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Nuclear energy is a better replacement for fossil fuels than alternative energy sources


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BoP is shared. This debate is for the february debate tournament.

Round 1
RESOLUTION: Nuclear energy is a better replacement for fossil fuels than alternative energy sources 

  • FOSSIL FUEL: any of a class of hydrocarbon-containing materials of biological origin occurring within Earth’s crust that can be used as a source of energy.
  • REPLACEMENT: to take the place of especially as a substitute or successor
  • BETTER: to a higher or greater degree

Lowering our collective carbon footprint as fast and efficiently as possible is the challenge humanity is currently facing. Avoiding rappid reduction of carbon emmisions is not a viable option for humanity, as the negative consequences of prolonging the energy transition compound extremely quickly and concurently, according to the UN [1]. We cannot afford any more delay than absolutely necesary. This means the fossil fuel industry must be replaced as quickly as possible. In this context green energy is not a question of finance but of avoiding an existential threath. How good an energy source is depends almost entirely on how well it can replace energy currently provided by fossil fuels. The challenge of covering the energy demands of a rappidly increasing population while phasing out fossil fuels requires all solutions to be applied at once. That said, fision and fusion energy is the strongest alternative for replacing fossil fuels and fullfilling their role as the backbone of the energy economy. Nuclear is the best candidate for a future energy backbone.

I will be arguing for that position, my opponent will argue against it.

First, let me define nuclear energy robustly using britannica. Nuclear energy i sthe energy inherent in most atomic nuclei (only excluding iron), and which is released in one of two nuclear processes, either fission or fusion. Facilitating these processesin controlled enviroments allows the energy to heat water and lead to the subsequent generation of electricity. Hydrogen fusion is still in development, but "Commercial fusion reactors promise an inexhaustiblesource of electricity for countries worldwide" [ibid]Then there is fission reactors, where despite only utilizing a fraction of the energy of bigger nuclei, they already provide significant portions of worlds' energy. As science and technology marches on the efficiency, safety and utility of nuclear energy will continue to greatly increase -- and the radioactive waste we have stored up will become new fuel due to nuclear recycling [2].

Let me adress the elephant in the room from the start. Nuclear dissasters with grave consequences have occured a few times. But you know what also occurs? Plane crashes. That's right, giant flying machines balance a lot of energy, and when they fail a lot of people die from the impact of that uncontrolled kinetic energy. That doesn't stop planes from being extremely safe, maybe even the safest transportation method of them all. "In fact, based on the incredible safety record, if you did fly every day of your life, probability indicates that it would take you nineteen thousand years before you would succumb to a fatal accident. Nineteen thousand years!" []. Fear of freak accidents is often not rational or evidence-based. The fear of nuclear accidents is largely psycological in nature [jstor].

Objectively, nuclear power is far safer than other energy sources and it has far smaller and less dangerous waste streams. Built at scale, it could also be affordable. Yet, fear of nuclear power is widespread. In reality, low levels of radiation are not harmful. We live in a soup of natural radiation every day, and radiation levels vary from place to place. A radiation hotspot, in Ramsar, Iran – which is the site of radium hot springs – has more than 50 times the world’s average level of radiation. Yet local people show no adverse health effects despite living there. [14]
Read this article from the US department of energy to learn that "nuclear waste" is not some sort of ticking time bomb, but rather a professionally handled byproduct that can be recycled and stored safely. The outliers of Chernobyl and Fukushima are actually evidence that nuclear catastrophes are decreasing in likelyhood and danger levels and getting handled better as time moves on, due to better knowledge, readyness and design improvements [15]. Most of the 15.000 victims in the Fukushima catastrophe died from the tsunami or the stress of evacuation. Next to none died from radiation. Meltdowns are nothing like A-bombs.

To the death toll of history’s two nuclear disasters we have added the death rate that Markandya and Wilkinson (2007) estimated for occupational deaths, most from milling and mining. Their published rate is 0.022 deaths per TWh. Even with this upper figure, nuclear is still much much lower than the death rate from fossil fuels – 350 times lower than coal. Despite this, politicians have turned their backs on it in many countries. [ourworldindata/nuclear-energy]
Only wind and solar are safer than nuclear, and that by a slim margin [12]. Breathing in polluted air is simply far more dangerous and kills far more people, be it fossil fuels or biofuel. Calling nuclear energy dangerous by pointing to one or two outlier cases is nothing more than a case of confirmation bias. What if I told you that hydroenergy catastrophes are common and almost inpreventable [13]? According to the statistics from earlier, hydroenergy, and most other renewables, are far more dangerous than nuclear energy. In short, nuclear is already safe enough to rival the cleanest renewables and is constantly improving. This fact is well documented. Safety is not a liability, but a virtue, of nuclear.


Nuclear plants has a high energy output
Nuclear power plants pump out very high amounts of energy compared to other energy sources. 10% of global electricity needs are covered by only 440 nuclear reactors, with 55 under construction expected to increase that number to 15 [3]. In other words, only a low number of reactors are needed to power huge parts of the world. China and India alone will soon have reached 100 plants already constructed. Unlike other fossil fuels alternatives, nuclear energy is feasible and realistic for the countries with the world's largest populations. "As the only proven, scalable and reliable low-carbon source of energy, nuclear power will be required to play a pivotal role if the world is to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels to address climate change and chronic air pollution." [4]. Like fossil fuels, nuclear energy is easily scaleable, making it the perfect, perhaps even necesary, main replacement.

Nuclear energy is far more fuel efficient than fossil fuels
The biggest historic advantage of fossil fuels is their high energy density due to the unique chemical properties of hydrocarbons, allowing them to be the perfect fuel that started the industrial revolution. But guess what, the energies we can harvest from atoms' nuclei is far greater than the energy bound in their chemical bords -- due to what is fittingly called the strong force. The energy density of Uranium is almost five orders of magnitude larger than that of natural gas, the closest chemical competitor [5].

Nuclear generates more than half of the country’s clean energy by using uranium instead of burning fossil fuels. Uranium is an abundant metal and is full of energy: One uranium fuel pellet creates as much energy as one ton of coal, 149 gallons of oil or 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas. Thanks to the energy density of uranium fuel and efficient operations, 93 reactors generate nearly 20% of all U.S. electricity. [6]
The practical result is that you only need a tiny amount of fuel to keep a nuclear plant running. Refueling only needs to happen every other year and corresponding maintenance often is unnecesary most of the time. Furthermore, "The performance of nuclear reactors has improved substantially over time. Over the last 40 years the proportion of reactors reaching high capacity factors has increased significantly. For example, 66% of reactors achieved a capacity factor higher than 80% in 2020, compared to less than 30% in the 1970s, whereas only 9% of reactors had a capacity factor lower than 50% in 2020, compared to just over 20% in the 1970s." [ibid]. Nuclear beats carbon's at their own game.

Nuclear energy won't run out of fuel
Most probably, the fuel available for fission reactors alone will be enough to last us from hundreds to thousands of years, and that is just with technology and techniques we can imagine today [7] [10]. Thorium and Plutonium are elements next to Uranium in the periodic table that can  also serve as fuel for fission reactors, and their development looks extremely promising. Thorium is objectively a better fuel for energy production, and unlike Uranium it is not fitted for use in weapons of mass destruction [8]. It is three times more abundant in nature and does not require enrichment because it is almost exclusively found in usefull isotopes in nature. The production of energy using Thorium is simultaniously safer and results in less waste with shorter lifetimes. 

Fusion chambers have been created and the necesary plasma temperatures and heat isolation have mostly been achieved. The technology is rappidly improving and will most probably be available in the near future [9]. Remember that our supply of fusion fuels is practically limitless with the abundance of hydrogen in water. This means that nuclear fusion has the potential to provide "an inexhaustiblesource of electricity for countries worldwide" [ibid]. Let me summarize this point: nuclear energy is a renewable energy source. Building nuclear reactors does not make our energy economy weaker or less substainable.

