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Nuclear power plants

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                                                           Introduction

The use of nuclear energy will constitute a must for us if we do hope to progress and further our exploits into the future. It is appropriate to justify why nuclear energy must be adequately pushed for the coming years. This paper maintains that the government’s task through the nuclear energy policy should focus on building more nuclear power plants.

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There are a lot of advantages of using nuclear energy and they are listed below: Here some of them:

Nuclear energy does not produce smoke or carbon dioxide.

The technology emits virtually no airborne wastes or smoke. This quality of nuclear energy is very important if we intend to safeguard ourselves from the harmful effects of the sun. Since nuclear energy will not emit any greenhouse gas or anything that may contribute to the speeding of the greenhouse effect, then it is one source of energy that will enable us to address the growing problem of the depletion of the ozone layer.

This particular form of energy will therefore not affect the planet’s climate as opposed to the more familiar fossil fuels.

Nuclear power is about as cheap as power from coal so it is not as expensive to make. Statistics from 2002 reveals that “the cost (in cents per kWh) of electric generation from nuclear energy was lower (1.76 cents) than coal (1.79), oil (5.28). Or gas (5.69). These costs include fuel, operation, and maintenance, but not capital costs.” (Solar Energy).

Nuclear power produces an incredible amount of energy from small amounts of fuel. Uranium is an element that is used for the generation of nuclear power. This element is still present in the Earth in fairly large quantities. The deposits of uranium are unevenly distributed throughout six countries which in total, boasts of about 80 percent of the world’s Uranium deposits. The energy is obtained from the fission of a U-235 atom which is induced by allowing a free neutron to be absorbed by a U-235 nucleus. Once this process is started, that atom will become unstable and split into two other atoms and will create energy.
Nuclear energy does not produce smoke or carbon dioxide. The technology emits virtually no airborne wastes or smoke. This quality of nuclear energy is very important if we intend to safeguard ourselves from the harmful effects of the sun. Since nuclear energy will not emit any greenhouse gas or anything that may contribute to the speeding of the greenhouse effect, then it is one source of energy that will enable us to address the growing problem of the depletion of the ozone layer. This particular form of energy will therefore not affect the planet’s climate as opposed to the more familiar fossil fuels.
Nuclear power is about as cheap as power from coal so it is not as expensive to make. Statistics from 2002 reveals that “the cost (in cents per kWh) of electric generation from nuclear energy was lower (1.76 cents) than coal (1.79), oil (5.28). Or gas (5.69). These costs include fuel, operation, and maintenance, but not capital costs.” (Solar Energy).
Nuclear power produces an incredible amount of energy from small amounts of fuel. Uranium is an element that is used for the generation of nuclear power. This element is still present in the Earth in fairly large quantities. The deposits of uranium are unevenly distributed throughout six countries which in total, boasts of about 80 percent of the world’s Uranium deposits. The energy is obtained from the fission of a U-235 atom which is induced by allowing a free neutron to be absorbed by a U-235 nucleus. Once this process is started, that atom will become unstable and split into two other atoms and will create energy.
If this figure does not seem much, consider that there are a great number of Uranium atoms in a pound of Uranium. In fact, a pound of highly enriched uranium is used to power a nuclear submarine or an aircraft carrier. The amount of fuel used to power an aircraft carrier is about a million gallons of gasoline. If you think about it, the size of a pound of uranium is roughly the size of a baseball while a million gallons of gasoline could fill up a cube having 50 feet per side. That is a lot of energy coming from a small amount of U-235 (Van Leeuwen et al).

    The Chernobyl Incident

The advantages of nuclear energy are being highly debated because of the concerns of the public that another Chernobyl nightmare might come and haunt them. This should not be the case because the Chernobyl incident was an isolated case. It is because all of the reactors currently in operation are enclosed in a containment building as opposed to the open area of Chernobyl. In 1979, a reactor core meltdown at Three Mile Island happened because of the failure of its cooling system. This naturally produced a lot of radiation but because it was inside a containment building, the radiation it generated was prevented from being spread throughout the area and there were no injuries or deaths. The other concerns are that of terrorist attacks on the nuclear power plants that may lead to the deaths of more people. People are concerned these plants can also become a liability as much as it can become an asset to the energy crisis. This problem must simply be dealt with more vigilance and the construction of more secure and fortified plants must be discussed. However, as long as the proper precautions are taken, this need not pose to be dangerous (Nuclear Power Plant Accidents).

