioxide like other power plants so therefore if we build a natural gas power plant we won’t be polluting our selves. The top three cons of natural gas is that it can be highly flammable, it produces greenhouse emissions, and that it can could help aid in terrorism. Natural gas can be highly flammable because natural gas can leak out and cause fires or explosions, if not handled carefully. If that were to happen, natural gas is colorless, tasteless and odorless and cannot be detected by smell so that could be really dangerous. Natural gas also emits greenhouse gas emissions. While I did say earlier that natural gas power plants do not produce nearly enough chemicals like other power plants I meant that in a way if everything runs smoothly at the plant. There is a slight chance that Methane could leak out and you have to take caution with that. You have to remember that a leak can happen anywhere at anytime and that you need to stay cautious at all times. Last but not least, natural gas can face terrorism because it is being drilled in some of the most dictatorship countries where people live in violence. This is an ever-growing problem that the world is facing today.
As of today, nuclear energy is considered one of the most environmentally friendly sources of energy as it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to a coal or natural gas power plant. The top three pros of a nuclear power plant are that they produce low pollution, it costs little to operate, and nuclear power plants are reliable. Nuclear energy is good because it has the least effect on our environment because it doesn’t pollute any gasses like methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor into the air. Secondly, compared to other sources of energy, nuclear is least expensive. Nuclear power plants use uranium, which is very cheap. Another reason why it costs little to run a nuclear power plant is because nuclear reactors can last anywhere from 40-60 years with very little maintenance. Finally, nuclear power plants are reliable because they supply large power to cities and towns all over the country. It can cost 2 billion or a little more to run a nuclear power plant, which is cheap (Wolfson). The top three cons of a nuclear power plant is that they can impact the environment big time, can be very expensive to build, and the possibility of accidents that can occur within a nuclear power plant is high. The biggest impact nuclear power plants have is that they impact the environment with uranium. The process of mining and refining uranium is not a clean process, and even transporting nuclear fuel to and from plants creates a pollution hazard. Also, once the fuel is used, you can’t simply take it to the landfill because it’s radioactive and dangerous. A nuclear power plant creates tons of nuclear fuel per year, and with that comes a lot of nuclear waste. Just think about all the nuclear plants on earth. Nuclear power plants can be very expensive to build because they require a large infrastructure. It requires a lot of investment because it is a huge power resource to people all over the world. Last but not least, many accidents at nuclear power plants have occurred. The most major accident of all times was the Chernobyl accident that occurred in 1986. This accident was one of the worst nuclear accidents in history. A reactor was operated wrongly causing sections of the plant to rupture and leak. There are many others accidents like the Fukushima accident, caused by an earthquake in Japan and the Three Mile Island accident.
So what type of power plant do you want near your home? I would go with a natural gas power plant because coal and nuclear emit bad chemicals into the air and we don’t want that if this plant is going to be near our homes. Natural gas is going to have the least impact on our environment and is also going to be the cheapest as we have an abundant supply of it. While there are many negatives to a natural gas power plant there are many positives to look at. Who’s with me for approval of a natural gas power plant?