With hydropower making up approximately 60% of our energy generated, it is the prime producer for our power grids. Hydropower has been the highest share of energy production for over a century, and the future for it looks bright. However, have we as a country been ignoring a more powerful option? Is there a way to produce more energy more efficiently?
Enter nuclear, a sustainable environmentally friendly, energy source. It uses fission to generate a massive amount of energy without the use of fossil fuels. It also has the highest capacity factor of any other practical energy source. This means that nuclear energy is able to run at maximum efficiency, the most amount of time. Furthermore, nuclear energy has an extremely small land footprint, with it generating nearly 75 times more energy per km than solar panel farms. Despite this, nuclear energy only generates 15% of energy in Canada, why?
One huge factor in the lack of nuclear reactors is simply the fear factor. With disasters such as Chernobyl being highly publicized, a large amount of the population is against the building of plants. This caused various politicians around the world to scale back on nuclear operations in general. However, this fear is wrongfully placed, plants have become very safe. Nuclear power plants have a lower rate of accidents than fossil fuel-based plants. Moreover, while nuclear power plants are able to operate at a low cost, with little to no maintenance being required, the cost to construct one is high, The average 5500 kilowatts per hour plant costs 6 to 9 billion USD to construct. The high price of initial investments is the main reason why we as a country and the collective world have not switched to nuclear.
While hydropower is extremely clean and powerful, we as a country should try to lower the costs of nuclear energy. This energy source is too lucrative, and powerful to simply ignore and I personally hope that the future for it becomes brighter.