Although not technically a fossil fuel, nuclear energy can be classed as a non-renewable energy source because it uses Uranium-235. Uranium-235 or U-235, so-called as a result of every atom consists of 92 protons and 143 neutrons, which is an exceptional heavy metallic element used as a fuel because of its plentiful source of targeted energy.

As there's solely a limited amount of uranium available globally it's considered by a lot of scientists as a non-renewable energy source, since once it's used it is gone (although thorium might be used to replace Uranium). Uranium is a naturally occurring ore in the earth's crust and once mined, just like fossil fuels, uranium-235 must be extracted from it and specially processed before it can be used as a nuclear fuel.

Facility in foggy environment
Photo by Jason Blackeye / Unsplash

Nuclear energy is energy in the nucleus (core) of an atom and uranium-235 produces energy from a process called fission, additionally known as “splitting the atom”. fission releases energy more efficiently that is then used to heat water, which in turn produces steam that's used to drive turbines to provide electricity.

Compared to electricity generated by burning fossil fuels, energy is cleaner. nuclear energy plants don't produce emissions, greenhouse emission or other kinds of air pollutants that are formed from burning fossil fuels, solely small amounts of pollutants are generated from processing (enriching) the uranium to be created into fuel rods for use in nuclear reactors. Then nuclear power stations are more environmentally friendly and cleaner than conventional oil or coal-fired power stations. However, energy isn't without controversy or issues.

Nuclear powerplant in Belgium
Photo by Frédéric Paulussen / Unsplash

Nuclear power plants are relatively safe once operating however accidents could be ruinous (Chernobyl or Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant). However, the major disadvantage of nuclear energy plants is that they turn out extremely radioactive waste as a by-product of the process of splitting the atom, spent (used) fuels, other radioactive waste, and heat. Spent fuels and different radioactive wastes must be kept and contained for 10’s of thousands of years and no-one knows what may happen to these sites in the future.

All nuclear energy plants solely have an operating life of around 30 to forty years so they must then be “decommissioned”, or taken apart systematically and carefully to avoid contaminating the surrounding atmosphere. Also, pollution by the water used to cool the reactor gets came back to the natural water system flowing in lakes and rivers and back to the ocean.

Disadvantages of fossil fuel Energy related to their use are:

  • Fossil fuels take a long time to form and are therefore known as non-renewable energy sources.
  • They are not evenly distributed throughout the world.
  • Production of greenhouse gasses that are all considered air pollutants, through the burning of fossil fuels.
Electrician at work
Photo by Антон Дмитриев / Unsplash

The price of fossil fuels can solely be controlled by some countries. Also, in the form of oil spills that has the potential to kill animals and wildlife. Some harmful gases that are made by fossil fuels consist of:

  • Carbon dioxide, ( CO2 ) – “Global warming”
  • Carbon monoxide, ( CO ) – “Poisonous gas”
  • Nitrogen dioxide, ( NO2 ) – “Photochemical smog”
  • Methane, ( CH4 ) – “Greenhouse gas”
  • Sulfur dioxide, ( SO2 ) – “Acid rain”
  • Nitrous oxide, ( N2O ) – “Greenhouse gas”

So what we want to say is that by burning huge quantities of fossil fuels to create electricity or for heating is to release thousands of plenty of hydrocarbons and pollutants in the form of gases into the atmosphere, which have been stored for lots of years in the sub-soil.