Disadvantages of traditional energy systems
At present, the disadvantages of traditional energy systems, especially fossil fuels, are exposed by abusing in transportation and industry. Residents have to face the lack of fossil fuels and environmental pollution. These problems caused scientists searching for an alternative energy urgently, which is defined by New Alternative Fund (2004) as to be better than fossil fuels in conservation of environment and natural resource. Likewise, alternative energy contributes to the sustainable development tremendously. Currently, nuclear energy and solar energy have been applied masterly in electrical engineering due to their accessibility, possibility and efficiency. However, some technical disadvantages still exist, leading administrators to deliberate before making the choice. Commonly, two similarities, the origin of the energy and the effect to the environment, and two differences, the efficiency and safety, are occurred simultaneously, which are reference materials for governments.
The most significant similarity between nuclear and solar energy is that the origin source of them energy are the same. In other words, both nuclear energy and solar energy come from nuclear reaction, which would release a large amount of energy. According to Encarta (2005), the energy came from nuclear power station originates from the nuclear fission, which releases energy when the uranium is aroused by the absorption of a neutron and produces cesium, rubidium, three neutrons and energy. Encarta (2005) states simultaneously that solar energy is aroused from nuclear fusion reactions, as two deuterons 2H combine in the reaction and produce a helium-3 atom, a free neutron, and energy. As a result, Duncan (2000) illustrates that the value of solar energy that achieves on the Earth equals to five million tons of coal per second theoretically; while D Yogi (2007:22) illuminated that ‘worldwide nuclear power capacity would rise to more than 1000GW'. In short, the similar method between nuclear and solar energy leads to plenty of production.
The second similarity between nuclear energy and solar energy is their environmental protection, which would be concerned by public more frequently. Ilan Lipper and Jon Stone explained that nuclear energy produces electricity by the fission instead of burning of fuels. Consequently, for instance, nuclear energy reduces emission of 128trillion greenhouse gases per year in America. Although some opponents argue that the nuclear waste would pollute the nature accidentally, the problem will be solved by the development of reprocessing nuclear fuel. Meanwhile, Ezine Articles (2010) interpreted that solar energy does not release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere so that it actively contributes to environmental protection. Moreover, nuclear energy and solar energy require fewer resources. As scientists forecasting, sun will have provided energy to the space for more than five billion years. Similarly, a nuclear power station merely demands a lorry's uranium, which is able to keep the reactor working for a year. Therefore, the environmental damage could be reduced when exploiting resources. In brief, nuclear energy and solar energy could become substitution of fossil fuel in the future thanks to their contribution to the sustainable development.
One of the most obvious differences is the efficiency between nuclear energy and solar energy, which can be denoted through two aspects, generator efficiency and economic investment. The generator efficiency represents the energy that residents could get practically, which is restricted by the technological updating. The nuclear power stations' efficiency is approximately 25 percent to 32 percent (China state power tender net, 2008). The solar power stations are lightly influenced by weather and climate; as a result, research (Baidu Baike, 2009) showed that, the average efficiency of solar energy is 5percent to 18 percent. The investment of power station is concerned by the Financial Sector because governments worry about whether the huge investment can bring considerable economic benefits. World Nuclear Association (2010) stated that ‘nuclear energy incurs about one tenth of the costs of coal', while the investment of the largest solar power station in the U.S. was 150 million dollars (My steel, 2009). All in all, the Return On Investment (ROI) of nuclear is higher than that of solar energy; therefore, nuclear energy is a better choice for the country on a budget.
Another difference between nuclear energy and solar energy is the safety, which is considered by the administrator because an accident of nuclear power station causes not only economic losses but also personal injuries. According to Microsoft (2005), OnApril26,1986, one of four nuclear reactors at Chernobyl, the USSR, exploded and burned. A large number of witnesses lost their lives after several years. The accident influenced not only USSR, but also the continent. Such a serious damage would result in frightened around inhabitants. On the contrary, there is no possibility of explosion in solar power stations. What could happen at the solar power station is equipment failure, which would not cause personal injury. Solar energy is considered to be safer than nuclear station
To summarized, the same theory makes both nuclear energy and solar energy abundant and environmental friendly, while some differences in efficiency and safety make people have to consider and analyze carefully and prudently before investment. As far as I ma concerned, nuclear energy is considered to be better than solar energy. The low costly of nuclear energy is adapted to the budget of local utilities and investors, and the power station could provide the constant, abundant and stable electricity. Alternatively, nuclear energy is more efficient than solar energy that produces more with less human resource, natural resource or money. Although some accidents aroused frightened in public, the technology of nuclear energy is in the control maturely by scientists and engineers that it could be developed in a safe, economical and efficient way.