Should nuclear power be banned? Essay

Nuclear power is one of the latest ways to make energy. Although it is non-renewable it provides 6.3% of the world’s energy and 15% of the world’s electricity. It is designed to extract energy from the nucleus of a Uranium atom. Unlike fossil fuels, nuclear power doesn’t give off any greenhouse gases but produces radioactive and nuclear waste.

France, Japan, and the United States of America generated 56.5% of nuclear power. In 2007, there were 439 nuclear power reactors operating around the world in 31 different countries.

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“The United States produces the most nuclear energy, with nuclear power providing 19% of the electricity it consumes, while France produces the highest percentage of its electrical energy from nuclear reactors – 78% as of 2006. The Nuclear energy policy differs between European Union countries, and some, such as Austria and Ireland, have no active nuclear power stations. In comparison, France has a large number of these plants with 16 multi-unit stations in current use.”
according to Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power)

Atom

“The atom is a basic unit of matter consisting of a dense, central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons.

The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons. The electrons of an atom are bound to the nucleus by the electromagnetic force. Likewise, a group of atoms can remain bound to each other, forming a molecule. An atom containing an equal number of protons and electrons is electrically neutral; otherwise it has a positive or negative charge and is an ion. An atom is classified according to the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus: the number of protons determines the chemical element, and the numbers of neutrons determine the isotope of the element.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom)

Nuclear power can be produced in the following ways:

1. Nuclear Fusion

2. Nuclear Fission

Nuclear Fusion

In nuclear fusion, energy is released by fusion of two light elements. This creates a larger atom. This is also the power that fuels the sun and all the other stars. (http://www.atomicarchive.com/Fusion/Fusion1.shtml)

Nuclear Fission

1. “Nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts, often producing free neutrons and lighter nuclei, which may eventually produce photons” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission)

Nuclear power plant

Nuclear power plants are genarally clean and efficient to operate but have major environmental risks bacuase it produces radioactive gases. These gases are normally kept inside the power plant but occasionally leak out. This means that major health risks can occur.

Nuclear power plants use uranium to as the fuel to produce power. The handling and mining of uranium is very dangerous and radiation leaks can occour.

Uranium

“Uranium is a silvery-gray metallic chemical element and it has 146 electrons and 92 protons.” It is found underground. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium)

My case study is about wheather nuclear power should be banned. Here are the reasons for and agianst in more detail.

Lets stop a second, do we want to keep using fossil fuels until there is none left and then remember we banned nuclear power and have no real fuel left to make energy? Of course not, we want to have an alternative fuel source when fossil fuels run out. This is why we have nuclear power.

Although we have other sources of energy such as solar, geothermal, wind, tidal and biomass, nuclear is used the most worldwide. “Nuclear energy has always had its proponents, their ranks swollen now by people who dislike the technology but believe it may be essential. They point out that a reactor emits virtually no carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas released from human activities (though of course building the power station produces a lot of CO2).”(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4216302.stm)

I agree with this because we (human beings) have destroyed earth with fossil fuels. Although people say to use renewable sources it couldn’t provide us
with enough energy and nuclear can. It may be non renewable but it has a much lower risk of affecting the environment with radio active gases than greenhouse gases.

“Since there are rising fuel costs, concerns about global warming and the growing demand from the developing world for energy, the burning question is whether the world needs nuclear power. Peter Hodgson, a nuclear physicist, says yes. Dennis Anderson, an economist, says that we should first explore the possibilities of renewable and other forms of energy. Finding ways of satisfying our energy needs is such an urgent problem that we must consider all possible sources, and evaluate them as objectively as possible, writes Peter Hodgson. In doing so, it is useful to apply the following criteria: capacity, cost, safety, reliability and environmental effects. No source can satisfy all our energy needs, and although there are several small-scale energy sources, such as solar panels for satellites, we must focus on the major sources such as nuclear power.”(http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/128)

Wood used to be a main energy source in ancient times but however impractical as a major energy source because we need to cut down trees to get the wood and we need the trees to take in the vast amount of carbon dioxide in the air mainly caused by fossil fuels. It is also wasteful to burn just like natural gas.

Another possibility is hydropower because it is an important source of energy, particularly as it is renewable and does not pollute the atmosphere. However it takes up too much land and supplies are limited since there are not many suitable rivers to do so. By geographical consideration tidal power is even more limited.

Further wind power isn’t suitable because it varies on the weather. In some parts of the world it will work very well but in others it won’t since the amount of wind will not be strong enough to turn the turbine. The amount of energy produced just won’t be enough to supply the world’s population. Also the lon term effect will make it too expensive especially now since the
prices of many items have gone up.