                                               Fuel rods

Spent fuel rods are highly radioactive and must be stored properly. According to Deutch, “In the U.S. 90% of the carbon emissions from electricity generation come from coal-fired generation, even though this accounts for only 52% of the electricity produced. Taking nuclear power off the table as a viable alternative will prevent the global community from achieving long-term gains in the control of carbon dioxide emissions.” The United States Department of Energy has been developing a long range plan to store this spent fuel deep in the earth so that they do not cause any harm to human beings. The most likely place which was identified is the Yucca Mountain and it is here where the spent fuel is stored safely (Nuclear Reactor).

Yucca Mountain is in Nevada and this is the place where the U.S. Department of Energy conducts its study of looking into the suitable repository for spent nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste. These are materials that are the result of nuclear power generation and national defense projects. This is the safest place which was identified to store the nation’s nuclear waste. Yucca Mountain is ideal for this because it is located at a remote desert on federally protected property within the boundaries of the Nevada Test Site in Nye County, Nevada and about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada (Yucca Mountain Project).

                                          Current Fuel Sources

            The verdict now is that we should be concerned on where we should be getting our energy in the future. The progress that came about in the 21st century was all because of the utilization of energy resources. We were able to progress from steam-powered boats to oil-driven cars to now solar-powered cars. The human race has been able to effectively discover and utilize an vast source of energy within the last century and for that, we have been rewarded with equal amounts of technology and an upgraded standard of living.

            There are rising concerns that sooner or later we will have to find our source of energy elsewhere. To date, the most widely used energy sources are those that come from the combustion of organic energy sources like that of coal, natural gas and most especially oil. Right now, we should be looking at the future of petroleum oil because it has been hypothesized that it will be gone within 50 to 100 years from now. A worse case scenario is looking at the depletion of oil wells within the next 20 years. Given our usage of oil within our day-to-day basis with our cars and other forms of commuting, that number is quite realistic in a sense.

If one looks at the other source of energy which is solar energy, its more expensive upkeep does have some redeeming qualities. Here is an explanation:

“Solar energy is a resource rather than a reserve in most places and for general purpose large scale use. It requires large scale energy storage – and very long distance energy transmission facilities if it is to be used in the winter in northern countries. All this can be done but is expensive. Of course, solar energy has many limited uses already.” (www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/energy.html )

This means that the application of solar energy is indeed very viable if we will just limit ourselves to the discussion of its capabilities. There is an argument though that solar energy is quite expensive although that problem can be adequately dealt with. If we will be forced to channel our collective efforts into developing cheap and efficient materials for solar tools, then it is definitely something that is not insuperable. The following are the more pressing concerns about the viability of the use of Solar Energy.

The need to store energy. Because solar energy needs to be collected directly from the sun, the collection of the energy is limited to the occurrence of clouds. Therefore, a full 24-hour collection will be difficult if you have the appearance of cloud formations that will hinder the rate of storage. This argument also applies when seasons change. Hence, during the sunny months, we will be forced to devote more time and energy saving up for the winter months.
The need to transport the energy long distances. If there will be limited providers of energy coming from the sun, the countries that are normally cloudy and are at high latitudes might suffer from an economic disadvantage. These countries might depend solely on other countries for the power, thus, making them spend more on electricity supplied by other countries as opposed to the possibility of them collecting their own energy on their own soil.
With these arguments, there should now be a conscious effort to study more intensively the effects, both good and bad, of nuclear energy. There are so many concerns regarding the technology because of the ill-effects that it has caused in Chernobyl and most recently, Japan. Because of the unfortunate accident in Ukraine, the explosion in Chernobyl has fed the fear of people from this particular source of energy.

