Nuclear energy is the world’s largest source of emission – free energy. Nuclear power plants produce no controlled air pollutants, such as sulfur and particulates, or greenhouse gases.
The use of nuclear energy in place of other energy sources helps to keep the air clean, preserve the Earth’s climate, avoid ground – level ozone formation and prevent acid rain. Off all energy sources nuclear energy has perhaps the lowest impact on the environment, including water,land,habitat,species and the air resources.Nuclear energy is the most eco-efficient of all energy sources beacause it produces the most electricity relative to its environmental impact. Nuclear energy is energy produced from reactions in the nucleus of the atom.
There are two types of nuclear reactions that can be used to generate energy, namely nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. The nuclear power plants that are found throughout the world currently use nuclear fussion reactions, as the fusion- based nuclear plant is still under research and development, and is not espected to be commissioned within the next half century owing to technological difficulties.The use of nuclear technology in the daily lives of mankind, particularly in the field of medicine, started in 1895 following the discovery of x-ray by German professor, Wilhelm Contrad Rontgen. The scientific community continues to explore the characteristics and usage of nuclear energy as well as its benefits to resolve varius issues.
Nuclear power plants and ships that use nuclear power have been developed, nuclear-powered aircraft have been designed, and even nuclear-powered trains are currently being developed. However, issues such as war and nuclear accidents have adverserly impacted public opinion on nuclear technology.Concerns over global warming and the spike in oil prices have renewed worldwide interest in nuclear energy,which, as a mean of generating commercial electricity, had been moribund in the United States since 1970s, and was being rolled back in Germany. About 15 percent of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear power.
Nuclear energy brings with a unique combination of strenghs and weaknesses. Nuclear power is generated inside a plant called a reactor. The power source is the heat produced by a controlled nuclear fission chain reaction, either of uranium or plutonium.This reaction involves an element, such as uranium or plutonium, being struck by a neurons speed out and strike other uranium or plutonium atoms, creating a chain reaction.
The chain reaction in a reaction is controlled by neuron moderators, which vary depending on the design of the reactor. This can be anything from graphite rods to simple water. Once the heat has been released, a nuclear reactor produces electricity in exactly the same manner as any other thermal – based power plant. The heat converts water into steam, and the steam is used to turn the blades of a turbine, which runs the generator.
An example in United States, The U. S. Clean Air Act standsards assume nuclear energy. The U.
S. Clean Air Act of 1970 and related regulations set federally mandated limits on the emission of certain pollutants for states and regions of the country. Both nuclear and fossil power plants operate in those states and regions. Air quality standards established under the Clean Air Act have been calculated, in fact, presuming that 20 percent of the nation’s electricity will continue to be produced by non-emitting nuclear energy, and that 30 percent total will be non-emitting generation.
This is on a national basis.The percent actually varies from state to state, with many states in “non-attainment” areas that have been unable to achieve air quality standards being more heavily dependent on nuclear energy. Nuclear plants help regions meet air pollution standards. Air pollution compliance regulations are actually being enforced against the total supply of electricity, not just facilities that emit pollutants.
Both emission caps and permits under ambient air quality standards represent a predetermined level of pollution rights awailable to a range of industrial activities, one of which is electricity production.These restrictions remain fixed, even if the total amount of electricity needed to satisfy demand in the affected regions of the country rises. A state or region can more easily remain within its emission limitations and still meet its energy needs when emission-free sources are used to satisfy a portion of demand. Nuclear plants also reduce the cost of air pollution control for emitting facilities.
But emission-free sources like nuclear energy do more than help in meeting air pollution standars.When some of the electricity generating units do not need air emission permits, like nuclear facilities, which are not-emitting, more allowable tons remain available to emitting facilities in the same location. Reducing the scarcity of allowable tons lower their price, or reduce the capital expenses needed to reduce emissions. Non-emitting nuclear generation reduces competition for a limited amont of right to pollute created by law.
