The United States uses more oil per day than any other country in the world. In fact, the US uses triple the amount than the second highest user, China. That is approximately 20 million barrels per day compared to China's 7 million per day. Also, the US uses the most nuclear energy in the world by almost double. Wind and water power usage puts America at third and fourth place respectively. Although, in the United States, oil and nuclear power are obviously favored, energy consumption of all types is extremely high. Switching the numbers for the amount of energy used from oil to wind, for example, may ease the burden on the environment, but reducing overall consumption of energy is a simpler way to ensure continued sustainability with our current resources; not to mention cleaner and healthier living for everyone.
At our current rate, energy consumption between 2006 and 2030 is expected to continue to increase by 44% (1). As most people know, oil is not a renewable energy source and wind/solar/hydro energy doesn't output as highly. That means many more nuclear power plants are likely to be built and 40 more would have to be built over the next 30 years to simply keep up with this current rate. Nuclear power will be a major key in future energy production because of the limited supply of oil which we are tearing through at a ferocious rate, while also reducing CO2 emissions that are the destructive force behind energy from oil (2). Though oil fuel's negative affects are, by now, quite evident, nuclear power isn't without it's own, even more dangerous drawbacks.
World Without Us).
Besides the radiation, uranium itself is a toxic metal and you do not need to handle it to be affected. Studies have found that people living near government facilities, weapons testing grounds (current or in the past), or uranium processing plants easily inhale and ingest uranium dust that causes reproductive defects and failure of the kidney, brain, lungs, and heart. Do not think that this doesn't affect you where you live. Did you know that there is a nuclear reactor on the University of Utah campus? There's also one in Point Beach and Kewaunee, Wisconsin. They are all over and, as described above, more and more will be built in the future. Your region is not safe from a nuclear build site (3).
Bottom line, in an age when consumption of energy, especially oil, is rising and it is clear that other methods of energy production need to be utilized, why haven't more steps been taken in the right direction? Maybe it has something to do with how the top 4 out of 5 most profitable companies in the world are oil companies; including Shell, Exxon, BP, and Chevron (the one non-oil company, if you're curious, is Walmart). Even though nuclear power is second most used in the US, it still only accounts for about 20% of our energy making oil a huge American dependency (and an expensive one). Fuels made from things as simple as corn can be very efficient, but research and actual production of them is quite stifled. In the end, we can try to reduce our own energy consumption which helps greatly, but it's clear that something larger is controlling the energy industry and exploiting it to the max.
Let's re-explore our own options in the reduction of energy consumption, but let's also hold accountable the companies who control the puppet strings of the energy consumer market.