 “The 25 tons or so of spent fuel taken each year from a 1000 MWe nuclear reactor is highly radioactive and gives off a great deal of heat. Much is reprocessed so that 97% of this is recycled. The remaining 3%, about 700 kg, is high-level radioactive waste which is potentially hazardous and needs to be isolated from the environment for a very long time. However, the small quantity makes the task readily manageable. Even where the spent fuel is not reprocessed, the yearly amount of 25 tons is modest compared with the quantities of waste from a similar sized coal-fired power station.” (www.nvnpp.vrn.ru/en/about/advantages.html)

By and large, nuclear power is reliable. Nuclear power plants are already being used right now. There are over 400 nuclear power plants in the world and 100 of those already exist in the United States. Nuclear power plants are scattered across the country from Alabama to New York to Wisconsin. These plants are the providers of electricity and energy to the residents of these states. These plants are responsible for electricity generation and domestic and industrial heating for the people in these places.

Nuclear power plants also help in alleviating the environmental problems of the country. The fact of the matter is “There are more than 100 nuclear energy plants in the United States that generate one-fifth of all the electricity we use in the United States without emitting any greenhouse gases or other air pollutants.” A study done by the Nuclear Energy composed of a survey that asked those who were opposed to nuclear energy and those who were in favor of it. The process was done by asking those who were opposed and those who were in favor and then the statement was read to them. After that, the institute again took a poll of those who were for and against nuclear power. The number of those who strongly favor nuclear energy increased by two-thirds while the number of those who strongly opposed decreased by one-third. From an environmental standpoint, nuclear power is the safest, cleanest and most efficient way to produce electricity.

                                               Relevance of Nuclear Power

Current studies are continuing in terms of nuclear power since this is now an important option for the world. Countries may not be able to meet their future energy needs without emitting carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Some of the more viable options are increased efficiency and renewables which may be needed for a successful greenhouse gas management strategy. There must be an integration of all sectors in this issue including government, academic leaders, technical and economic areas especially now that there is a significant increase in global nuclear power utilization in the years to come.

                                               The Ecosystem

Public and economic conditions in the United States have led to a renewed environmentalism. A 1981 New York Times / CBS poll found that only 4 percent of the U.S. population agreed that “environmental; improvements must be made regardless of cost.” In 1997, 80 percent of the population strongly agreed. As a result, national environmental groups are becoming even more active. The Audubon Society has broadened its efforts from protection of wildlife to actively monitoring business practices that affect native plants and animals. The Audubon Society was the first to propose legal agreements that called for the removal of significant amounts of phosphate from the water that had been used to refine sugar. Nevertheless, some environmental organizations continue to press legislatures to adopt stricter laws and regulatory boards that enforce land use and waste disposal regulations to tighten their procedures.

This renewed environmentalism poses numerous challenges to business. With the passage of the U.S. Clean Air Act of 1990 and NAFTA, organizations faced more than a choice—they face increasingly tough requirements. However, for several years, some organizations, such as Shell Oil Company, have supported increased environmental planning and action in response to the radical change in public attitudes. They must now think long term, even though profits may suffer in the short term, not just of corporate costs but also of investments in the future of the planet.

     Present Environmental Condition and Concerned Organizations

Right now, the planet is dry, harsh, chemically afflicted, very uneasy, reeling from distress, and soon to get worse. By creating a ruckus, though, the earth manages to clean itself, shake off some humans and decrease pollution. Will life support systems be able to cleanse and come into new balance? Will water and soil behave ecologically or will they revert, taking whatever else they can? The natural ecosystem is the untouched environment, unimpressed by man.  Natural ecosystems are not spoiled by man’s greed to control. The main issues of the destruction of the natural ecosystem are endangered species, the toxic waste disposal and the air and water pollution. While narrowness of vision is one root cause of planetary degradation, the other is burgeoning population. If the population explosion is not confronted, other problems will continue to explode. Developed countries have too many over-consuming people; third world countries too many under-fed people and too little land to do anything about it. The environment copes with neither easily. This paper looks into the relationship between the environment and overpopulation and tries to find solutions to the problem.

