As communities around the world continue to expand and modernize, it has become significant to address the increasing energy needs. The expansion and modernization of communities come together with the proliferation of aspects that are synonymous with modern-day living such as the use of appliances and gadgets that depend on electricity. However, the use of fossil fuel power plants to address the concern has brought about an assortment of problems that need to be properly scrutinized before their implementation (Land, 2012).
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The inherent problem in utilizing fossil fuel power plants is the resulting carbon dioxide waste that is expelled into the atmosphere. The increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere results in a significant accumulation of contaminated air that can cause various respiratory diseases (Land, 2012).
Harrison (2006) reveals that China possesses one of the world’s most extensive power grids that utilize dozens of fossil fuel burning power plants. As a result, the country has seen a rise in respiratory diseases as the amount of smog in the air continues to accumulate. Based on this phenomenon, the use of atomic energy (nuclear power plants) is increasingly deemed a viable option given the amount of power that the country needs. The primary advantage of both the flora and fauna is that nuclear power plants do not release harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Besides, they do not rely on fossil fuels to operate (Harrison, 2006).
However, the members of the international community, especially in the United States, have decried the establishment of nuclear power plants in certain areas in the Middle East. There have been claims that the implementation of energy technology in such countries will result in the production of nuclear fissile material. Harrison (2006) also posits that numerous terrorist factions in the region can also subject the plants to attacks.
The current situation in the Middle East
Energy consumption in the Middle East is subject to a far different set of variable factors as compared to other regions in the world by the virtue of the environmental conditions that are subjected to its citizens. The temperatures in this region reach approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit because of the desert conditions. As a result, more than half of the electricity that is generated is used for air conditioning (Asculai, 2012). However, this energy is primarily produced from the combustion of hydrocarbons in various power plants. While the region is rich in fossil fuels, the fact remains these resources are finite. Irrespective of the government’s move to subsidize the energy costs, alternatives ways of power generation need to be implemented to avert the looming energy crisis.
Energy Consumption in the Middle East
Despite the increased rate of oil production in the Middle East, the region still consumes 20% of the fuel it produces to generate energy from the fossil-based burning plants (Samaan, 2013). It is noted that hydrocarbons are the primary sources of energy produced. A report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) (2013) indicated that by 2011, natural gas accounted for about 51 percent of the region’s supply. Oil contributed to approximately 47 percent followed by coal. The energy obtained from renewable sources comprised the least percentage (Ozcan, 2013).
The Middle East is currently facing problems related to energy security in the presence of ever-increasing demands. This state of affairs has raised concern among many leaders and policymakers in the region. Various disruptions of the establishments of the nuclear plants in the Middle East by the international community have worsened the energy situation. Other countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Afghanistan have been facing political unrest. This situation has led to the destruction of energy generation and supply systems (Ozcan, 2013).
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Renewable energy generation is dominated by the use of solar energy in the Middle East. It is indicated that the cost of solar power has reduced by nearly half in the last three years. Most oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran are shifting from using non-renewable sources to use nuclear energy (Fattouh & El-Katiri, 2013). Indeed, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan have established a policy that guides the implementation of national atomic renewable energy. They are also planning to construct numerous nuclear reactors shortly for energy purposes (Coplen et al., 2006).
The harvesting of energy from the nuclear source has raised a great concern since its production can easily be shifted to military purposes. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is advocating for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The use of nuclear energy has incurred damages to various regions of the world including Fukushima Daiichi in Japan in 2011. Such countries must adhere to the IAEA and United Nations guidelines on climate change as well as the Planning and Economic Study Section (PESS). The involved countries must clarify possible military dimensions they are likely to prefer (Coplen et al., 2006).
Treaties concerning the Usage of the Nuclear Energy
The IAEA has established various treaties concerning the usage of nuclear energy. For instance, there is a transit pact on the shipping of low-enriched uranium (LEU) in Russia (El-Genk, 2008). A treaty was also established between the IAEA and Croatia on the peaceful use of nuclear technology for cancer diagnosis and control of fruit flies in the Balkan in May 2015. Other treaties include the review of Nigeria’s Nuclear Power Infrastructure Development Review, and the Malaysian rare Earth Plants (Shultz, Perry, Kissinger, & Nunn, 2007).
Institutional Capacities and Resources necessary for the Nuclear Energy Issue
Nuclear energy and power plant operations require technical, industrial, legal, and institutional capacities. An incident that happened in Japan revealed that even the most developed countries lack adequate facilities and institutions to manage nuclear power plants in case of accidents occur (Kim, Kim, & Kim, 2013). Some less advanced nations such as Iran, which is at the forefront of developing nuclear power plants, can lead to the emergence of more disasters. Under such situations, the IAEA has been striving to ensure that they conform to the regulations on the usage of nuclear energy (Spalding-Fecher, Winkler, & Mwakasonda, 2005; Land, 2009).
The use of renewable sources of energy in the Middle East is rising. This situation is paramount to alleviate the usage of fossil fuels. Nuclear sources produce clean energy that protects the environment from destruction. Although some of the Middle East nations such as Iran and Pakistan are currently using nuclear energy, there are inadequate institutions and resources to manage such programs successfully. It has also been reported that other countries have hidden motives regarding the establishment of nuclear energy plants.
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