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"Should Europe rely more on nuclear energy?" - Structure for speeches preparation

In a society based on consumption, diminishing resources is a sine qua non component. Therefore, for a society to evolve, we test the existence of viable options that allow not only maintenance but also the evolution of life in society. 

Government

1. Introduction (definitions, philosophy: why this issue is taken into account).

In a society based on consumption, diminishing resources is a sine qua non component. Therefore, for a society to evolve, we test the existence of viable options that allow not only maintenance but also the evolution of life in society. Nuclear energy is a clean energy option forEuropeand for the entire planet, not polluting and that has huge reserves that would protect the Earth's non-renewable energy resources.

Signing of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952 and the Euratom Treaty in 1957 showed that the founding Member States saw the need for a common approach in the field of energy. Currently, nuclear power accounts for about 30% of total electricity supplied inEurope. The largest nuclear power generating capacity is in the following countries:France(63 GW),Russia(22 GW),Germany(20 GW),Ukraine(13 GW),UK(12 GW) andSweden(9 GW ).

What is nuclear energy?
Merger process is the basis to obtain nuclear energy. This process consists of absorption of a neutron by an atomic nucleus as large as that of uranium, which will become unstable. It will break into several fragments, with high heat release, which strongly accelerates fragments, which reach very high speeds. Due to their large velocity, the fragments from fission can enter in turn into other atoms, which cause another fission.

2. Argumentation:

Argument 1:  phrasing (1 or 2 sentences), support (development of the topic), support details (facts, statistics).

Nuclear energy has many advantages. It is economic: a ton of uranium-235 produces more energy than 12 million barrels of oil, a grain of uranium-238 can produce the same heat as that produced from burning 2.7 tons of coal or 1.9 tons of oil; nuclear energy is clean and does not pollute the atmosphere while using very little, it does not result in greenhouse gas emissions, thus contributing very little to global warming.

On one hand, nuclear power is economic. A report entitled "The role of nuclear energy in Europe", conducted by the European Regional Group of the World Energy Council in 2005 notes that there are sound economic reasons to support the development of nuclear energy in Europe. For existing plants, economics behind nuclear energy seems very attractive, considering that planned expansion of the life, increase in capacity and license renewals can further reduce related costs.
The final cost of kWh depends on local laws and taxes, which impact the discount rate, because nuclear plants are very strong in terms of capital.

Assuming we have a stable political environment, a clear regulatory framework and other aspects, in this situation costs may reach 40 € / MWh. However, in certain circumstances, they can be much lower, around 30 € / MWh for low discount rate and / or large-scale effects, or higher, up to 55 € / MWh for a single unit and a high rate of discount.
These estimates also include future expenses, such as decommissioning and waste removal. The uncertainty of these figures does not have a significant effect on the total cost of kWh.

Argument 2:  phrasing (1 or 2 sentences), support (development of the topic), support details (facts, statistics).

Nuclear power may have advantages in terms of natural environment. If carbon dioxide emissions would be penalized, nuclear would be a competitive alternative. Since nuclear power generation produces no emissions and no greenhouse gases, the key sources of global climate change and air pollution, it would help remove concerns about the environment.

In March 2006 the EU published a Green Paper on "European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy" (developed by the European Community, 03.08.2006), which emphasized that Europe can not register any significant impact on reducing carbon dioxide emissions without relying on nuclear energy. Despite the benefits, uncertainties remain regarding the question of whether nuclear energy can play an important role in meeting global energy demands in the next few decades. Clearly, nuclear power remains controversial and highly politicized business if not resolve concerns about the nuclear industry. One of the main concerns is the management and disposal of used nuclear fuel.

The total amount of nuclear fuel currently produced globally each year is approximately 12,000 tones. Thus, compared with the 25 billion tons of greenhouse gases
(GHG) emitted into the atmosphere annually from fossil fuels, nuclear amount of waste is relatively small. If reprocessed fuel would be used, this figure would be much smaller, about 4% of
original fission products would be buried and the remaining 96% of uranium and plutonium used would be recycled and reused.