Nuclear reliability and longevity
Adding to the last point, nuclear reactors themselves are not short-lived. "As the average age of American reactors approaches 40 years old, experts say there are no technical limits to these units churning out clean and reliable energy for an additional 40 years or longer. To date, 20 reactors, representing more than a fifth of the nation’s fleet, are planning or intending to operate up to 80 years. More are expected to apply in the future as they get closer to the end of their operating licenses." []. Take notice of these facts coming directly for the US department of energy. Nuclear plants from decades ago still conform to modern safety standards and are expected to continue being safe and efficient for at least twice as long.

It operates at full power more than 92% of the time and has provided roughly a fifth of the nation’s power since the mid-'90s. [, same source]
The department directly confirms my previous statement that 93 reactors are producing half of all clean energy in the country, and many will continue to operate beyond 2050. Continuing the tread of evidence, the departmen of energy also published another article titled "Nuclear power is the most reliable energy source and it's not even close" [11]. The consistency of near constant production at maximum capacity makes nuclear energy the "workhorse of america", around three times more reliable than wind and solar. Nuclear even surpasses natural gass and coal, since they only require maintenance and refueling once every other year. 

A typical nuclear reactor produces 1 gigawatt of electricity. That doesn’t mean you can simply replace it with a 1 gigawatt coal or renewable plant. Based on the capacity factors above, you would need almost two coal or three to four renewable plants to generate the same amount of electricity onto the grid. [ibid]
This is a massive advantage for nuclear energy. Energy production is not only about maximum load or efficiency of fuel, but about average output and reliability. People around the world won't tolerate power outages due to an unreliable power grid. But most green energy sources are far to unreliable to operate on their own. "Renewable plants are considered intermittent or variable sources and are mostly limited by a lack of fuel (i.e. wind, sun, or water). As a result, these plants need a backup power source such as large-scale storage (not currently available at grid-scale)—or they can be paired with a reliable baseload power like nuclear energy." [ibid]. 

To elaborate on the framework of this debate, any replacement for fossil fuels needs the ability to take on the baseload of energy production. Whilst I support all sources of green energy, to actually serve as a replacement they would need to be more reliable than coal and natural gass. Nuclear energy is excactly that. It is the best option for this role, as it delivers juice constantly, regardless of weather conditions, and other unpredictable variables. As you just read above, the energy department has declared that renewable plants are too unreliable to function on their own. Rather than covering the baseload, they serve as a supplement.

"In the unavoidable process of gradually replacing fossil fuels, many energy technologies may be considered and most will be deployed in specific applications. However, in the long term, nuclear fission technology is the only developed energy source that is capable of delivering the enormous quantities of energy that will be needed to run modern industrial societies safely, economically, reliably and in a sustainable way, both environmentally and as regards the available resource base. Consequently, nuclear fission has to play a major role in this necessary transformation of the 21st century energy-supply system. In a first phase of this necessary global energy transformation, the emphasis should be on converting the major part of the world's electrical energy generation capacity from fossil fuels to nuclear fission. This can realistically be achieved within a few decades, as has already been done in France during the 1970s and 1980s. Such an energy transformation would reduce the global emissions of carbon dioxide profoundly, as well as cutting other significant greenhouse gases like methane. Industrial nations should take the lead in this transition."[sciencedirect]

As the only proven, scalable and reliable low-carbon source of energy, nuclear power will be required to play a pivotal role if the world is to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels to address climate change and chronic air pollution. More broadly, however, the proposition of nuclear power as a sustainable energy source is fundamentally robust due to its innate energy density, and its internalisation of health and environmental costs. Using nuclear energy has numerous sustainability advantages relative to alternative forms of generation. By expanding its use, modern and affordable energy can be provided to all who currently lack access, whilst reducing the human impact on the natural environment, and ensuring that the world’s ability to meet its other sustainable development goals is not curtailed."  [17]

Nuclear energy is actually one of the most enviromentally friendly energy sources we have, and it's large-scale implementation would benefit humanity tremendously. Decarbonization has already been largely achieved many places -using nuclear energy. Nuclear is capable of scaling up to the enourmous energy demands of the future, and China and India are already investing into its clean, safe and limitless energy reservoir. Now that's not to say that other sources of clean energy are worse sources of energy, just that Nuclear is by far the best candidate for facilitating the worldwide replacement of fossil fuels. Even more so when we take a peak at the future of Thorium, Plutonium and Fusion reactors that are able to power us well into the far future. According to an MIT paper on energy, Nuclear energy has been held back by discriminatory policies and I quote "Nuclear generators, both existing plants and the new builds, would be among the beneficiaries of a level, competitive playing field". [18]. Let us release this giant at the carbon industry.

After all, 440 nuclear reactors already provide half of the world's clean energy. Atomic is already the backbone of the green energy industry, scaling it up would do wonders.

Nuclear energy is the perfect candidate to replace fossil fuels and become the backbone of a new substainable energy economy. Thus, the resolution holds.


NP = Nuclear Power
RE = Renewable Energy (interchangable with renewable resources for this debate)


Welcome to the finals of the tournament! It’s here, the first ever tournament on the website and to close it we have to debate a pressing issue for the world; how to replace fossil fuels? On one side, the dangerous, devious and non-renewable nuclear and on the other the safe, genuinely invested in RE.

What is devious about NP you may ask? Well, you’ll have to read to find out…

Nuclear Power is not renewable.

It may be confusing to some people why NP is recommended as a sustainable resource to replace fossil fuels when it suffers a similar dilemma; its source of energy extraction is finite. Despite Pro telling you it will last thousands of years, let's understand that the claim made ignores what happens if nuclear genuinely replaced fossil fuels (as in became the main source of power and energy that a nation relied on).

To work around the main argument of uranium being both limited and necessary for other research (especially militaristic), Pro extends the breadth of nuclear power to push into thorium and other barely ventured-into elements. The fact is that Pro is giving you unrealistic hopes and dreams at the sake of elements and ores that are not just finite but matter for other things (some of which may not exist today).

Just as Pro tells you that we will gain the ability to extract nuclear energy from other resources and make this a mainstream, everyday process, I easily can tell you that this all comes with problems and setbacks that are not entirely foreseeable today.  Just so you are clear, nuclear energy cannot be extracted from non-radioactive elements. I will properly explain why this is in Round 2 but Pro made it seem like all elements other than iron could be used, when in reality the sources are limited.

These are:

Uranium, Plutonium, Polonium, Radium and Radon in terms of what's readily available and could be used today. Thorium research is barely legal and that's because Thorium is essential to alloying metals and has a plethora of uses far beyond nuclear research. In fact, all those elements have uses that are not worth using them up for on nuclear when we have perfectly renewable alternatives.

When we discuss replacing non-renewable fossil fuels, surely NP would be deemed suboptimal if there are extremely reliable, RE alternatives and... there are!

The devious history of nuclear energy research and how we accidentally discovered climate change.

Ever since the atomic bomb (which is nuclear, just a different name) came into prominence, nations that were ahead of the curve in science scrambled to make potent nuclear arms so as to have mutually assured destruction maintain world peace. The problem is that saying you are funding nuclear research to a high degree makes you seem a little nutty in a democracy, which Margaret Thatcher caught onto.

The concept of renewable energy had already begun long before, in fact fossil fuels were originally the groundbreaking alternative to RE (an interesting factoid Pro could have raised). However, the reason it replaced was that we did not have sufficient technology for 2 milennia, to actually make sufficient use of renewable resources, only wind and moving water even seemed doable (a windmill is unironically a way of using natural wind energy to power the production of flour). 

Thatcher met with the independent scientist, James Lovelock, in May 1984. Two years earlier, Lovelock had published his seminal book, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, which introduced his controversial Gaia hypothesis, suggesting the earth was a single living organism.

He warned that climate change would ultimately mean that “most of the surface of the globe will change into desert. The survivors will gather around the Arctic. But there won't be enough room for everybody, so there will be wars raging populations, warlords.” 

Lovelock later became patron of the Supporters of Nuclear Energy (SONE). The industry group was set up by Sir Bernard Ingham, Thatcher's friend and press secretary before becoming a lobbyist for British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL).

Lovelock's meeting would later resurface as evidence that she simply used climate change to promote her nuclear agenda.

Another significant influence on Thatcher's attitude towards the relationship between science and industry was Lord Rothschild, the one-time member of the MI5 anti-sabotage unit and then research director of Royal Dutch Shell Group.