            As a result of climbing populations, developed areas are suffering from disappearing forests, wild lands, and soil, severe air pollution, mountains of garbage, plenty of it toxic, filthy water, vanishing fish, gridlock and escalating crime. Developed countries also siphon off resources from the third world.  The third world has its gridlock, too, not just from cars, but from motorcycles, bicycles, donkeys, carts and people. It also is losing forests and rivers and soil and creating desert. It suffers with air and water pollution more severe than most industrialized first world countries and from too little agricultural land to go around. Even if soils and climates were not deteriorating rapidly, it still would not be possible for most of these poor countries to nurture their uncomfortably swollen human populations. The surge in people has carried with it a surge in bacteria and diseases that prey on humans.

                                                Arising Visions

When the world cannot do business, or life, in the same old way, something new must be born. One advantage arising out of the trauma will be the inability of organizations and people to continue in the ecologically blind ways of the current period. The present system is self-destructive and obviously cannot last. Humans are being challenged to find a way of life that does not relentlessly take from the earth. This is how a sustainable economy, which neither poisons nor depletes resources, comes into existence. Politicians will no longer be able to appeal successfully to the lowest common denominator by arguing, for example that cheap fossil fuels are a rightful part of one’s standard of living or that environmental and labor regulation must be relaxed because there is a recession. It will soon be all too clear that economic and ecological health is inextricably linked.

Adverse environmental changes will gradually push people into developing new ideas and visions about how the future must look. This vision is now becoming pervasive and powerful, with large numbers of people sensing what must be done. People know that there is no future unless it is an ecological future. The critical mass necessary to make healthy choices in the U.S. will have finally collected itself.

            It is therefore, incumbent upon organizations that they function to promote the cleanliness of the environment instead of polluting the land. An example is in British Columbia where the management of organizations are very conscious of the fact that the environment must be chemistry-free. Thus, organizations such as Nathan Printing Services, a full-service printing service, have begun to use waterless inks. Papers are being properly recycled and because of these, the press will be able to attract new customers. Customers commend their good quality and the fact that they are environmentally-friendly. (Leibrandt, 2007).

Even schools have become more environmentally responsible. An example is the University of Connecticut that boasts of a green campus fund. School officials are making sure that building projects are constructed according to a set of environmentally sound principles in constructing the building’s impact. There will also be new recycle bins as well as bicycle racks. The Uconn’s Office of Environmental Policy is spearheaded by the school officials and this provides a role model for other universities and companies. Environmental standards are being followed in all its building projects. (Breen, 2006).

                                                           Conclusion

Do people have to be concerned about nuclear wastes? According to experts, most nuclear wastes are of low level nuclear waste. These materials are subjected to a special regulation on storage such that they will not come in contact with the outside environment. The world must go for nuclear energy in one way or another because in the near future, we will either have used up all of our resources or we might be staring back into an abyss of a backwards civilization just because we have not embraced the viability and sustainability of nuclear energy.

                                               WORKS CITED

Advantages of Nuclear Power. Retrieved Feb. 6, 2007 at:

 http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller13.html

Breen, Tom. Uconn looking to become more environmentally friendly. (2006). Inquirer. Journal. Retrieved Feb. 6, 2007 at:

http://www.journalinquirer.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15915188&BRD=985&PAG=461&dept_id=161556&rfi=6

Deutch, John, Moniz, Ernest, 2003 July 29. Effort to Identify Barriers and Solutions for Nuclear Option in Reducing Greenhouse Gases. Retrieved Feb. 6, 2007 at:

 http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower

Leibrandt, Tom. (2007). Leveraging Environmentally Friendly Printing for Business

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http://www.ondemandjournal.com/specialfeatures/presstek39.cfm

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Feb. 6, 2007 at:

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_energy#Benefits_and_disadvantages

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http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/nuclear.htm

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 http://www.nei.org/documents/PublicOpinion_00-04.pdf

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http://www.cea.fr/gb/institutions/nuclear_power.htm

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 http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/solar.html

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Feb. 6, 2007 at: http://beheer.oprit.rug.nl/deenen/

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Cite this Nuclear power plants

Nuclear power plants. (2017, Apr 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/nuclear-power-plants/

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