3. Summary (present the results and advantages of the Action plan).

Therefore, in a European company subject to globalization, its current needs are growing every day, as well as energy its needs. In this context, nuclear energy is a solution forEurope. By 2050, world population is expected to grow to about 9 billion people. Undoubtedly, global energy consumption will increase greatly, there are forecasts that it will double, and reaching la20 Gtoe / year, while in the same period, and electricity demand will triple. Faced with such massive demand, nations are forced to seek new effective ways of technical and economical ways to meet the predicted demand.

Decisive forces that will shape the future use of nuclear energy:
- Economy: There are sound economic reasons to support the development of nuclear energy in Europe
- Environment: lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced amounts of waste compared to conventional resources.

Europe (without Russia) currently imports 50% of energy used and it is expected that this figure will grow to about 70% by 2030. How is Europepreparing for this? Policy makers in Europe and the energy sector currently face three major challenges:
-Ensuring security of energy supply,
-Stabilization or reduction greenhouse gas emissions and
-Maintaining economic competitiveness by keeping prices at an acceptable level

All these challenges can find their answer in the widespread use of nuclear energy, minimizing the risks involved in both human society and for other species of fauna and flora, and not least of all the earth as home for all living.

Opposition

1. Introduction (phrasing of the disagreement with the philosophy of the government: what should be discussed and why)

Use of nuclear energy has always been a controversial topic. Besides the fear of accidents such as those of Three Mile Island in the United States and from Chernobyl in Ukraine, there is a new source of anxiety. Thus, environmental groups fear that nuclear plants could become targets of terrorist attacks.

Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General said, referring to theChernobylexplosion: At least 3 million children inBelarus,UkraineandRussianow require medical treatment. Only in 2016 at the earliest, we will know with accuracy the actual number of persons whose health was affected. Not to mention the traumatic experiences of the more than 400,000 people forced to abandon homes. But how many know that in theUKof 2004 a total of 382 farms with over 226 000 sheep and more than 80,000 hectares were subject to restriction orders? This means that lambs raised on pasture contaminated before being slaughtered had to be transferred on clean pasture for several months until the concentration of radioactive cesium from meat intended for human consumption is within legal limits. And this happens in theUK, 19 years after the accident that is 2,500 km from the disaster! Moreover, reactor 4 atChernobylhas produced electricity only for 2 years, 4 months and 4 days. Here is an example of the disaster produced by use of nuclear energy.

Nuclear power is a dangerous source of energy and radioactive waste will be stored for long periods of time; there is always a risk of radiation contamination through accidents or sabotage and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, the slow pace in which nuclear power plants were built in recent year’s show that nuclear reactors can not be developed fast enough to mitigate climate change.

2. Argumentation:

Counterargument 1 (phrasing)

Nuclear energy is actually one of the most expensive types of energy. At present, construction of nuclear power costs between 5000-8000 USD / kW, while the wind, for example, costs only 1,500 USD / kW. If we consider a productivity of about 3 times lower for wind energy (because the wind does not blow all the time), we arrive at a lower cost than for nuclear energy. Obviously, these construction costs are added in case of nuclear energy and fuel costs (extraction and processing or purchase from other countries), building storage places for low and intermediate radioactive waste disposal, closure and decommissioning of nuclear power plant after 20-30 years of operation, etc.. All these expenses are not needed in renewable energy field.

Greenpeace: "We can add the example of nuclear reactor that is being built in Finland at Olkiluoto, and the related costs are already up to 5.5 billion euros- although the amounts were much lower initially provided, and whose execution time has been postponed several times (now the term being extended by two years) ".

Counterargument 2 (phrasing)

Nuclear energy is not green and does not help protect the environment. An apparent advantage of nuclear energy is that it does not result in CO2 emissions, such as fossil fuels, which through combustion produce such emissions that are contributing to global warming.

