As noted in the introduction to this book, there are several relevant topics that would not be covered even though there is legitimate claim to their inclusion. Given that limitation, why include nuclear power? After all, it is a topic that is highly controversial with respect to sustainability and certainly one with a clouded history. Yet the following two quotes from expert scientists well summarize the need to consider nuclear energy:

Generation of electricity by nuclear power plants started in the 1950s, the heyday of nuclear power. The jump in oil prices in the 1970s gave nuclear energy an additional boost, but infamous nuclear power plant accidents-Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima (2011)—have loomed large in the general public’s consciousness with the result that construction of new nuclear power plants has decreased noticeably since peaking in the 1980s (Davis et  al. 2010). There is no new construction in the United States and limited construction globally. Nevertheless, the tide is turning for including nuclear power as part of the energy mix for several reasons. Nuclear energy is comparable to wind and solar energy in terms of its low contribution to carbon emissions (nuclear produces between 40 and 110 g of CO2/kWh, compared with 900 g CO2/kWh for coal, 20-60 g CO2/kWh for photovoltaics and 10 g CO2/kWh for wind (Armaroli and Balzani 2011)). It is

both reliable and powerful: the energy released per gram of U-235 that undergoes ssion is equivalent to 2.5 million times the energy released in burning 1 g of coal (Ansolabehere et al. 2003). And nuclear energy already provides a signicant portion of the world’s primary energy-5.7% of the world’s supply in 2010, with the United States producing roughly 30% of the world total and France leading the way in terms of proportion of domestic energy production (75%) (IEA/International Energy Agency 2013). Thus nuclear energy, despite the serious concerns surrounding its use, is almost certain to continue to be a source of nal energy for our growing energy consumption.