Which is a Better Energy Source: Solar Energy or Nuclear Energy?

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Slowly, the world is discovering that the use of nonrenewable energy sources, such as coal and natural gas, is significantly contributing to the rising global climate calamity. Nations are now hurrying to build the infrastructure required for alternative renewable energy sources in order to contribute to the solution.

The debate between solar and nuclear power is one of the most heated among renewable energy supporters. Both energy sources are considered clean and carbon-free, and their infrastructure can be built on a big enough scale to provide electricity to a vast area. Many cities throughout the world are fueled by nuclear energy, and solar power isn't far behind. But which energy source is superior? Recent developments in nuclear and solar energy make it worthwhile to compare the two power sources. Learn more about each type of power and compare and contrast its characteristics to choose which is better for the environment and future development.

Nuclear Energy


1.Solar Energy
2.Nuclear Energy
3.Solar Energy Vs. Nuclear Energy
4.Prospects for solar and nuclear energy

Solar Energy

Solar energy is the electricity that we get from the sun. Solar energy is converted into electricity. Solar energy is considered a renewable and sustainable type of energy due to the availability of sunshine from which it is created. In reality, solar energy is also "green" energy because it does not contribute to pollution like fossil-fuel energy does.

To harness solar energy, photovoltaic devices that convert solar energy into electrical energy are required. Several solar devices are available on the market that include built-in systems for storing solar energy and using it to power the product as needed. Solar energy is currently being used to power homes, autos, and industrial activities by establishing a solar power plant.

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is energy extracted from the nuclei of radioactive materials. Nuclear energy from the nucleus is released to produce thermal energy via nuclear processes. Because thermal energy is released, it is a better option than thermal energy from fossil fuels. Nuclear energy can also be generated through nuclear fusion, fission, and decay.

Many people are concerned about the potential mortality brought on by nuclear power. However, the evidence shows that thermal energy from fossil fuels was more lethal. Instead, it reduces air pollution by reducing the discharge of hazardous gases.

solar VS nuclear

Nuclear Energy vs. Solar Energy

1. Processing Time Needed Overall

A solar power plant can be built more quickly and easily than a nuclear power plant. Heavy regulations imposed on the nuclear sector, as well as lobbying by various stakeholders, such as residents concerned about the risk to public safety posed by the nuclear station, are key factors slowing down nuclear facility construction.

Because the climate problem is urgent, the world would profit more from spending money and developing utility-scale solar every 9 months rather than waiting for a single nuclear power plant every 5 years. A solar farm can take between 3 and 24 months to develop, according to data provided to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission by the Australia Institute (TAI). The average age is 9.4 years. Solar energy may also be generated much faster than nuclear energy. In terms of total time required, solar energy trumps nuclear energy. The aspect may look insignificant in the long run, but industrialists consider it when considering how to meet a country's energy needs.

2. Cost of General Setup
It goes without saying that constructing a solar power plant is less expensive than constructing a nuclear power station. This is because a solar power plant requires a small number of components. Furthermore, there is no necessity for source materials such as uranium, which is only available in a few countries. A solar power plant will most likely be ten times less expensive than a nuclear power plant.

Nuclear power is far more expensive than solar power. According to a 2020 estimate, the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) to produce 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of power from a solar farm is US$ 40. The LCOE of nuclear power plants, on the other hand, is US$ 155 to produce the same amount.

Nuclear energy has far higher initial and continuing costs than solar energy. The cost differential between producing solar and nuclear energy is shrinking over time. According to the same data, the cost of solar energy was US$ 359/MWh in 2009, but it has subsequently dropped dramatically to US$ 40/MWh in 2019. During the same time span, however, the price of nuclear energy increased from US$ 123/MWh to US$ 155/MWh.

Aside from that, the cost of installing solar panels has reduced dramatically over the last decade. According to one study, the average cost of building a rooftop solar energy system in 2020 will be around $883, compared to $4,731 in 2010.

3. Total Annual Energy Production
The capacity of a power plant to produce electricity frequently contributes in meeting demand. A nuclear power plant may operate continuously, generating greater yearly energy. A solar power plant, on the other hand, can create power only when the sun shines, implying that it is only usable and operational for 30% of the day. Solar energy is inherently scarce, which is why governments choose nuclear energy even if solar power plants are abundant.

The amount of electricity that a power plant can generate while it is operational is referred to as its generation capacity. According to one study, nuclear power plants have a capacity factor of 93.5%, which means they can run constantly 341 days out of the year. In contrast, solar farms have a capacity factor of 24.5% (89 days out of 365).

This disparity is caused by the fact that solar arrays can generate electricity only when the sun shines. Furthermore, there is a lot of research and development going on right now to improve the efficiency with which solar panels gather energy. Furthermore, battery technology has progressed tremendously in order to store solar energy more efficiently.

The "capacity factor," or how close a source is to producing the maximum amount of electricity throughout the year, distinguishes solar power from nuclear power. Once built, a nuclear power plant can function at full capacity until it requires new fuel, which could be six to twelve months later.

At the same time, the facility generates hazardous nuclear waste that is not recycled (more on that later). The capacity factor is quite close to 100% since nuclear power normally produces as much electricity as it can every day of the year, 24 hours a day. Solar power's capacity factor is far from this high because it can only create electricity when the sun shines. This restricts its use to daylight and causes it to vary substantially depending on the amount of sun received by the solar farm's location throughout the year.

solar energy VS nuclear energy

Nuclear reactor waste is hazardous and can leak radiation if not disposed of appropriately. Over decades to millennia, every pollution emits radiation. The collection of toxic waste has become a significant impediment to nuclear expansion. Meltdowns are a constant worry for those who live near nuclear power plants, whether they are caused by human error, as in the Chernobyl disaster, or by natural disasters, as in the Fukushima catastrophe. Radioactive debris from these disasters can also spread far from the site.