Edward Health had hired him in February 1971 as part of the Central Policy Review Staff which was a think tank at the heart of government.

A financial motive

Prime Minister Heath had called the young Thatcher, then education minister, to his office at 10 Downing Street the following April to discuss the governmental funding of science.
Thatcher began the meeting defending the scientific community. “It was felt that the system was now working better than it had ever worked before”, an official noted her saying.

Her “main concern” was “to ensure that no change was made against the wishes of the scientists without having been consulted”. By the end of the meeting, the education secretary had reversed her position.

She agreed that funding would no longer support projects of general interest, but would be granted only when there was a demonstrable benefit to the industry.
This was a fundamental change in policy, agreed in private and without the consultation of scientists.

Jon Agar, publishing with the Royal Society, would state that: “Thatcher had changed her mind. She now embraced the relevance of the market in shaping key areas of government science, and had already moved into 'tactical' considerations of how to sell the conclusion. The lady had turned.” [PDF]

He added: “Science [was for Thatcher] even more of a test case for her developing views on economic liberalism. If markets could work for science policy, they could work anywhere.”
The man from Shell and MI5 had persuaded Thatcher that science, as with everything else, must have a financial motive.

NE research was often a top secret cover up for nuclear warhead research that the likes of MI5 and non-British alternatives caught onto as a brilliant cover. It also is true that genuine investors that truly believed in NE, manipulated politicians (Thatcher the most prominent example) to sway national policy in favour of enabling and replacing it and this certainly included how scientists themselves got pressured to be pro-nuclear and both anti-fossil-fuel and anti-renewable to maintain grants.

In fact, Pro is wrong to say NE is manageably cheaper at all, the costs are through the roof and the only way to justify it is to stop fossil fuels.

The non-appearance of a new nuclear generating fleet in the ’80s might actually give us a clue as to what Thatcher’s legacy actually was to the UK energy industry. Nuclear plants weren’t built because of their cost: they were in competition with cheaper forms of generation, using gas. Energy policy today regards price competition and limiting of carbon emissions as less important than diversity of supply — nuclear plants are to be built despite their being more expensive than fossil fuel-burning ones

Nuclear energy is sprawled with disinformation and cover-ups to enable certain interested parties that profit from its success. Do not be quick to assume that the research into it is genuine.

So, why not renewable over nuclear? Whatever positive thing Nuclear is to fossil fuels, renewable sources are to both.

Pro has one attack on RE; they are not reliable. I guess this is the typical overused 'it isn't windy or sunny all day' type argument. Of course solar power is better in sunnier regions and turbine energy is better in windy regions and if you go for a suboptimal source for the region as a large-scale investment you're going to get less good results but it's rather ironic to call it unreliable; the results will be reliably mediocre. The fact is that if you combine the sources and optimise it so that your nation's main focus is on what it has the most of (hydro (not the same as tidal), turbine, solar, tidal, geothermal and biomass) and basically make the most of what you get every single day anyway without actively doing a thing, you cannot possibly be saying that the so-called 'lack of reliability' is anywhere near enough of a trade-off to justify wasting it.

You see, we don't naturally get NE, we do get nuclear radiation but there is no sort of nuclear energy that we can naturally tap into, so not only do we have to begin using very (ironically) energy-demanding means of mining the radioactive materials, setting up the factories, labs, machines etc and going about transport and all that jazz we actually have all the drawbacks of renewable energy on top and even perhaps worse.

While waste products of renewable sources such as solar panels (the paint/coating of them in particular) can be harmful and an issue with the waste, nuclear waste is not some walk in the park. Even if a source from Pro says they can be 90% recycled, this doesn't begin to explain how energy-demanding (again, ironically) and complex the recycling of nuclear waste is.

Solar panels themselves are recyclable:
Panels that convert solar energy into electricity last for decades, but when they do eventually wear out, they can be turned into new products – including fresh solar panels. Most of the materials they’re made from, such as glass, aluminium and copper, has been recycled for years. The semiconductor materials in them, such as silicon and cadmium telluride, can virtually all be recovered by specialist companies.

I will repeat this again, all of the drawbacks of NE are present and pretty much as, if  not more, severe in NE. The difference lies in the passive availability of the resource.

Wind is there, the sun comes out everyday whether we make use of it or not. If we are discussing a long-term replacement to a problematic non-renewable, non-naturally-energy-providing source of energy like oil, gas and coal where we continually need to go through harmful lengths to get hold of the resource, extract it and use it, RE is absolutely demolising NE. 

It also matter how harmful both are at their extreme. When RE goes 'wrong' damn we got some waste products and economically we didn't make a super wise investment, oh dear. It still is reliable (yes, ironically) in that at worst, you have made some use of a continuous source of energy that will at least be usable even if suboptimal in quantity. The wind doesn't just 'stop' completely for unexpected periods of long length. On the other hand NE at its worst... It takes one accident, one poisoning, one small error and the most horrific outcomes can occur.

An entire city can become nearly permanently damaged (literally, life can't sufficiently grow back other than some funky mushrooms and any children born in the area will suffer). 
It has been 30 years since the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident, but the effects still live on. Today Chernobyl is a ghost town since it was evacuated directly after the accident. It has since been deemed to be a toxic and unlivable place due to the radiation exposure that may be received. There have been regulations and emergency preparedness precautions that have been put into effect in order to ensure that this kind of crisis will never happen again. According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the government of Ukraine evacuated about 115,000 people from the most heavily contaminated areas in 1986. Even though the vast majority of the area was evacuated, long-term effects still linger.

Health effects and diseases have developed in the years after the accident upon individuals who worked at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, or were in the surrounding area. Some diseases that are more prevalent as a result of the radiation exposure from the accident include, cataracts to the eyes, cardiovascular disease, psychological effects, birth defects such as hydrocephalus, as well as increased risk for cancers such as papillary thyroid cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Other effects include unusable land for farming or unstable livestock from the accident.

As a result of this catastrophic event, more than 200,000 km2 were subjected to levels of radioactive deposits exceeding 37 kBq/m2 of 137 Cs, the cut-off level to classify an area as contaminated. The average dose that was received from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident ranges from less than 10 milisievert (mSv) to over 1 sievert (Sv). (Moiseenko, Khvostunov, Hattangadi-Gluth, Muren, & Lloyd, 2016). 1 Sv is equivalent to 100 Rem. Radiation equivalent man (Rem), is the traditional unit of measure for humans. All of the units will be converted into this value. This is a substantial amount of radiation considering the allowable dose for a non-occupational person to receive is 0.5 Rem per year. The dose that was received by some people in the accident is two hundred times that of the normal limit for the entire year.
The occurrence and severity of cataracts is proportional to the dose of radiation received. The Ukrainian-American Chernobyl Ocular study reported a dose-related increase in the rate of cataracts in cleanup workers from Ukraine. This study also caused for reevaluation of the dose limits to the eyes by the International Commission on Radiologic Protection. It has since then been changed from 1 Gy (gray) or 100 Rem down to 0.7 Gy or 70 Rem for non-occupationally exposed people, and down to 0.5 Gy or 50 Rem for those occupationally exposed. The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident caused the universal exposure limit to the eyes to be lowered due to the increase in cataracts among those people who were exposed. (Zablotska, 2016).

And how are we to justify this risk? How are we to justify permanent harm to an area and the living beings within it? 

Speaking of waste products, I'm very willing to look into the harms of the waste products of NE entering any kind of river or source of water/food for wildlife and even people and what that does, I'll save it for Round 2 and see if Pro challenges me on this.

Closing Statement

NE is a non-renewable source of energy that has extreme risks involved. In contrast to NE, all sources of RE are available in full today, we're just not yet using them enough for all.
Round 2
RESOLUTION: Nuclear energy is a better replacement for fossil fuels than alternative energy sources 

CON does not contest my definitions or interpretation of the resolution, even though he found time to rant about all sorts of unrelated people, events and policies that I didn't mention and who don't have any bearing on the truth of the resolution. Thus, I can only reasonably conclude that CON accepts my framework. The debate is about whether or not Nuclear energy can more quickly and fully replace fossil fuels as the backbone of the global energy economy, than the alternatives. My side does not entail the rejection of other sources of green energy, only the claim that nuclear energy is best fitted for becoming the energy baseload, a role currently filled by fossil fuels. 

