Should the UK build more Nuclear Power Stations?
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Should the UK build more Nuclear Power Stations? Contents Page Introduction Page1 Background Information: Page2 * Fuels used in a Nuclear reactor Page2 * Nuclear Fission Page2-3 * Nuclear Waste Page3-4 * Building, Maintaining and Decommissioning a Nuclear Power Plant Page4-5 A "brief" summary of the argument for and against nuclear power stations being built in the UK Page5-7 Conclusion Page7-8 Bibliography Page8-9 Introduction In this case study I am going to try to figure out if the UK should build more nuclear power stations to keep up with rising demand for electricity because this is a subject close to me as I will have to be an adult in a world where fossil fuels are running out and my generation will have to find other, hopefully renewable sources of energy to continue our way of life, even if it is wasteful. To do this I must research other possible energy sources and the impact of using each singularly, or together, then I will see if the source is compatible with the UK, as there may not be sufficient land or the material and building costs may be too high. I will do this by reviewing websites such as the BBC and see if the source is reliable, I will do this by checking if they are a well known scientific group or publisher, I will also use my own knowledge and books such as the GCSE Science Higher text book. I will have to research the costs for building, maintenance and decommission, I will also have to research the dangers and the possible environmental impact in using nuclear power.
of electricity produced by nuclear power, taking into account the cost of building, maintaining and decommissioning power stations. 5 The Royal Academy of Engineers' figures shown above are some of the most optimistic, and are similar to quotes by the nuclear industry for a new generation of reactors. A 2002 UK government report said the power from Sizewell B, the most recently built reactor, costs 6p/kWh. By 2020 it is estimated that the cost would have dropped to 3-4p/kWh, although the anti-nuclear New Economics Foundation said that such costs are dramatically underestimated and could cost twice as much. British Energy estimated that overall the cost of operating its power stations from April-September 2007 was 2.6p/kWh. Behind these variations lies a series of costs which are difficult to quantify. Nuclear construction costs have a history of exploding over budget and past decommissioning bills have been large, although, proponents say better technology will bring financial improvements to both areas. Basically, while the initial costs are high, the cost of nuclear power doesn't fluctuate and spiral with uranium prices in the way that electricity from fossil fuels do.5 A "brief" summary of the argument for and against nuclear power stations being built in the UK. Nuclear power generation emits low amounts of "carbon dioxide and the emissions of green house gasses"; therefore the contribution of nuclear power plants to global warming is relatively small. Also the technology is ready and available, meaning it does not have to be developed first and it is possible to generate a high amount of electricity from a single plant.6 Also, although Chernobyl was the worst nuclear accident in history it is still not a convincing argument as, technically,
However, wind could also be a good combination along with nuclear power as wind farms are quick and cheap to build, but cost a lot in maintenance and could possibly be an eyesore (OH NO) while nuclear power stations take a long time to build and are expensive, yet maintenance is relatively easy and cheap, although decommissioning nuclear power stations can take a long time and cost a lot, as well as contaminating the ground on which it has been built. Whereas Greenpeace disagree, saying "Nuclear power is a dangerous distraction from the real solutions to tackling climate change. It is a relic of an out of date, centralised and wasteful energy system and will leave a lethal legacy of radioactive contamination for many thousands of years. Currently two thirds of our energy from power stations in the UK is lost through wasted heat - up the chimneys and down the power lines - because it's produced a long way from where it's needed. We need to generate power closer to where it is required, allowing us to use both the heat for central heating and hot water, and the electricity for our other needs. This is known as a decentralised energy system. If we combined decentralised energy generation with renewable energy and energy efficiency it could deliver 30 per cent larger carbon dioxide savings than building new nuclear power stations. If we truly want to tackle climate change, now is the time to look forward, not back. We urgently need to embrace a cleaner, cheaper and more efficient energy solution to our problems and leave the outdated, unreliable and dangerous nuclear technology back in the last century, where it belongs.
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