Furthermore solar power isn’t suitable because it too also varies on the weather. In the countries in or near the equator it would be very good since it you have a lot of sunlight but every where in the world you have darkness at night some point in the year. This is when solar power is useless to get enough energy for the whole population with out fossil fuels you would need it in every country on every house and ensure it stays sunny for 24 hours 7 days a week every year. We all know that this will not happen and therefore it will not work. Also the cost of the solar panels will cost so much in the long run and will not provide the whole population with energy to start their cookers, heaters etc.

Geothermal energy is also renewable and isn’t suitable for a main energy source because geothermal energy is generated from heat underneath the earths crust. This heat comes mainly from the earth’s core. This means getting heat from volcanoes since the magma from the volcanoes comes from the core. If you do this you will need a lot of volcanoes to do so but there are not enough to give the entire population energy to heat their heaters or to start their cookers without fossil fuels. Also the machines that turn the heat into energy will cost a lot as well just like all the others.

Other advantages are that the technology is readily available and doesn’t have to be developed further.

Also because it is impossible to produce high amounts of electrical energy in one single plant (http://timeforchange.org/pros-and-cons-of-nuclear-power-and-sustainability)

Moreover nuclear power should be banned because it costs so much to build the power plants. Since there is also a major health risk that can occur if the radioactive gases leak out.

If nuclear power falls into the wrong hands such as terrorism, it can be lethal and can cause many people to die. Also if there is a mistake at the power plant many parts of the country around it would suffer terribly as well.

According to Greenpeace “Even if Britain built ten new reactors, nuclear power can only deliver a 4 per cent cut in carbon emissions some time after 2025. Even the Government admits this (Sustainable Development Commission figure). It’s too little too late at too high a price.”

Greenpeace also say “Most of the gas we use is for heating and hot water and for industrial purposes. Nuclear power cannot replace that energy. And it’s a similar case for oil as it’s virtually all used for transport – nuclear power can’t take its place. Indeed, 86 per cent of our oil and gas consumption is for purposes other than producing electricity. So nuclear power, which can only generate electricity, is almost irrelevant.” (http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/nuclear/the-case-against-nuclear-power-20080108)

I agree with Greenpeace because there is no point in having an alternative fuel just to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when it hardly helps the environment at all. There are more disadvantages than advantages in nuclear power. I also agree with them because there is not a point in getting rid of oil and gas for nuclear power when we use oil and gas for other things apart from electricity while nuclear can only provide us with electricity.

“Nuclear power produces radioactive waste that remains dangerous for tens of thousands of years. The Government still does not know what to do with the waste that has accumulated from more than 50 years of nuclear power. Costs of disposal are estimated at about £56bn.” According to the independen (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/yes-please-no-thanks-for-and-against-nuclear-power-517402.html)

I feel very strongly about this because people in the world don’t have enough money to survive and the British government is wasting £56bn (£5600000000) on the dumping of radioactive gases.

When nuclear gases leak, major things can happen like in Russia, at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. “It is so far the worst nuclear power plant accident in history and the only level 7 instance on the International Nuclear Event Scale, resulting in a severe release of radioactivity into the environment following a massive power excursion which destroyed the reactor. Two people died in the initial steam explosion, but most deaths from the accident were attributed to fallout.”

This is a brief of what happened in the day of the explosion “On 26 April 1986 at 01:23:45 a.m. (UTC+3) reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant, near Pripyat in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, exploded. Further explosions and the resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area. Four hundred times more fallout was released than had been by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima”

“Although not much waste is produced, it is very, very dangerous. It must be sealed up and buried for many thousands of years to allow the radioactivity to die away. For all that time it must be kept safe from earthquakes, flooding, terrorists and everything else. This is difficult. Nuclear power is reliable, but a lot of money has to be spent on safety – if it does go wrong, a nuclear accident can be a major disaster. People are increasingly concerned about this – in the 1990’s nuclear power was the fastest-growing source of power in much of the world. In 2005 it was the second slowest-growing.” These are the reasons why darvill think nuclear power is dangerous. (http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/nuclear.htm#dis)

I agree with this because it is very hard to keep major destruction weapons from terrorist.

The alternative view point is to use renewable sources of energy or keep using fossil fuels.