CON asserts that "alternative sources" are "genuine" energy sources, as opposed to nuclear. That is neither substantiated nor relevant to this discussion. Fossil fuel pollution is both a large contemporary source of unnatural deaths and a ticking time bomb, as I talked about in R1. CON is missing this crucial context by willfully ignoring the urgency of a global energy transition. The question of the resolution is not if nuclear energy would eventually need to be replaced itself, only if it can replace fossil fusels better than the alternatives. Better, in our context, means quicker and to a higher degree. Replacement is to produce as much electricity as possible and become the energy backbone.

My opponent's main arguments lack any real thrust, as I will explain in a moment. But first, take note of the abscence of effort directed towards supporting his side. The CON position in this debate entails arguing that replacing fossil fuels without nuclear energy is the best alternative. No evidence was provided showing how that is even viable (despite evidence to the contrary), or why that is preferable to a world in which the backbone of green energy is provided by nuclear.

"The devious history of nuclear energy research"
CON is not making an argument here, he is appealing to emotion. The intentions of historical people have no bearing on the facts about nuclear energy or the truth of the resolution. Merely ranting about Thatcher and the history of nuclear weapons doesn't prove that all arguments for nuclear energy are invalid or biased. CON simpy states that there is a lot of bad research on atomic energy, and proceeds to ignore my facts and expert sources. There is a difference between critical thinking with regards to the validity of sourced claims and the rejection of presented information without elaboration. CON is doing the latter.

"An entire city can become nearly permanently damaged"
Describing in gory detail the freak accident of Chernobyl is CON's attempt at winning an undeserved contention through confirmation bias and emotional appeal. I literally provided -- on a silver platter I might add -- the relevant information about risk relative to energy source in R1. Here it is, again. Carbon is 350 times deadlier than nuclear, hydropower is 150% as dangerous and only solar + wind are slighly safer than nuclear energy. Add in that nuclear is the lowest emitter of carbon diokside of the energy sources mentioned, and you have yourself a solid factual foundation for saying that nuclear is on average the safest source of energy.

The effects that Chernobyl left behind are countless, however, regulations and safety precautions have been put into place in order to prevent such a catastrophic event from happening again.  There have been regulations and emergency preparedness precautions that have been put into effect. [CON's STUDENT WRITTEN essay about Chernobyl]
Freak accidents make headlines, but they don't give an accurate picture relative risk. When Germany recently phased out nuclear there was a massive spike in emmisions that is costing thousands of lives and 12 billion dollars a year [2]. Alternative green sources failed to take nuclear's place in Germany. The study is crucial to understanding just how much damage nuclear is preventing by simply pumping out energy. But the danger of rejecting nuclear to the benefit of coal and gass is not just loads of immidiate deaths, climate change is also made worse. "The UN has stated that nuclear power will have to be a part of the energy mix to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees celsius. Not keeping nuclear power at its current levels will make hitting our climate goals drastically harder and more costly." [3]. Nuclear energy is HARDLY problematic, and rejecting nuclear energy is far more dangerous than using it to fight climate change.

"It takes one accident, one poisoning, one small error and the most horrific outcomes can occur."
Citation needed. Also, why does my opponent make this flawed argument. CON's own source (the only one that had anything to do with the risks of nuclear plants) stated that regulations and safeguards have been put in place since Chernobyl to prevent further accidents. Thus, CON is either lying or he did not read his own source. Also, as I showed in R1, the chances of nuclear accidents are extremely slim. Just like with planes, the freak accident is no reason to deny overwhelming statistical data showing it is relatively safe. In fact, nuclear energy leads to the employment of over 1000 total workers per power plant, which not only boosts the economy more than any other energy source, but also decreases the chances of all safeguards and security measures failing at the same time. Also, recall the strict regulations and safety standards these men must follow. 

"nuclear waste is not some walk in the park"
Not only is moderate ammounts of radiation not a problem to begin with [as per my R1 analysis], the ash from coal plants is 100 times more radioactive than the waste produced by a nuclear plant of similar energy output [4]. "The chances of experiencing adverse health effects from radiation are slim for both nuclear and coal-fired power plants—they're just somewhat higher for the coal ones" [ibid]. Ash contains radioactive elements, and while ash is useless, nuclear waste in the future will most likely be usefull rather than problematic. For instance, a promising development is that near-infinite lasting power sources could derive from nuclear waste. These ideas, like the diamond batteries discussed in the article, are not only possible, they have been tested and proven to work. "Waste" is just a temporary term for objects untill we find a use for them.

this doesn't begin to explain how energy-demanding (again, ironically) and complex the recycling of nuclear waste is
CON concedes that nuclear waste can be recycled. He claims the recycling of nuclear wastet will be hard, but provides no evidence or source to back it up. More than 90% of nuclear energy remains untapped after 5 years in a reactor -- the waste is transported and stored safely -- countries like France are already recycling it  -- and multiple new advanced designs are being developed that not only run on "waste products", but also are safer and cleaner [The US energy department - again]. Contrary to intuition, the nuclear "waste" will probably be our main fuel source soon enough, lowering the price of nuclear energy due to less mining cost.

"Nuclear power is not renewable. Nuclear energy cannot be extracted from non-radioactive elements""
Unlike what my opponent will have you believe, there is indeed potential nuclear energy in every element except iron [1]. All fusion and fision processes will eventually end in iron nuclei, since they are the most stable, they are at the bottom of what physists would call the "energy valley". We only know how to exploit radioactive elements at this time, but the key word here is time. Science and technology will learn to exploit all that available energy. CON even said himself that renewable energy sources were available but not usable for 2 millenia until they were unlocked by new technology -- so he has no right to claim that our modern world with exponentially faster progress will fail to unlock the abundant energy reserves found in all atoms besides iron. Thorium and other branches of fission, nuclear recycling and improving efficiency all prove that the  tens of thousands of years estimate is accurate. Even if nuclear energy provided all of our power, there still would be enough fuel for centuries or millenia depending on the rise in energy demand. We also have a near limitless supply of hydrogen called oceans, that would supply fusion plants practically forever. CON ignored this point. The fact of the matter is that nuclear is indeed sustainable, despite what CON thinks.

CON is conveniently ignoring the fact that nuclear energy has a subcategory called fusion energy, the sibling of fision energy. He did not dispute my citing of Britannica in R1 which I used to substantiate this fact. In light of this, his denial of nuclear renewability can be discarded easily. Fusion energy, a subcategory of nuclear energy, is renewable by definition [6]. The reason we call solar energy "renewable" is that the sun is literally a big but ineffective fusion reactor. We can achieve controlled fusion on earth and produce energy even more efficiently than the sun. "Deuterium can be extracted from seawater, while tritium can be produced from naturally abundant lithium. Current deuterium reserves could last us around 150 billion years – around 30 times the remaining lifespan of the Sun. There is also no radioactive waste and nuclear fusion reactors can be built anywhere, minimising the impact on vulnerable parts of the planet. A meltdown at a fusion reactor is also unlikely." [ibid]. A few grams of fuel can produce a terajoule of energy, enough for an entire lifetime worth of energy. Fusion stops when the plasma expands which means uncontrolled reactions are impossible. The worst case scenario for a "fatal accident" is a production halt.

This was one of my points in R1. Nuclear fusion energy IS a renewable resource, even more so than our sun. It also could provide energy further from the sun on other planets where hydrogen is abundant but sunlight, wind, rivers and geothermal energy is lacking. The far future sees much more potential in fusion energy than any other alternative replacement for fossil fuels. Hydrogen can also be burned, as rocket fuel for example, and the only waste product is harmless water [7]. Hydrogen will be the fuel of the future, thus making fusion energy the perfect large capacity energy source. As long as these points stand, the resolution holds.

