Is nuclear energy considered renewable energy or non renewable energy ?

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justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nuclear energy is non-renewable energy. Energy that is obtained from sources that are limited is termed as non-renewable energy, for example oil, coal, gas, etc. are non-renewable sources of energy as they have been produced over millions of years by the capture of energy from the Sun by plants on Earth. When the plants died, the organic matter in them over a long period of time was converted into sources of energy. It is not possible for humans to create these energy sources as land is limited on the Earth now which does not make it possible for us to allow a large number of plants. Also, the conversion of plants to the present non-renewable energy sources would take too long.

The same is the case with nuclear energy. Nuclear power plants require nuclear fuel to function. This fuel is a few isotopes of a small group of heavy elements like uranium, thorium, plutonium, etc. Though nuclear power plants can produce a large amount of energy from a small amount of fuel, the fuel once consumed cannot be created again by humans. The large reserves of uranium and other nuclear fuels found on the Earth contain a very small amount of the useful isotopes that can be used for producing energy using present technology. Though new technology could allow the use of any isotope of uranium and is estimated to have the capacity to provide energy for billions of years, current nuclear fuels will get exhausted in a fairly short duration of time.

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