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Are Nuclear Power Stations the answer to our energy problems

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Introduction

Are Nuclear Power Stations the answer to our energy problems? Nuclear power Nuclear power is a type of nuclear technology involving the controlled use of nuclear reactions to release energy for work including propulsion, heat, and the generation of electricity. Nuclear energy is produced by a controlled nuclear chain reaction and creates heat-which is used to boil water, produce steam, and drive a steam turbine. The turbine can be used for mechanical work and also to generate electricity. It could however, be an answer to the looming energy crisis. Nuclear Energy Nuclear energy is energy released from the atomic nucleus. The conversion of nuclear mass to energy is consistent with the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc�, in which E = energy, m = mass, and c = the speed of light in a vacuum (a physical constant). Nuclear energy is released by three exothermic processes: -Radioactive decay, where a proton or neutron in the radioactive nucleus decays spontaneously by emitting a particle -Fusion, two atomic nuclei fuse together to form a heavier nucleus. -Fission, the breaking of heavy nucleus into two nuclei. Nuclear energy was first discovered accidentally by French physicist Henri Becquerel in 1896, when he found that photographic plates stored in the dark near uranium were blackened in a manner similar to that due to X-Rays, which had been just recently discovered at the time. ...read more.

Middle

Others say that some of the waste should be loaded into rockets and shot at the sun. Some countries have already decided on their plans. Canada is currently looking at a plan to bury their radioactive waste underneath the Canadian Shield. The United States has a plan to bury their waste underground in Nevada where some nuclear experiments and tests have already been conducted. So far, continuing debates have prevented much of anything from being done about nuclear waste. Unfortunately, after buried underground, the nuclear waste can take millions of years to decay. Other Kinds of Nuclear Power Plants There are two other kinds of nuclear power plants; these two are a fission power plant that uses a breeder reactor, and a fusion power plant. Breeder Reactors Another kind of fission reactor is the breeder reactor. A breeder power plant runs the exact same way as a Light-Water power plant described above, except it uses plutonium, instead of uranium, as its fuel. After the plutonium has been taken from the core of the reactor, it can be reprocessed. The plutonium is sent to a reprocessing plant where it is reprocessed and recycled. After this, it is sent back to the nuclear power plant and can be used in the reactor again. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some people say that the Chernobyl accident is responsible for many cases of cancer all across Europe. The scientists and environmentalists fighting against nuclear power, use accidents like these as their argument. The Ongoing Debate Scientists all over the world are debating about nuclear power, and whether or not it is safe to be used. Over 100 nuclear power plants now produce 20% of the United States' electricity alone, but the industry has stopped growing. Nuclear generated electricity is losing its financial advantage over coal-powered electricity. Nuclear power plants still have the advantages of fuel costs and no air or water pollution. In my opinion, the future of nuclear power is hard to predict. I am unsure what the correct answer is but I think you have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. As I have already pointed out there are problems which comes along with Nuclear Power Stations because if something was to go wrong in the reactor the results would be very severe. Also very harmful radiation rays could be/ are released though it is believed that nuclear power is the only energy source that can meet a substantial electricity demand. However this could be the answer to our energy problems, though it could present subsequent obstacles. This pie chart shows how nuclear power stations are distributed across the globe: As you can tell, the majority of these stations are situated in the USA. ...read more.

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