There is an abundance of online material that is relevant to the topic. There are government documents, reports from various bodies, statements from the nuclear industry and from environmental groups, media reports, and so on. Aspects of the debate are reported almost daily. So your problem is to try not to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of possible online sources. As a way in, I suggest that you might want to look at two sources, each focusing on one side of the argument. They are:
In favour of nuclear energy
Please note this is the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) website. Responsibility for nuclear energy has been transferred to a new Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC; http://www.decc.gov.uk/). It is probably easiest simply to search the internet for ‘a white paper on nuclear energy’.
The white paper is the basis for the UK government’s view that ‘it is in the public interest that nuclear power stations should have a role to play in this country’s energy mix’.
In opposition to nuclear energy
- ‘Is nuclear the answer?’, Sustainable Development Commission, 2006
- ‘The role of nuclear power in a low-carbon economy’, Sustainable Development Commission, 2006
A series of eight evidence-based papers on aspects of nuclear energy and a commentary paper. The whole set of papers can be found by searching for ‘Is nuclear the answer?’ and referring to the Sustainable Development Commission.
Both sources are very long and detailed and you are not expected to read through them in great detail. You might find it useful to scan them and to look at the summaries and overviews. While each presents a particular side of the argument, they do so in a context of deliberating over the issues. They are, therefore, useful models of how to present a case based on an interpretation of the evidence.
You need not rely on these sources, or even use them at all. It is quite easy to find relevant material using such keywords as ‘For nuclear energy’, ‘Against nuclear energy’, and so on. And you may like to search some online journals and e-books. The discussion below provides another way of getting into the debate.
There is obviously the potential for far more than an hour’s work here, and you may want to get into the subject more deeply. At this point you may also wish to pause and use the Comments section below to discuss your ideas with other students. But to do this exercise within the time suggested you will just need to grasp the key points. The important thing is that you think about the questions and about your reaction to them.