So, they reduce the actual capital cost of air pollution controls for emiting generation in the same location.The nuclear reaction process itself does not emit greenhouse gases, but emission occurs during nuclear fuel mining and processing, nuclear plant construction and nuclear waste management. However, the amount of emission from the entire nuclear power production chain is much lower than electricity production from fossil fuel sources, especially coal and natural gas, and almost equivalent to electricity production from renewable energy sources. Nitrogen oxides, a precursors of ground- level ozone, provides a good example of how nuclear help the energy industry meet its clean air compliance.
Under recent rules, the Environmental Protection Agency established a cap on this controlled pollutant for 21 eastern states. Nuclear energy has perhaps the lowest impact on the environment especially in relation to kilowatts produced because nuclear plants do not emit harmful gases, require a relatively small area, and effectively minimize or negate other impacts. In other words, nuclear energy is the most “ecologically efficient” of all energy sources because it produces the most electricity in relation to its minimal environmental impact.There are no significant adverse effect to water, land, habitat,species and air resources.
Nuclear energy is an emission –free energy sources because it does not burn anything to produce electricity. Nuclear power plants produce no gases such as nitrogen oxide or sulfur dioxide that could threaten our atmosphere by causing ground –level ozone formation, smog and acid rain. Non does nuclear energy produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases suspected to cause global warming. Throughout the nuclear fuel cycle, the small volume of waste by products actually created is carefully contained, packaged and safely stored.
As a result, the nuclear energy industry is the only industry established since the industrial revoluation that has managed and accounted for all of its waste, preventing adverse impacts to the environment. Nuclear power also provides water quality and equatic life conversation. Water discharge from nuclear power plants contains no harmful pollutants and meets regulatory standarts for temperature designed to protect aguatic life. This water, used for cooling, never comes in contact with radioactive materials.
If the water from the plant is so warm that it may harm marine life, it is cooled before it is discharged to its sources river, lake or bay as it is either mixed with water in cooling pond or pumped through a cooling tower. Nuclear power plants provide land and habitat preservation, because nuclear power plants produce a large amount of electricity in a relatively small space, they require significantly less land for operation than all other energy sources. For instance solar and wind farm must occupy substantially more land, must be sited in geographically unpopulated area far from energy demand.Nuclear plants are so environmentally begin that they enable endangered species to live and thrive nearby.
Such endangered species as osprey,peregrine falcons, bald eagles, red- cockaked woodpecker, and even the beach tiger beetle have found a home at nuclear power plants. Programs also protect species that are not endangered, such as bluebirds, wood ducks , kestrels, sea lion , wild turkeys and pheasant. In contrast, certain wind farms pose a hazard to endangered bird species. Bald eagles and other birds of prey are apparently mesmerized by the movement of the propellers and fly directly into them.
Moreover, depletion of protected birds of prey result in an increase in the pest population that was their food sources. In economic benefit, nuclear power plants provide low-cost, predictable power at stable prices and are essential in maintaining the realibility of the United State electric power system. Nuclear power is a major national energy sources. Nuclear energy is our nation’s largest sources of emission-free electricity and our second sources of power.
The only fuel sources that produce more electricity was a coal. Nuclear plants also contribute to national energy security and ensure stable nationwide electricity supply.As an intergral part of the energy mix, nuclear energy is a secure energy sources that the nation can depend on. Unlike some energy sources , nuclear energy is not subject to unreliable weather or climate conditions, unpredictable cost fluctuation, or dependence on foreign suppliers.
In fact, nuclear energy is a strong domestic as well as international industry, with extensive fuel supply sources. Nuclear power plants are large units that run for extended periods. They help supply the necessary level of electricity or “Baseload generation,” for the electricity transmission networks, or “Grid” to operate.An example , United State nuclear power plant are a key element in the stability of our country’s electrical grid.
Power plants have future price stability. A nuclear power plant can leverage its high degree of future price stability by selling at a premium to a large users an ensured sources of electricity supply at a known price. Another value of nuclear power, transmission system support, is typically not yet recognized. Nuclear units provide ancillary services such as voltage support and play a key role in maintaining the realibility of the grid, a services with value in an unbundles market.
