Nuclear has earned its badge as the most controversial power source. Major accidents, such a Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi, are ‘burnt into’ our collective memory. Yet the urgent need to avert global climate change is putting it back on the global agenda.

Splitting radioactive atoms – typically Plutonium and Uranium – triggers an explosive chain reaction. The two BIG questions that tend to put people in ‘pro’ or ‘con’ camps are: a) how well is that reaction controlled? And b) What about all that radioactive waste?

How do heavy elements end up as electricity?

graphic showing nuclear reaction

In 2020, nuclear power provided 10% of global electricity demand, with zero GHG emissions. Germany has vowed to ban it and Sweden is scaling back, while France – which already gets 70% of electricity from nuclear – recently announced plans to build new plants. In a public referendum, the people of Taiwan chose nuclear over burning more coal to keep pace with growing demand.

While considering whether nuclear is (or isn’t) a clean energy option, we’d like you to take account of few key facts.

walkinenergy-favicon-64px How are Uranium and Plutonium sourced? [1]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px What is the ratio of ‘raw energy’ found in different sources to their ‘useful energy output’? [2]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px How much radioactive waste exists and needs to be stored? [3]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px How does nuclear waste stack up against other clean energies? [4]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px What is more dangerous, a nuclear accident or lifelong exposure to small doses of radiation (e.g. in health care)? [5]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px What causes more deaths, a handful of major nuclear accidents or constant use fossil fuels? [6]