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Senior Capstone 2021

Atoms for Stewardship: Nuclear Energy, Sustainability, and Public Health

Abstract: This paper examines the history of selected nuclear accidents and frames the risks inherent in atomic energy production within the greater context of the costs of fossil fuel consumption. The analysis presents the efficiencies of nuclear power when compared to other forms of electricity generation, as well as the relatively low mortality rates and environmental impacts. In comparing the world’s worst polluters, I find that the United States is far behind other countries which prioritize nuclear programs as part of sustainable development and argue we must either embrace nuclear energy and the risks that come with it, or else work to greatly reduce our dependence on energy to avoid catastrophic outcomes for the environment we have proved unwilling or unable to mitigate.

John Sun is a senior economics and accounting major from Frederick, Maryland. After graduating in 2022, he plans to obtain a CPA license and pursue graduate studies in economics.