Pollution or radioactive contamination means unwanted or accidental radioactive material, inside or on the surface of environmental factors (such as water, air, food) or in situations in which living organisms beyond their natural radioactive content the product. One of the main sources of radioactive pollution has its origin in nuclear explosions in the atmosphere. Recent studies have shown that due to all causes of radioactive pollution, radiation dose per capita increased in the last 20 years 5 to 10 times. Prolonged irradiation, even small doses can cause the birth defects, while high-dose radiation leads to increased leukemia, internal bleeding, hair loss, infertility and in extreme cases produces complete death.

Counterargument 3 (phrasing)

Nuclear waste resulting from a nuclear power plant operation is not stored in conditions of maximum security. While trying to find a nuclear waste storage solutions for over 50 years, at present no country in the world has such technology. So far people have tried various alloys and methods of storage, but all of them proved ineffective. It is a very serious problem, considering the fact that uranium (the fuel used to produce nuclear energy rule) is a highly radioactive element, and storage methods will be guaranteed for periods of thousands of years. Over time, some have tried to 'solve' this problem by throwing the waste into the oceans, contaminating water and marine creatures. And it does not stop here, some species being caught and sold for consumption".

 

Own argument 1: (1 or 2 sentences), support (development of the topic), support details (facts, statistics).

Nuclear energy cannot be seen as a solution for the future of Europe.
Nuclear power is very dangerous and raises many issues that affect both the environment, and human health. There is some green energy, renewable energy of several types: wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, etc. "These types of energy are used increasingly in recent years because it does not affect the environment or human health. Technologies have developed very rapidly in this area and therefore renewable energy is already cheaper than other types of energy such as that produced by nuclear or fossil fuels. Another advantage of renewable energy is that there is no need for additional fuel costs, as it exists in nature in unlimited quantities ".

Own argument 2: (1 or 2 sentences), support (development of the topic), support details (facts, statistics).

Nuclear power is no solution to global warming. If by 2030 production capacity in nuclear power would double (that would build more than 400 reactors), dependence on fossil fuels would be reduced only by 6%, which is insufficient to have an impact on global warming. Construction of the 400 reactors in the next 20 years is unlikely to happen, given the fact that nearly three years has not been put into service any nuclear reactor, but there were closed down three such reactors. And if this still can succeed, what should we do with so much radioactive waste? - Greenpeace

Week sides/disadvantages of the Plan (can be presented not in bullet format but in general).

At European level and globally as well, there are a series of global political and economic considerations that focus on the idea of a need of nuclear power development and use of nuclear energy.
The nuclear industry is in danger worldwide, under the pressure of natural and nuclear disaster inJapan.Germany decided to close all its nuclear plants in coming years,Japan is under pressure to pass the "Green Energy”Italy said "no" to development of energy sector, the Americans have problems with radioactive leaks in at least 60% of its plants.

Research is moving towards the discovery of new alternative energy sources which are inexhaustible. Many countries are so interested in not only finding new sources of energy but also in the benefits it would bring conserving the existing ones. Saving possibilities list is long: insulation, use of smaller cars with more efficient and profitable industries and recycling of metallic waste and elimination of unnecessary consumption.

 

Summary (in general provide the strong points of the opposition plan)

Nuclear energy will play havoc with our planet, and this will endanger health and safety of human society as well as of natural ecosystems.
Here are some reasons whyEurope, not only should not base its future on nuclear energy: 

-          It is one of the most expensive types of energy

-          Is not green and it does not help protect the environment, it is not a solution to global warming

-          Nuclear waste resulting from a nuclear power plant operation are not stored in conditions of maximum security, nuclear energy is very dangerous and raises many issues that affect both the environment, and human health

And still, there is clean energy as well, renewable energy, of several types: wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass, etc. However, if we add to all these the possibility and the desire to conserve existing energy resources we reach a state of sustainable development, without the risks of nuclear energy or pollution caused by fossil fuels.

 

Vlad Adrian,

semi-finalist of "Business and Energy Saving" Debate Tournament, (Romania)

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