Aside from rare tragedies, the waste produced by nuclear reactors during normal operations is radioactive for thousands of years. Furthermore, leaks from the nuclear facility are a possibility and could harm the health of those who are exposed. Even a modest amount of radiation exposure can have disastrous consequences. There are several symptoms that contribute to fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Residents who work or live near nuclear power plants are at risk of ingesting deadly radiation.

Solar energy, on the other hand, is safe because it does not emit any toxic elements. Solar energy does not generate radioactive waste or emit hazardous vapours, thus it does not damage the health of those who live near facilities.

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Solar energy, which can be produced as long as there is sunlight, is one of the most environmentally beneficial kinds of energy. The panels normally have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. The best aspect is that the source of their energy is free, and they do not emit any harmful toxins into the environment.

If utility-scale solar energy is not available in your location, a rooftop solar panel installation can help you reduce your household's reliance on fossil fuels and satisfy your energy demands even if the grid goes down.

Nuclear power, despite being carbon-free, is a non-renewable resource. Uranium, the chemical that powers nuclear reactors, must be renewed every three years and then carefully disposed of. Because it must be extracted from the Earth, uranium is a restricted resource.

6.Recyclable status

It is feasible to recycle solar panels. However, it is critical to recognise that the problem of solar panel recycling is still in its early stages, as the initial solar panels installed at the start of the solar boom are only now nearing the end of their 25-30-year lifespan. As a result, we don't have an effective recycling system in place, let alone one that can handle the large-scale recycling we'll need in a few years when the number of solar panels that need to be recycled reaches the tens of millions.

Recycling solar panels is a challenging task due to the way they are constructed and the adhesives and sealants used, which make disassembling them difficult. It is, however, certainly conceivable and has already been done. We're making fantastic progress, but not very effectively. The fact that glass accounts for roughly 75% of the material sorted out and is reasonably easy to recycle into new things is a significant plus!

The procedure of decommissioning a solar farm is simple: remove the panels and we're done! The area is not contaminated, and because no infrastructure or concrete structures have been created, it can be used for various purposes, including farming, immediately.

Nuclear fuel, on the other hand, is difficult to recycle. Because old nuclear fuel, also known as radioactive waste, retains around 90% of its potential energy even after five years of operation in a reactor, it CAN be recycled to make new fuel and byproducts. The issue is that many countries, notably the United States, which generates over 2,000 metric tonnes of radioactive waste every year, do not even attempt to recycle their radioactive waste. France is the world leader in nuclear fuel recycling, producing 1,150 tonnes of radioactive waste per year while commercially processing 1,700 tonnes of old fuel (4 kilogrammes of radioactive waste per citizen each year!). So everything is good now? Not at all. Radioactive waste is still piling up over the planet and becoming a problem. Only around 30% of the 400,000 tonnes of spent fuel spewed into the atmosphere across the world have been recycled. After recycling and reprocessing, there is still a small percentage of radioactive waste that cannot be recycled (and will remain radioactive and hazardous for hundreds or thousands of years).

solar energy VS nuclear energy

Prospects for solar and nuclear energy

Solar energy prospects:

At the moment, the primary issues with solar power generating are the high environmental influence and low power generation efficiency. In the future, solar power production technology will be improved to address these shortcomings, with a focus on boosting photoelectric conversion efficiency, lowering manufacturing costs, increasing dependability and durability, and implementing intelligent management.

According to the International Energy Agency, solar power will account for the bulk of new installed power capacity worldwide in the future. Global installed solar power capacity is predicted to expand by more than 700 GW to 1.5 terawatts by 2030, demonstrating that photovoltaic power generation has a promising technological future.

Nuclear energy prospects:

Nuclear energy is a clean, efficient, and sustainable energy source that has become one of several countries' primary energy sources. The most pressing issues in nuclear power generating today are potential safety threats and nuclear waste disposal. These issues are intimately tied to human life safety, and they are also topical concerns that have received a lot of attention. Many scientists have begun to investigate ways to increase nuclear power generation safety. Nuclear energy technology development in the future will primarily focus on generation IV nuclear reactor technology, nuclear waste management technology, nuclear fusion technology, and safety technology. It is expected that in the near future, nuclear power generation will be safer, nuclear waste will be treated in a safe manner, and nuclear power will play a larger role among various clean energy sources.

According to IAEA forecasts, nuclear energy will be one of the world's fastest-growing sources of electricity over the next 20 years, with installed nuclear power capacity more than doubling. Nuclear energy will be the most important source of low-carbon energy in Europe, accounting for more than one-third of total electricity demand. As a result, nuclear energy technology has a bright future.

There is no clear winner in the debate between solar and nuclear power because everyone arrives at their own judgements. But one thing is certain: when compared to solar and nuclear power, fossil fuels are by far the worst for the environment. If we want to clean up and protect our beautiful world, we must do more to wean ourselves from this reliance. Adoption of cleaner energy will surely be profitable!

Maysun Solar has been producing high-quality photovoltaic modules since 2008. Choose from a wide range of half-cut, MBB, IBC, and Shingled solar panels in full black, black frame, silver, and glass-glass finishes. These panels offer great performance as well as stylish styles that may be readily integrated into any building. Maysun Solar has established offices, warehouses, and long-term agreements with top installers in numerous countries. Please contact us if you have any queries about PV or would want the most recent module quotes. We are eager to assist you.


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