CON is quick to point out minor flaws with nuclear energy, such as early accidents. He paints a disturbing picture and presents a false dichotomy:

On one side, the dangerous, devious and non-renewable nuclear and on the other the safe, genuinely invested in RE.
CON cherry picks some alledged historic "devious-nes" connected to nuclear research. Need I even say that "genuine investment" is not a measure of an energy source's real qualities? Just because the technology in question has a dark history or "aura" does not tell us whether or not it can be a good replacement for previous technologies. The data clearly shows us that nuclear energy is saving thousands of lives and easily doing all of the heavy lifting when it comes to green energy production. CON presents "every source of green energy except nuclear" as the superior alternative compared to "only nuclear energy", thus missing any nuances. He does a very bad job of substantiating this simplistic analysis. It will thus be very easy for me to refute it. Renewables are by no means enviromentally superior to nuclear in any meaningful way.

Solar panels
Extreme ammounts of waste is being produced by the need for replacing them, 50 times more than was expected [8]. That is just counting residential panels, the industry versions will make the situation far worse. CON asserts that the toxic waste of solar is somehow not an issue becuase "recycling" (totally not a double standard). However, that is very unlikely to be viable. "The financial incentive to invest in recycling has never been very strong in solar. With the current capacity, it costs an estimated $20-30 to recycle one panel. Sending that same panel to a landfill would cost a mere $1-2. The totality of these unforeseen costs could crush industry competitiveness." [ibid]. The only way for solar power to be safe and viable at the same time is for massive subsidies and regulations at the same time. This problem does not only apply to solar energy, but also wind turbines and bateries.

Solar panels are also connected to child labour. Does that emotional appeal alone convince you that solar panels as an energy source are DEVIOUS? Hopefully not.

Wind turbines
Nature is harmed to a high degree by wind turbines. I am talking about its tendency to "reduce, fragment, or degrade habitat for wildlife, fish, and plants. Furthermore, spinning turbine blades can pose a threat to flying wildlife like birds and bats" [9]. The wind doesn't always blow, and the windy places are often far from cities, requiring the building of otherwise pointless infrastructure like roads and energy cables. The turbines are noisy, high-maintenance and take up a lot of space. Complicated waste management [10].

^^^These two are the only power sources that are responsible for less human deaths than nuclear relative to energy production.^^^

The enviromental impact is a massive concern. "Hydropower can also cause environmental and social problems. Reservoirs drastically change the landscape and rivers they are built on. Dams and reservoirs can reduce river flows, raise water temperature, degrade water quality and cause sediment to build up. This has negative impacts on fish, birds and other wildlife." [11]. As I mentioned earlier, hydropower is 50% more deadly than nuclear energy due the frequency of disasters. Moreover, "The World Bank estimated in 2000 that between 40 and 80 million people had been directly displaced by dams and reservoirs. Another study from 2010 estimated that 472 million people downstream from large dams suffer from reduced food security, regular flooding or impacts on their livelihood." [ibid]. They literally don't replace fossil fuels, rather they introduce electricity to new areas uniquely suited. They sometimes cause more emmisions than coal plants during their lifespans, are always expensive and require long term planning and risky . 

However, large hydroelectric dams can’t be built just anywhere. Hydro plants need a consistent supply of water and a large amount of land. Some countries have plenty of these resources; others do not. Poorly planned hydropower can also cause more problems for the climate than it prevents."You don't want to just be advocating hydro everywhere."[MIT climate]

Does it even matter?
Recall from R1: "Nuclear fission technology is the only developed energy source that is capable of delivering the enormous quantities of energy that will be needed to run modern industrial societies safely, economically, reliably and in a sustainable way, both environmentally and as regards the available resource base"  [sciencedirect]. Even if the energy sources mentioned above were perfectly clean with no downsides, the rejection of nuclear energy would still be an immense blow to the fight against climate change. A study shows that with hindsight, certain investment in renewables would have been better spent on nuclear energy: "With Nuclear Instead of Renewables, California & Germany Would Already Have 100% Clean Electricity" [12]. This essentially confirms the foundation of my case. As my R1 expert explained, nuclear energy is our best bet at beating the fossil fuels industry as quickly and fully as possible. The main downside of alternative sources is not that they are more dangerous than nuclear, but that they can't replace fossil fuels the way nuclear can. Regardless, every green source is better than any carbon-based source. Plus, all renewables have their own niche to fill.

Unlike CON, I am not here to present a black-and-white picture. Every source of energy has advantages and trade-offs, the goal is to achieve balance. We need an energy economy where everything fits its role. Fossil fuels as the backbone of our energy economy needs to be replaced by nuclear energy. It is a robost and reliable energy source that will last into the far future. The risks involved are scary, but statistically insignificant. CON presenting renewables as cheap, harmless and "genuine" as opposed to the devious dangerous nuclear option is not only wrong because nuclear is safe enough, but also because renewables are just as imperfect. Nuclear plants can continue running for decades at three times the efficiency, all the while pumping out more total energy while requiring less space and maintenance. The cost of nuclear is a result of discriminatory policies and lack of compensation for its low-carbon nature [my R1 experts]. The other renewables are vastly inferior to fusion energy, but even fision reactors available today are better suited for upscaling and a quick replacing of fossil fuels. This is a point CON simply ignored, so he has not disputed nuclear suppremacy in the context of climate change.  

Nuclear energy is the perfect candidate to replace fossil fuels and become the backbone of a new substainable energy economy. The resolution holds true.

I'd like to clarify 2 errors made by me in R1.

all of the drawbacks of NE are present and pretty much as, if not more, severe in NE.
I meant all of the drawbacks of RE are present and pretty much as, if not more, severe in NE.

I typed NE but meant NP, I'll clarify in the next Round, it meant nuclear energy, I used the key a bit wrong.

Safety concerns
Nuclear dissasters[sic] with grave consequences have occured a few times. But you know what also occurs? Plane crashes.
The reason he had to use plane crashes as the analogy is that RE doesn't have big accidents with grave consequences to compare NP accidents to. In fact, the entire 'safety concerns' section was a concession to NP being riddled with problems that can be so unbelievably severe.

The safety concerns, explored in my own R1, include the entire place being deemed unlivable and those that remain even close to it Chernobyl have inadvertendly led their children to have increased instances of thyroid cancer due to just drinking milk that had been from cows that ate contaminated grass in/near the area.

Among the residents of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, as of 2015 there had been almost 20,000 cases of thyroid cancer reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident. Approximately 5,000 of these thyroid cancers are likely attributable to children drinking fresh milk containing radioactive iodine from cows who had eaten contaminated grass in the first few weeks following the accident. The remaining 15,000 cases are due to a variety of factors, such as increased spontaneous incidence rate with aging of the population, awareness of thyroid cancer risk after the accident, and improved diagnostic methods to detect thyroid cancer.

The issue isn't just that there and then the radiation hurts the people around it, it's long-term and affects children. In fact, even if it did only affect adults, let's truly understand what any accident involved with NP can result in and why basically all countries on the planet avoid powering their nation by it (some may avoid it for cost reasons or whatever).

Rather than just fixate on Chernobyl, which my opponent equates to a rare plane crash, let's identify just what nuclear poisoning/contamination is and how severely it can affect people exposed to it.

Ionizing radiation has sufficient energy to affect the atoms in living cells and thereby damage their genetic material (DNA). Fortunately, the cells in our bodies are extremely efficient at repairing this damage. However, if the damage is not repaired correctly, a cell may die or eventually become cancerous.

Exposure to very high levels of radiation, such as being close to an atomic blast, can cause acute health effects such as skin burns and acute radiation syndrome (“radiation sickness"). It can also result in long-term health effects such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Exposure to low levels of radiation encountered in the environment does not cause immediate health effects, but is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk.

'Ionizing radiation' does indeed refer to nuclear, it is another name that is more specifically precise, since it refers to ions and electrons being involved, not only to the nucleus of the atom. 

Low doses of nuclear radiation are more likely to change cells by modifying DNA, while high doses tend to kill cells.

So long-term exposure to low doses of radiation increase the odds of getting cancer, while a single high dose will quickly cause immediate damage to cells and tissues — a process used effectively to kill tumour cells in radiation therapy.

Very high doses like those experienced by workers at the site of nuclear accidents (several thousand times higher than the background radiation level) cause extensive damage, resulting in a range of symptoms known collectively as radiation sickness. Extremely high doses can kill in days or weeks.