Disadvantage of having a nuclear power plant was a nuclear accident that resulted in loss of control over the fission chain reaction would be extremely hazardous. The danger here is that the heat produced would outstrip the ability of the reactor coolant to cope, causing the nuclear reaction. This could cause system failure which would release radioactivity into the environment. In the case of an extreme failure , the result would be a nuclear material burns or melts its way through its containment vessel, into the ground and then into the water table.
This would throw a huge cloud of radioactive steam and debris into at the atmosphere. Accidents of this type have the potential to release radioactivity over an immense area. A small, well- contained accident might just contaminate the power plant, while a major one could result in fallout being spread worldwide. An examples Japanese official and nuclear experts have said they cannot rule out the possibility of a nuclear meltdown at Japanese nuclear power plant that was badly damaged by last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
Here is a quick guide to the nuclear process, what can go wrong, and how to prevent catastrophe.Nuclear power is produced by harnessing the heat produced by the splitting at atoms inside uranium- a process known as fission. If the rods get too hot, they can eventually melt, thus the term ‘meltdown’. In the event of a complete meltdown, the still- burning hot nuclear fuel could drip to the floor of the reactor.
If the containment structure around the reactor is not strong enough, the fuel potentially could be exposed to the outside environment, and can have devastating consequences for nearby communities. Fallout is the residual adioactive material propelled into the upper atmosphere following a nuclear blast or a nuclear reaction conducted in an unshielded facility, so called because it “falls out” of the sky after the explosion and shock wave have passed. It commonly refers to the radioactive dust and ash created when a nuclear weapon explodes, but this dust can also be originated in a damaged nuclear plant. Nuclear fallout is the particles of matter in the air made radioactive from a nuclear explosion.
Some of these particles fall in the immediate area and some get blown by upper winds many thousands of miles.Eventually they fall to the earth. This is called fallout. The rate of fallout largely depends on the altitude of the nuclear explotion and to a lesser extent the magnitude of the explotion.
If the explotion is in the air where it is unable to suck dirt particles from the ground then the particles are lighter and take much longer to fallout. If the blast is able to get particles from the ground then they fall much quicker in a more immediate area. Weather conditions can affect fallout immensely. Particularly rainfall can “rain out” fallout to create very intense localized concentrations.
This poses a serious health hazard. The audited environmental product statement of the Vattenfall Energy utility shows that their Nuclear Power Plants emit less than one hundredth the Greenhouse Gases of Coal or Gas fired power stations. If the Nuclear Power Industry lives up to it’s promises for modern, 3rd generation plants, the total levelised cost of Nuclear Power including contruction, operational, waste disposal and decommissioning costs is in the range 3-5 cents per KiloWatt-Hour depending on the interest rate obtained for the construction.Nuclear Power Plants pay back the energy required to build them in less than 2 months of operation.
Current world proven reserves of Uranium are sufficient to supply current world demand for 50 years. Speculative reserves provide an additional 150 years of supply. The cost of Uranium Ore is a very small fraction of the operating cost of Nuclear Power. Fourth Generation Nuclear Plants can fully utilize all the energy in Natural Uranium.
There is sufficient Uranium and Thorium on Earth for Fourth Generation reactors to supply the total World demand for energy for hundreds of centuries.
Ivona Okuniewicz ,Mr. Alaster Meehan ,Mr. Gareth Jones ,Mr. Damien George, Dr.
Adrian Flitney and Mr. Greg Filewood (2010,July 27th) The Benefit of Nuclear Power http://nuclearinfo.net/Nuclearpower/TheBenefitsofNuclearPower 2. Mark Mielke (2009, September 9th) The Effects of Nuclear Radiation on the Environment.
http://voice.yahoo.com/the-effects-nuclear-radiation-environment-4 3. Kenneth Wester.
The Benefits of Nuclear Energy. http://www.fi.edu/guide/wester/benefit.
html 4. Richard E.Webb,(2003,May 20th) The Probability of a Nuclear Accident. http://www.
greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/news/the-probability 5. Information Management Division, Malaysia Nuclear Agency, July 2011, Nuclear Technology.