Pelindaba Nuclear station South Africa. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Energy: Nuclear power: Location factors

  • The pollution caused by nuclear power plants and the ever present danger of a melt down and nuclear fall-out have made such plants very sensitive in terms of location relative to areas of high population densities.
  • Environmentalists in advanced countries have, through demonstrations, led to the shutdown of nuclear power stations.
  • For these reasons, nuclear power plants are best located in isolated remote areas.
  • They are also located far from human settlements in order to dispose of their nuclear wastes freely.
  • Since large quantities of water are used at nuclear power stations, they therefore must locate near large rivers or near coastlines.
  • Large areas of land is also needed to build the power plants.
  • Other important factors in the production of nuclear power which are not locational in nature include demand, capital and technology or skills.
  • Building a nuclear power station is very expensive and therefore large amounts of capital must be available.
  • Countries with nuclear power stations include the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan and Italy.
  • Well trained nuclear physicists must also be available to build and maintain the stations.
  • For a country to build nuclear power stations, the demand for electrical energy has to be very high to warrant the construction of such expensive plants.

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