My opponent can say this is rare, like plane accidents, he can even assert that the workers knew the risks and that the plants can be located away from residential areas but what he cannot explain is why it's worth it. When I tell you all life is affected, I mean even animals and plants. Why would it be worth contaminating an entire area, even of sparsely populated regions where plants and animals are affected but not humans other than the workers on-site? This kind of risk is not only unnecessary but as I already said, nuclear materials are non-renewable and not evenly accessible to the world.

This leads me on to the 'devious' aspect
The reason that the past of NP is extremely important to take into account is that a lot of science carried out, especially during the rise of NP in UK and Russia, was done under a context where you had to be pro-NP to get grants on any research to do with it. After the Chernobyl disaster, in 1986, even Thatcher (who had been so pro-NP since 1975) began to steer away from pushing for it much. After that, many nations who were beginning to look into it shut down all non-military research regaridng nuclear fission (and in modern times some are cautiously looking at fusion except for China, but humans suffering (such as from radiation poisoning or oppression) there doesn't seem to be a primary government concern).

If we are to seriously address if NP is safe, reliable and productive to a sufficient level that it is to be deemed better than RE, we ought to appreciate that almost all experimental data is made by people who badly want NP back or even want to research militaristically and want a good cover to be legalised and made mainstream (enabling more to be researched and produced for their agenda).

The flip side is that RE has no cover up... You can't really and nobody has ever, to my knowledge, conceal militaristic or non-RE research and activity as RE, that just doesn't tend to happen at all. Furthermore, the research supporting RE is often done by people fighting against the corporate chokehold on grants and very few corporations even have a direct interest in RE, because fossil fuels are just so much more lucrative to invest in, they're going more expensive than ever today, if one avoids investing in Russia-linked ones.

If we are to see a future where all nations begin to adopt NP to cope with reduced reliance on fossil fuels, we surely must accept that many will have brutal accidents harming entire cities with major chain reactions if quarantine and embargo doesn't happen fast enough (milk from cow who ate grass in Chernobyl caused harm to people several cities away in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine that drank it, significantly harming their thyroids, the source was given earlier).

So, why not RE?

To counter RE, Pro adds a lot of biased terminology to each sections and tends to only use one source to even begin to hint at anything about the problems he mentions.

With Solar Energy he inserts 'extreme amounts' where he never justified them being extreme:
Extreme ammounts of waste is being produced by the need for replacing them, 50 times more than was expected [8].
his source has a pay wall and forces you to sign up to read, after you've read one article, so an average viewer can't see the context. Nobody knows the context. Even if there was literally 50 time smore waste than expected, nobody sees how harmful that is or isn't. 50 times more 'slightly unhappy' people to something is manageable but 50 times mroe 'clincically depressed' people is a severe issue to deal with.

I already gave a source in Round 1 that backs up solar panels being recyclable. As for the waste, anything can be 50 times more waste than you expect if you were naive enough to expect 50 times less. No context whatsoever is given by Pro.

If Pro wants to tell you drawbacks to RE, I will outdo every drawback by several advantages. If this is a listing battle, I'm happy to fight it that way.

Solar Panels
#1 Cuts down the energy you use from the Grid. Of course, solar power doesn’t work at night, so for those who don’t have solar batteries installed, they still need to be connected to the National Grid if they don’t have enough energy to run the home after dark. However, it is still massively reducing their dependence on the National Grid.
#2 No emissions. As solar energy relies entirely on gathering energy from the sun and converting it into electricity (or hot water) for use in our home, using it means that you are not producing any greenhouse gases or contributing to global warming. It can reduce the carbon footprint of your home by 80% in one year.
#3 It’s renewable. Solar energy is a form of renewable energy. This means that there is plenty of it to go around because it is an energy source that won’t run out (not for another few billion years anyway). Fossil fuels are a finite source of energy, and one that we damage the planet with when we mine and distribute it. By relying on solar panels, you are one less household that is relying on fossil fuels, and it can make a bigger impact than you might think.
#4 They last a long time and require little to no maintenance. The manufacturing process for solar panels is not perfect, something that we will look at further in the next section, but the fact that they last so long and don’t need much maintenance is good news. Conventional heating methods require relatively regular replacement and maintenance, which can cause a lot of environmentally unfriendly waste, as well as increase the need for more units to be made. Solar panels last about 50 years, so you shouldn’t need to replace them for a long time.

Wind/Turbine Power
  • Generating energy from the wind does not release any carbon emissions. By replacing electricity generated from other sources such as fossil fuel power stations, wind energy can lead to an overall reduction in carbon emissions.
  • The energy used in manufacturing and installing wind turbines can also be paid back relatively quickly. For a large wind turbine on a good site this can be as quick as six to eight months.
  • It is a very clean energy source, which does not release any pollution or produce any waste during operation.

Pro asserts a conspiracy theory suddenly that has zero things backing it up:
These two are the only power sources that are responsible for less human deaths than nuclear relative to energy production.
This is a very weird wording. Chernobyl killed 31-50 people.

So, what is it hydropower did worse exactly? Even if somehow 51 people died to fossil fuels, this wording is so utterly strange because what is it he's referring to?!

The true death toll of the Chernobyl disaster is difficult to judge because of the long-lasting health effects of radioactive pollution. The official death toll directly attributed to Chernobyl that is recognized by the international community is just 31 people with the UN saying it could be 50.
Full screen
The giant protective dome built over the sarcophagus covering the destroyed fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Sergei Supinsky (AFP)
However, hundreds of thousands of “liquidators” were sent in to put out the fire at the nuclear power plant and clean up the Chernobyl site afterwards. The number could be as high as 830,000 but only 600,000 were given official status which comes with significant social benefits for healthcare and retirement.
Death and disability rates among liquidators soared over the years. However, health studies on them have not shown “any direct correlation between their radiation exposure and an increase in other forms of cancer or disease,” according to the IAEA. Psychological trauma from Chernobyl remains widespread and profound resulting in “suicides, drinking problems and apathy.”
There number of documented cases of thyroid cancer in children has also been far higher than normal. Young children are particularly susceptible to absorbing radioactive iodine, which was ejected from the core of Chernobyl, which can trigger cancers.

As for Hydropower, his own source concedes that it's the biggest source of RE and extremely widespread. In fact, the entire stance of the source he uses is that the places investing in and useing hydropower are so into it that they've used up all the safe places it can be used and have begun to make dams and reservoirs where things must be altered for the sake of it. I am perplexed as to how Pro can say that's a big bad problem when to make a nuclear plant, you need a huge amount of land space, do you think that some area is magically free, flat and wildlife free? Even if you build it where a building used to be, there's no place with cement and buildings on it that didn't shift the natural landscape, god forbid a Chernobyl version 2 happens.

Let's list the irrefutable advantages of hydropower to again counteract his 'list one drawback' tactic.

Hydropower is a renewable source of energy. The energy generated through hydropower relies on the water cycle, which is driven by the sun, making it renewable.
  • Hydropower is fueled by water, making it a clean source of energy.
  • Hydroelectric power is a domestic source of energy, allowing each state to produce its own energy without being reliant on international fuel sources.
  • Impoundment hydropower creates reservoirs that offer recreational opportunities such as fishing, swimming, and boating. Most hydropower installations are required to provide some public access to the reservoir to allow the public to take advantage of these opportunities. 
  • Hydroelectric power is flexible. Some hydropower facilities can quickly go from zero power to maximum output. Because hydropower plants can generate power to the grid immediately, they provide essential backup power during major electricity outages or disruptions.
  • Hydropower provides benefits beyond electricity generation by providing flood control, irrigation support, and clean drinking water.
  • Hydropower is affordable. Hydropower provides low-cost electricity and durability over time compared to other sources of energy. Construction costs can even be mitigated by using preexisting structures such as bridges, tunnels, and dams.
  • Hydropower compliments other renewable energy sources. Technologies like pumped storage hydropower (PSH) store energy to use in tandem with renewables such as wind and solar power when demand is high.

So, he tells you something about each, makes a conspiracy theory about more people dying and being harmed by it than NP and I tell you the advantages and question the entire credibility of what he's saying.

