Back in the 1950s, scientists discovered that energy can be generated from splitting atoms. This reaction was known as nuclear fission and by the 90s, it became the forefront leader as the “energy of the future.” However, nuclear fission did have a major flaw: the constant waste of radiation. As a result, environmentalists did their best to find other forms of harvesting electricity, specifically from the sun and the wind.
Now, it seems renewable energy is leading the charge as innovations such as abandoned golf course solar power plants and wind trees are made. As a matter of fact, renewable energy has grown so much over the last 15 years that the World Nuclear Industry reports that half the world gets most of its power from renewable energy, not nuclear.
As mentioned above, the latest statistics of nuclear energy compared to renewable energy was detailed by the World Nuclear Industry in their latest status report. Countries like Japan, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, as well as the two most-populated countries in the world, China and India, already generate more electricity from renewable sources. To put that in perspective, that’s about 45 percent of the world’s population relying on wind, solar, and other green energy alternatives over atom splitting.
It should also be noted that renewable energy is outgrowing nuclear energy in power capacity too. Between 1997 and 2014, the world added an average of 879 terawatt hours of solar and wind power every year. That is 732 terawatt hours more than nuclear energy, which only grew by 147 terawatt hours within the same time span.
The aforementioned statistics are highly-favorable for the green community, people who are pushing for cleaner forms of producing electricity. Still, nuclear energy is far better at delivering predictable amounts of electricity since the fission reactions are constant, as reported by Quartz. Wind and solar energy on the other hand are at the mercy of weather patterns.
Nevertheless, the world is going in an energy direction in which the gains are far more prominent than the losses. By switching over to renewable energy from nuclear, it is evident a constant supply of energy will be sacrificed. However, the prospect of never having an issue like Chernobyl or Three-Mile Island has a higher benefit.
[Featured Image via Sean Gallup/Getty, Post Image via Atlas/Quartz]