Solar energy is light from the sun that influences Earth’s climate and
weather and sustains life. We use solar panels to convert the light into energy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy)

Wind energy is when the wind blows. It is converted into energy with a turbine. When the wind pushes the blades on the turbine, it makes wind power. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_energy)

Tidal energy is a form of hydro power that converts tides into electricity and other useful forms of power. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_energy)

Geothermal energy is heat stored inside the earth or the collection of absorbed heat derived from underground, in the atmosphere and oceans. It is converted into energy using a power plant just like nuclear power. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_power)

Fossil fuels are coal, natural gas and oil. It is the most common usage of fuel world wide today and is producing green house gases. It is affecting the climate and causing global warming.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuels)

In my concluding statement I conclude that nuclear power shouldn’t be banned because it can produce vast amounts of electricity and more than a fossil fuel plant. Since fossil fuels are now very limited it is now time for other sources of energy to step in, other sources of energy like nuclear power. Since it produces virtually no carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere it shouldn’t be a problem.

Like other energy sources people don’t always agree with them. This is because nuclear power causes radioactive gases. Radioactive gases are lethal. It can kill so many people just from the side effect. This is why they bury it under desserts so that it is more or less harmless.

This isn’t the best idea in my opinion because radioactive waste stays active over 100 and 100 of years, if not 1000 of years just. Terrorist use this to their advantage because they know its there for a long time and eventually
find it and use it in very bad ways by creating it into bombes and terrorizing cities. A nuclear bomb could destroy the whole of London even from a mile of the ground.

Further there was a Russian nuclear power plant that blew up because radioactive gases had leaked. “Two people died in the initial steam explosion, but most deaths from the accident were attributed to fallout.”

I still think that nuclear power is the only way forward after fossil fuels although it has its glitches. I say this because all renewable fuels will not be able to provide enough energy to provide the worlds population. This is because they all have major problems.

Solar power needs sunlight. It will be good near the equator because there is a lot of sunlight. But in the darkness at night it is useless.

Wind power needs to wind. This depends on the weather and the amount of wind. If there was not enough wind to push the blades on the turbine it would be useless.

Hydropower is a good source of energy but the cost is very expensive. This source is very limited and couldn’t provide the world with enough energy. Therefore this is also useless.

Nuclear power may be expensive to generate and dump the radioactive gases but can provide enough energy for the world.

These are the results of the survey I carried out in my neighborhood:

Frequency (people)

Yes 23

No 21
Don’t Know 6

Total 50

Overall

I believe that nuclear power shouldn’t be banned because it provides almost 20% of the western worlds energy needs and is a clean fuel. When the oil runs out alternative sources of energy production would be required.

Moreover it does have its bad points such as radioactive gases and decommissioning costs are very high. The every day maintenance costs are also very high.

I do think that Wikipedia is an untrustworthy site because you can easily change the listing whereas BBC news or The Guardian is trustworthy because you cannot edit their site and is updated daily but however it can generally be biased.

1. http://www.macalester.edu/environmentalstudies/students/projects/nuclearpowerwebsite/images/action-at-the-nuclear-power-pl.jpg 2. http://helloworldbea.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/flowernuke.jpg 3. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Nuclear_power_stations.png 4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power

5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom
6. http://www.atomicarchive.com/Fusion/Fusion1.shtml
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fission
8. http://www.lightandmatter.com/html_books/4em/ch02/figs/nuclear-power-plant.jpg 9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium
10. http://z.about.com/d/chemistry/1/0/0/R/uranium.jpg
11. http://prototypes.pbwiki.com/f/atom2.gif
12.
http://www.green-planet-solar-energy.com/images/nuclear_fission_good_2a.jpg 13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4216302.stm
this is reliable because the article cannot tell lies or things that are not true. 14. http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/128
15. http://www.green-planet-solar-energy.com/images/nuclear_fission_good_2a.jpg this is true but can be biased since they don’t like non renewable sources of energy. 16. http://www.niwa.cri.nz/__data/assets/image/0015/50532/hydropower2_large.jpg 17. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydropower

18. http://www.coal-is-dirty.com/files/images/blogentry/wind-power.jpg

19. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_energy
20. http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/45/99545-004-404C20FE.jpg 21. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy
22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_power
23. http://www.treehugger.com/geothermal-power-plant-i01.jpg 24. http://timeforchange.org/pros-and-cons-of-nuclear-power-and-sustainability 25. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/nuclear/the-case-against-nuclear-power-20080108 26. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/yes-please-no-thanks-for-and-against-nuclear-power-517402.html 27. http://www.darvill.clara.net/altenerg/nuclear.htm#dis

28. http://mesikammen.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/nuclear-bomb-badger350.jpg 29. http://www.atomicarchive.com/History/coldwar/images/chernobyl.jpg

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