Environmental Engineering Reference
melt, which would cause the oceans to rise. Islands and coastal
areas may become looded. Rainfall in other places could
decrease signiicantly. In addition, plants and animals would
have to get used to higher temperatures. Some may die.
These drawbacks have made people start to think about
alternative energy sources that could replace fossil fuels.
Nuclear energy is one such source. Nuclear energy is not
perfect. Nuclear fuel, for example, is dangerous and has to
be handled very carefully. Despite problems associated with
nuclear power, though, nuclear energy has good points that
make it a useful energy source. Nuclear power plants have
almost no emissions. Nuclear fuel is not renewable since
it is used up to produce power, but plenty of nuclear fuel
is available, and more can be made in special reactors. In
addition, nuclear power plants can be built almost anywhere,
and they can run round-the-clock.
Other alternative energy sources have advantages of their
own, but they also have drawbacks. Water power can be
used only where there is the right type and amount of water.
Geothermal power relies on heat deep within the ground,
which means that it also can be used only in certain places.
Solar power relies on the Sun's energy and does not work
when the Sun does not shine. Wind power works only when
the wind blows. Biofuels, such as ethanol made from plants,
need to be burned, which releases emissions. In addition, a
great deal of land is needed to grow the plants used to make
such biofuels. In the future, it is likely that the world will
continue to use a combination of different energy sources—
and some people think nuclear energy may play a bigger role
than it does today.