Paul Panasiuk

The Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed the magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan on March 11 sparked an emotional worldwide debate on the safety and potential dangers of nuclear power.

While some countries such as Switzerland and Germany have gone as far as halting the building of new nuclear plants or phasing them out altogether, most countries have called for increased safety checks and reviews.

Although the nuclear power debate has been ongoing for decades, anti-nuclear supporters use these rare and tragic disasters as momentum to spread deceptive fears about “imminent dangers” and “disastrous environmental effects.”

Usually these same supporters seek to advance a green agenda filled with expensive government-funded wind and solar plants, and books full of regulations on energy companies that exorbitantly increase energy prices for all consumers.

It is important to consider what realistically happens when nuclear energy is banned or growth is halted. When anti-nuclear proponents drive out nuclear plants, an onslaught of imported fossil fuels rushes in to fill their place, increasing emissions and consumer energy costs.

Although I do not subscribe to the global warming theory, those that do often overlook the most cost-effective, efficient and environmentally friendly sustainable resource of them all: nuclear energy.

Worldwide, a mere 443 nuclear power plants supply 14 percent of the world’s energy. In comparison, imagine how much acreage would be used for solar panels and wind farms to supply a small fraction of the world’s energy.

In the past few decades, nuclear technology has advanced exponentially in terms of safety. In the United States, safety inspectors are present every single day at each of the 104 nuclear plants.

Despite potentially being the most regulated industry in the world with average new plant capital costs around $45.2 billion, nuclear plants provide some of the cheapest energy known to man.

Although I endorse the building of new nuclear plants in the United States, I am fully supportive of other forms of energy as well as long as they come from local, non-government-subsidized sources.

The Bush administration carelessly distorted the energy market when subsidizing inefficient biofuels, but the Obama administration, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, has made it nearly impossible to extract resources from our very own country.

Time and time again, it seems our leaders care not about the prosperity of the average American, but the prosperity of some far-off land supplying the resource at high cost.

There is no reason why companies should not be allowed to extract resources and at the same time be encouraged to respect the environment.

If energy does not soon become an American export, the consumer and American businesses will forever be subject to a volatile energy market where prices rapidly increase at any sign of turmoil in the Middle East, which as anyone can guess, will not subside any time soon.