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Environmental Issues: Nuclear Energy & Nuclear Waste

Nuclear energy is a controversial topic. Proponents call it the most viable, currently available resource for meeting the world’s growing energy needs, while protagonists say that the by-product of nuclear energy—nuclear waste—has created one of the greatest problems of the 20th century. Learn about the environmental and political issues surrounding nuclear energy and nuclear waste, and what’s being done to address them.

Should We Stop Using Nuclear Power?
Should we stop using nuclear power? Germany made that decision in 2011. Other nations may follow. Do the benefits of nuclear power outweigh the risks? What do you think? Should we stop using nuclear power or build even more nuclear reactors?

Germany to Stop Using Nuclear Energy
Germany plans to shut down all of its nuclear reactors by 2022, ending its reliance on nuclear energy in favor of safer renewable energy from wind, solar and hydroelectric power.

How Safe and Secure are U.S. Nuclear Reactors?
Nuclear safety and security became issues of prime concern after a major earthquake and tsunami in Japan damaged nuclear reactors, causing a crisis as radiation began to leak into the atmosphere, and raising questions about U.S. nuclear safety and nuclear security.

Radiation Safety: Is Radiation Ever Really Safe?
Radiation safety is a controversial subject. Government and nuclear industry officials talk about "safe" levels of radiation that have no apparent health risks, but doctors who are radiation exposure experts say that radiation is never really safe.

EPA Poised to Regulate Nuclear Waste Disposal for a Million Years
The U.S. government may have a long reach, but trying to regulate nuclear waste disposal for 1 million years is a stretch even for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But that is what the EPA is trying to do, following a court decision that said a regulatory plan for 10,000 years wasn't long enough to deal with the toxic effects of nuclear waste.

Hanford Cleanup Still Has a Long Way To Go
Although some progress is being made, particularly groundwater cleanup in certain areas, some regulators and activists fear that the government is making the Hanford cleanup a low priority and spending too little money to get the job done.

How Nuclear Power Works
An illustrated, easy-to-understand guide to the ins and outs of nuclear power generation.

Sierra Club: Nuclear Waste Task Force
The amount of nuclear waste is growing at an alarming rate, and no country in the world has developed a plan for permanently isolating and disposing of it. As a result, the Sierra Club has declared nuclear waste one of the world's most serious environmental issues, and has formed a task force to work on the problem.

Nuclear Waste: Yucca Mountain and EPA Standards
Yucca Mountain in Nevada is the U.S. Department of Energy's proposed storage and disposal site for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Learn more about the Yucca Mountain project and specific standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Nuclear Weapons and Waste
The National Resources Defense Council plays an important role in the formation of U.S. nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, energy, and environmental policies. Its stated goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate "unacceptable risks to people and the environment from the exploitation of nuclear energy for both military and peaceful purposes."

Moon Suggested as Nuclear Waste Repository
In some quarters, the search for an acceptable site for nuclear waste storage and disposal has turned skyward: to the moon. Critics of the plan say it is impractical because of the expense and the difficulty of depositing radioactive material on the lunar surface without making the moon permanently off-limits for human exploration.

What is the Chernobyl Forum?
Many reports about the ongoing, long-term environmental and health effects from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 reference the work of the Chernobyl Forum. But what is the Chernobyl Forum, when and why was the Chernobyl Forum established, and who are the members of the Chernobyl Forum?

Germany Approves Plan to Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2022
Following the nuclear crisis in Japan, Germany's parliament made the historic decision to end the nation's use of nuclear power and to phase out all of its nuclear reactors by 2022.

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