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nuclear power

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Introduction

Should nuclear power be used?

Nuclear power stations use uranium -235 to create heat which is used to heat up water, the steam from the water is used to turn a turbine which powers a generator which creates electricity. Susie believes nuclear power is clean energy with very little effect on the environment. However Alan believes nuclear power is dangerous because it is unsafe and could damage the environment and be dangerous to humans.

What Susie has said is true; nuclear power is clean energy because it does not release any pollutants or toxic gases. This is because the energy created in a nuclear power station is done by using the power of the atom to create heat energy. Although it doesn’t release pollutants in the air it releases radiation. This however does not get release outside of the container which is lined with lead to stop any radiation escaping. This allows the area surrounding the nuclear power station to be safe. The area can be contaminated if the protective dome of the container becomes damaged or cracked. This would allow radiation from the station to escape. This is but a small issue as all nuclear power stations are fully maintained to prevent any harm to the environment. There is a vast amount of uranium so uranium -235 would be a fuel that could be used for years to come.

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Middle

When the protective barrier which stops the radiation from escaping becomes damaged through lack of maintenance the nuclear core could explode. This could result in tons of nuclear waste being released into the environment. This would severely affect the humans, animals and plants in the area causing their DNA to be altered and damaged. This could result in the children born to these people to have mutations because their DNA is not normal.

A famous example of a nuclear core exploding is the nuclear power station is Chernobyl Ukraine. The area around the power station was hugely contaminated with radiation. The radiation also formed clouds which caused the water molecules in the clouds to become radioactive causing the rain to be radioactive. When the clouds formed some were blown over other parts of Europe causing other countries to have radioactive rain falling on them.

Fuel

Immediate fatalities
1970-92

Coal

6400

Natural gas

1200

Hydro

4000

Nuclear

31

This table shows that the immediate deaths from nuclear fuel were far fewer than coal, natural gas and hydro electric fuels. The immediate fatalities of nuclear are nearly 38x less than natural gas. This however cannot is not sufficient to allow nuclear power stations to be built because it may take people many years to die from radiation poisoning.

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Conclusion

The most important aspect of any power station is whether it is safe to the general public and also the surrounding area and ecosystem. Most of the nuclear power stations that had nuclear meltdowns did not have many immediate deaths, but deaths in the following years. Some deaths in the surrounding areas today may have been caused by the nuclear meltdowns.

After taking both points of view into contention I find I agree more strongly with Susie. This is because nuclear fuel ultimately will someday have to replace fossil fuels as they are running out. Another reason is 75% of French power is from nuclear energy and there have been no disasters in France due to nuclear energy. France now has significantly reduced their co2 emissions into the atmosphere as they burn much less fossil fuels for electricity. There is still the risk that the nuclear core of a nuclear power station could explode causing the area to become contaminated. This is a risk countries may have to take  if they want to reduce the levels of co2 they produce.

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