NP doesn't just kill, it can harm areas for decades.
Round 3
Thank you, RationalMadman. This was an interesting tournament.

This round I will provide some elaboration and rebuttal just to tie loose ends, and lastly wrap up my case and give my take on the debate.

The statistical safety of nuclear energy is not a conspiracy theory but a well-attested fact. My sources were indeed taking into consideration the indirect deaths and damage of Chernobyl and Fukushima, not only the dozen people killed in the explosions. "Chernobyl was the first instance of a nuclear accident at this scale. From a technical perspective, the nuclear reactors at Chernobyl were poorly designed to deal with such a scenario. Its fatal RBMK reactor had no containment structure, allowing radioactive material to spill into the atmosphere. Nonetheless, of the two largest nuclear disasters, the death toll was of the order of thousands, and hundreds in the latest. Far fewer than the millions who die every year from impacts of other conventional energy sources." [My R1 and R2 source on nuclear safety]. The contention of nuclear reactor safety is not defeated by CON.

He simply points out a few obvious facts about Ionizing radiation, like how low levels of radiation in the enviroment slightly increases cancer risk. This does not in any way prove nuclear waste to be dangerous. Recall that 50 times the normal radiation doesn't harm people near a hydrothermal vent in Iran. Recall that coal ash leads to far more radioactive exposure than nuclear waste. Recall that nuclear waste is both stored safely and easily recylceable. CON ignores these points without a sufficient justification.

The Chernobyl group received doses of radiation equivalent to more than 12,000 chest x-rays and likely to cause one extra death in a hundred by increasing the risk of cancer.
The health risks associated with air pollution and passive smoking appear more severe. Pollution in central London increases mortality due to heart and lung disease by 2.8% compared with Inverness, Britain's least polluted city, while living with a smoker increases mortality by 1.7%, the study found. [6]
CON's fears of fision reactors in particular are irrational when you look at the safety records. Recall: nuclear has historically been the safest energy source after solar and wind. The story doesn't end here though. New generations of reactors are making nuclear energy safer still [1]. For example, small modular reactors, SMR. Not only are these quick, cheap and easy to produce, but they also are more efficient and safe. They are designed in such a way that even in the worst case scenario where everything that can go wrong does go wrong, a dangerous meltdown is physically impossible [5]. According to the energy department, the source CON cited when talking about hydropower, supports my case. "Dozens of U.S. companies are developing advanced reactor designs that will bring enhanced safety, efficiency, and economics to the nuclear energy industry. X-energy is Developing a Pebble Bed Reactor That They Say Can't Melt Down. It could be available in the market as early as the late 2020s" [ibid]. Incidents like Chernobyl will be a thing of the past.


Issues of toxic waste from solar power
The expectations that are being exceeded fiftyfold are not some arbitrary optimism, but are official IRENA estimates. "Large amounts of annual waste are anticipated by the early 2030s and could total 78 million tonnes by the year 2050. If early replacements occur as predicted by our statistical model, they can produce 50 times more waste in just four years than IRENA anticipates. That figure translates to around 315,000 metric tonnes of waste. Alarming as they are, these stats may not do full justice to the crisis, as our analysis is restricted to residential installations. With commercial and industrial panels added to the picture, the scale of replacements could be much, much larger." [R2 source, Harvard Business Review]. According to these economic experts, the economic incentives OVERWHELMINGLY favor dumping these panels rather than recycling them. Even if we wanted to, and could afford it, the infrastructure to recycle them would not be built in time. We are guaranteed large amounts of waste, which while theoretically recycleable, practically isn't at the moment. The panel waste we throw at the landfill WILL grow immensely and contaminate ecosystems by getting washed into nature [2]. Wind turbins and solar have the same problem.

From CON's source, I can add:
  • Solar farms are very area-intensitive and incompatible with local agriculture
  • Water usage is too high. "Concentrating solar thermal plants require large quantities of water for the cooling systems that have been installed. Unfortunately, many of the areas in the world with the highest potential for solar efficiency also have some of the driest climates"
  • The manufactoring process produces hazardous materials and causes polution

Wind turbines problems
CON does not contest any of the disadvantages of wind turbines that I mentioned last round. Instead, his own source confirms those problems. Wind turbines harm flying animals, are noisy and block the view in otherwise natural enviroments and they require a lot of infrastructure to be built. They are hard to recycle.

Hydropower accidents
As I said in R1 but CON ignored so far, hydropower dam failures are a far bigger problem than nuclear accidents. "Hydroelectric power stations are built under strict safety standards and regulations; however, Neither large nor small countries have been able to avert catastrophic dam or waterworks failures despite the safety checks put in place." [R1 source]. Let me spell out a short list of the damage of a few such events: Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate in multiple countries during multiple incidents. Flooding destroys hundreds of villages. There are enourmous blackouts, ruined enviroments, and yes, hundreds of deaths as a result of dam failures. The world’s deadliest energy accident was not Chernobyl; it was the collapse of a cascade of Chinese dams during a flood in 1975.

26,000 people died in the floods. In addition, an estimated 145,000 people died from epidemics (caused by contamination of the water) and from famine; some estimates put the total death toll at more than 220,000. The number of people affected by the disaster exceeded 10 million [4].
For comparison, the highest estimates for the death toll of Chernobyl predict 9.000-60.000 deaths, and the more recent Fukushima accident didn't even kill a fraction of that number [ibid]. Unlike nuclear accidents, hydrodam failures are still occuring today with great consistency. Between 2000 and 2009, 200 notable dam failures occured [3]. Weather plays a crucial role in hydropower. The aforementioned Chinese dams were constructucted to withstand a thousand year typhoon, but collapsed under the suprising pressure of one twice as strong as expected. As the climate changes and extreme weather intensifies, we can expect the safety of hydropower to plummet.

Further issues 
Let us also not forget about the fact that hydropower is riddled with enviromental problems even when it functions as intended. Reservoirs drastically change river flows and the landscape to the detriment of the local ecosystems. It harms animal populations, degrades water quality and builds up sediments. Sometimes dams  unintentionally cause more pollution than a coalplant. According to the world bank, hydropower displaces 80 million people and creates huge problems for half a billion people [R2]. "The most suitable sites have already been tapped, and builders are moving into more hazardous regions such as the Himalayas or deeper into protected areas like the Amazon" [8]. Scaling up hydropower is sure to be even more dangerous for people and the planet. Climate change and a struggling enviroment also affects hydropower: "Severe droughts are drying up rivers and reservoirs vital for the production of zero-emissions hydropower in several countries around the globe, leading governments to rely more heavily on fossil fuels. The emerging problems with hydropower production represent what scientists and energy experts say is going to be a long-term issue for the industry as climate change triggers more erratic weather and makes water access less reliable." [7].

CON's entire case, as proclaimed by himself, is one big false dichotomy: "the dangerous, devious and non-renewable nuclear [vs] the safe, genuinely invested in RE". This is nonsensical since ALL clean energy sources are safe compared to the carbon industry and climate change. Hydropower and the rest have numerous problems muddling the line between clean and dirty. CON's insistense on significant danger only from nuclear energy flies in the face of emperical data. 


Area usage
CON argues that no energy source, not even nuclear, can avoid taking up space. But that doesn't invalidate my point. Renewables require a large share of our limited land resources. . "A typical 1,000-megawatt nuclear facility in the United States needs a little more than 1 square mile to operate. Wind farms require 360 times more land area to produce the same amount of electricity and solar photovoltaic plants require 75 times more space. Nuclear provides nearly 20% of our electricity in the United States. It’s also the nation’s largest source of clean energy—making up more than half of our emissions-free electricity. That’s more than all of the renewables combined." []. Nuclear can output the same ammount of electricity without taking up huge swaths of land or water resources.

A single NuScale nuclear power module is 76-feet tall and 15-feet in diameter, and sits in a plant covering less than a tenth of a square mile or about 60 acres.In comparison, it takes at least 130,000 acres, or about 200 square miles, of wind farms to produce the same amount of energy as one NuScale 12-pack [ibid].
These new modular reactors I talked about earlier can be installed anywhere, cheaply, without taking up valuable space and with no posibility of another Chernobyl.

