It is often claimed that nuclear energy is something we cannot do without. We live in a consumer society where there is an enormous demand for commercial products of all kinds. Moreover, an increase in industrial production is considered to be one solution to the problem of mass unemployment. Such an increase presumes an abundant and cheap energy supply. Many people believe that nuclear energy provides an inexhaustible and economical source of power and that it is therefore essential for an industrially developing society. There are a number of other advantages in the use of nuclear energy. Firstly, nuclear power, except for accidents, is clean. A further advantage is that a nuclear power station can be run and maintained by relatively few technical and administrative staff. The nuclear reactor represents an enormous step in our scientific evolution and, whatever the anti – nuclear group says, it is wrong to expect a return to more primitive sources of fuel. However, opponents of nuclear energy point out that nuclear power stations bring a direct threat not only to the environment but also to civil liberties.

    Furthermore, it is questionable whether ultimately nuclear power is a cheap source of energy. There have, for example, been very costly accidents in America, in Britain and, of course, in Russia. The possibility of increases in the cost of uranium (铀) in addition to the cost of greater safety provisions could price nuclear power out of the market. In the long run, environmentalists argue, nuclear energy wastes valuable resources and disturbs the ecology to an extent which could bring about the destruction of the human race. Thus, if we wish to survive, we cannot afford nuclear energy. In spite of the case against nuclear energy outlined above, nuclear energy programmes are expanding. Such an expansion assumes a continual growth in industrial production and consumer demands. However, it is doubtful whether this growth will or can continue. Having weighed up the arguments on both sides, it seems there are good economic and ecological reasons for sources of energy other than nuclear power.

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13.9 passage3-第一步读结构


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