All renewable energy sources are sustainable. CON tried, but failed, to argue that nuclear fuel is a restricted resource. Just the radioactive fuel we know of today will last for millenias. Nuclear waste can easily be recycled for far more energy than the original reactors managed to extract. Future innovations will unlock more energy reservoirs in the elements around us. Fusion energy, a subcategory of nuclear energy, will soon hit the market with the potention for providing limitless energy; as we have enough hydrogen fuel for literally 30 times the lifespan of the sun. CON never even tries to challenge this.

Solar and wind, the safest energy sources, are highly unreliable energy sources that are only able to complement a larger energy backbone. Hydrodams, especially variants with pumped storage, can become this baseload in a select few countries with massive ammounts of running water like my country Norway. That said, hydrodams built today are not guaranteed to work in the future, as climate change threatens to change weather patterns and hamstring the hydropower industry by drying up reservoirs and straight up breaking dams with floods and extreme weather. When it comes to reliability, nuclear energy is superior in every sense of the word. Older reactors have run at full capacity 92% of the time for more than 40 years and will continue to do so for more decades to come with no signs of stopping.  

A typical nuclear reactor produces 1 gigawatt of electricity. That doesn’t mean you can simply replace it with a 1 gigawatt coal or renewable plant. Based on the capacity factors above, you would need almost two coal or three to four renewable plants to generate the same amount of electricity onto the grid. [R1]
Now onto the crux:

Nuclear energy pumps out a massive ammount of energy. 10% of global electricity needs are covered by only 440 nuclear reactors, and that energy is consentrated in a few countries that use it -- like France, who already decarbonized using 74% nuclear [R1]. While the total energy output of hydropower is slightly higher, nuclear energy is FAR more efficient and powerfull. But there are just more hydro dams than fision reactors, they are being built in every suitable location and also where they shoulnd't be. Scaling this power source up to replace fossil fuels is unfeasible. "Many wealthy countries, including the U.S., have already built out most of their suitable hydro resources. Places like China and Brazil have large planned hydro projects that will come online in the next few years, but rather than replace fossil fuel resources, these dams will be used to expand electricity access to areas that don't have it." [R2]. 

The best candidate for replacing fossil fuels is nuclear energy, which so far has been held back by discriminatory policies caused by public fear [R1]. The reason renewables are overtaking nuclear in terms of energy production is that they are being subsidised while nuclear is both uncompensated for its low-carbon nature AND being hamstrung by laws and decomissioning. "By expanding its use, modern and affordable energy can be provided to all who currently lack access, whilst reducing the human impact on the natural environment, and ensuring that the world’s ability to meet its other sustainable development goals is not curtailed." [R1]. 

"In the unavoidable process of gradually replacing fossil fuels, many energy technologies may be considered and most will be deployed in specific applications. However, in the long term, nuclear fission technology is the only developed energy source that is capable of delivering the enormous quantities of energy that will be needed to run modern industrial societies safely, economically, reliably and in a sustainable way, both environmentally and as regards the available resource base. The emphasis should be on converting the major part of the world's electrical energy generation capacity from fossil fuels to nuclear fission. This can realistically be achieved within a few decades, as has already been done in France during the 1970s and 1980s. Such an energy transformation would reduce the global emissions of carbon dioxide profoundly, as well as cutting other significant greenhouse gases like methane. Industrial nations should take the lead in this transition." [R1].

I want you voters to understand that this last R1 export source of mine is a scientific paper which has been cited by 87 other scientific  papers. They delve into the science, the history, the economics and politics of nuclear energy and the other energy sources. The authors and co-authors confirm the economic viability and upscaling abilities of fision reactors based on historic precedence as seen in for example France. Their conclusion is that while all clean energy sources have their niche, only nuclear fision is capable of quickly and efficiently replacing the current energy king that is fossil fuels. CON fails to challenge my citing of this paper even though it alone carries enough weight to support the resolution. I extend and urge voters to consider my BoP fullfilled beyond reasonable doubt.

I provided a framework in R1. CON never objected to it or provided an alternative to it, so it is a settled framework. The interpreted resolution is as follows:

Nuclear energy is the strongest alternative for replacing fossil fuels and fullfilling their role as the backbone of the energy economy.
My position is not trying to prove that nuclear energy alone is better than the entire green energy economy (as CON seems to believe), but whether or not the green shift would be best served if nuclear energy took of and became the backbone of the energy economy, the reliable baseload that everything else supplements from their perfect niches. CON's BoP was to prove that nuclear shouldn't be the backbone, that it should take a minor role or disappear entirely. I would argue that he fails to fullfill his BoP. He subtly ignores the context of stopping climate change. He wasted most of the debate by fixating on the alledged dangers of nuclear, which I have shown to be negliable. Furthermore, renewable energy sources carry a hefty enviromental prize tag and cause far more damage themselves. So his main critique of nuclear energy backfires spectacularly. This renders his entire case moot. 

My case was built on cold hard facts regarding the advantages of nuclear. Despite its obvious imperfections, overall it is the perfect candidate to replace fossil fuels. Nuclear energy is safe, reliable, efficient, sustainable, scaleable and with incredible potential. It can be built anywhere and without the need for large enviromental changes. It doesn't depend on sporadic weather patterns and thus isn't hindered by climate change. The technology is rappidly developing and becomming more efficient and safe. Fusion energy and fourth generation fision reactors are right around the corner which opens the door to unlimited energy. Most of these points went unchallenged. My BoP is fullfilled.

Nuclear energy is a better replacement for fossil fuels than alternative energy sources. The resolution holds.

I urge readers to VOTE PRO!!!

Summarising my case.

My case is a simple one yet backed up from many angles despite its simplicity.

When approaching 'better' it is sometimes simpler to see the drawbacks and work backwards, this is what I encourage and what my opponent has failed to oppose in this debate. Both NP and the renewable alternatives have their advantages but the numerous disadvantages of NP make it just fairly undeniably the more cumbersome option.

Remember that to even attain radioactive material requires energy (thus power) and that every single stage of uranium (or equivalent) extraction is both energy-heavy and brutally devastating if any safety procedures are not correctly adhered to. On the other hand, RE is passively available to the entire world, poor or rich country, dictatorship or democracy. This means that to take advantage of something that is passively available in abundance across a variety of forms is to stop wasting what we already are wasting, whereas to pursue NP, the very dilemma that has led to the West becoming very dependent on Middle Eastern and Russian oil needn't occur at all.

We are talking about fixing the dependence on non-renewable unevenly available resources (coal, oil, gas take your pick) and the solution offered is one that not only will have uneven availability of resources but uneven ability to extract them. Even the poorest nation you can think of, if taught how to properly harness solar, wind, hydro, tidal, biomass and/or geothermal energy will (once understanding just how independent it can become) leap at the opportunity or at least it should if it wants what's best for its people and environment.

Clarifying my rebuttals to Pro's case and his to mine.

Pro's rebuttals largely revolve around the fact that nuclear waste can be recycled but even that recycling is very energy intensive, complex and (because it's barely ever been explored) we still don't know the problems attached to NP in terms of its byproducts since when it really got propery implemented in Chernobyl an accident happened bad enough and soon enough that it's essentially impossible to tell what is damage due to the accident or damage due to the overall handling of nuclear waste there.

A lot of renewable energy 'waste' is, if not recyclable very straightforward in terms of how to dispose of it and store it and solar panels themselves are indeed recyclable it's just that at the moment for the coating/painting and some other niche areas of production, it's not purely sustainable/recyclable.

The fact is that nuclear waste being 90%ish recyclable in theory has very little impact on all the other areas of harm and cost involved. To get to uranium, thorium, plutonium etc the harm to the environment and landscape will be beyond anything Pro suggested hydropower has caused via dams and reservoirs.

I ask you, judges of this debate and future audience readers, to please consider what the better replacement to fossil fuels is; a non-renewable highly dangerous and not at all passively available resource or the natural sources of energy that we just didn't quite know how to fully take advantage of in the past (though wind and hydropower have been somewhat taken advantage of since ancient times, just look at a windmill).

Thank you for reading, it was a very interesting debate to participate in.