The Promises and Perils of Nuclear Power Essay
Assignment 1: Discussion—The Promises and Perils of Nuclear Power Nuclear power refers to the generation of electrical energy by controlled nuclear reactions. These reactions produce heat, which in turn creates steam that runs the generators to produce electricity. Approx. 1/8 of the electricity worldwide generated comes from nuclear energy. In this task, you will analyze the use of nuclear energy as a resource energy. * Discuss the scientific and technical concepts related to the use of nuclear power as an energy resource. Address the following in your response: How is energy released in a nuclear reaction? Energy is released in a nuclear reaction when there is a change of an unstable to a stable arrangement.
This happens when the arrangement of the atoms and electrons in the carbon-based fuel and oxygen is less stable than the organization of atoms and electrons in the carbon dioxide. Nuclear reaction is controlled by regulating the number of neutrons that are created. Control rods absorb neutrons are inserted between the uranium fuel rods.
They are increased or reduced in order to keep a constant release of energy.
Strong nuclear forces are involved together with the weak interaction. Nuclear energy starts off from the splitting of uranium atoms in a process called fission. At the power plant, the fission process is used to produce heat for creating steam, which is used by a turbine to create electricity (Westinghouse Electric Company LLC . 2013). There are two kinds of reactions used to release nuclear energy. Fusion takes place when two light nuclei fuse together to make a heftier nucleus. This is the process that powers the stars. Fission takes place when an unstable nucleus of a heavy element, such as uranium, splits in two.
Fission is used in nuclear power stations (Kindersley,2007). * How are nuclear reactions controlled? The fission of radioactive uranium produces nuclear energy. The procedure is controlled by regulating the number of neutrons formed. Control rods that absorb neutrons are inserted between the uranium fuel rods. They are raised or lowered to maintain a balanced release of energy (Kindersley,2007). * What elements are involved in nuclear power production? Several elements in the nuclear power plant entering the big fuel, which is typically uranium or plutonium, and thorium.
They also use oxygen or metal U as fuels. * What nuclear forces are involved? The nuclear force is the force amongst two or more nucleons. It is accountable for the attachment of protons and neutrons into atomic nuclei. The energy is released by the attachment causes the multitudes of nuclei to be less than the total mass of the protons and neutrons which form them; this is the energy used in nuclear power. The force is impressively appealing amongst nucleons at distances of about 1 femtometer (fm) between their centers, but rapidly decreases to unimportance at distances past about 2. fm. At very short distances less than 0. 7 fm, it becomes repellent, and is accountable for the physical size of nuclei, since the nucleons can come no closer than the force allows (Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. ,2013). * Explain the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, detailing issues related to production, delivery, cost, radiation, air quality, and waste. The advantages of nuclear energy are, extremely efficient power source, compared to fossil fuels and nuclear fission produces much more energy per unit of fuel-more than a million times more.
As a result, can produce greater amounts of electricity more effectively by nuclear energy. Fossil fuels release energy through chemical reactions or transfer of electrons. Protons, on the other hand, contain much more energy due to a force that is known as nuclear power. When condensed in the nucleus, and thus used to create matching higher amounts of energy when separated. “Greener” Productions of Nuclear reactors means that they produce no greenhouse or otherwise harmful gases. Since then, unlike fossil fuels, nuclear power ources do not include hydrocarbons, do not produce gases such as CO2, carbon monoxide, and methane, all compounds of carbon. CO2 and methane from the primary contributors to the greenhouse effect, while carbon monoxide is very toxic. The only gaseous exhaust is water vapor produced by nuclear reactors. Later expiration dates than fossil fuels, the reserves of uranium in the earth can hardly be called ‘endless’, thorium, which is much more abundant, could supply electricity to the world for at least half a Millennium. Fossil fuel reserves are, even by the most confident forecasts, hopes that have been exhausted at the time.
The main drawback to using thorium as nuclear fuel is that naturally found form (isotope) of thorium is not fissile, unlike natural uranium format found. The isotope natural thorium must be transformed into a fissile material before it can be used as nuclear fuel. Although uranium is currently the nuclear fuel of choice, many countries, the one that stands out is India, they have recognized massive research on the suitability of the thorium as a replacement for uranium, and we could soon have thorium fuel our nuclear reactors instead of uranium.
Nuclear Fusion research in progress could well announce its arrival as a source of universal energy. Fusion of two nuclei of hydrogen to form a molecule of helium, which is most widely used. The fusion reaction produces exponentially more energy than fission. The amount of energy manufactured by fusion reactions can be best illustrated by the fact that nuclear fusion is responsible for the enormous amount of energy produced in stars, like our own Sun.
The cores of stars is violently active areas, with a constant nuclear fusion of hydrogen that takes place. This is a very small part of the energy made by these fusion reactions that all life on earth depends on to survive. If it can be truly mastered nuclear fusion, it will be, without a shadow of doubt, one of the most important technological breakthrough in human history. The abundance of hydrogen on earth can mean an almost inexhaustible source of energy, while ensuring that no radioactive waste safe removal of the final product, helium (Buzzle. om,2013). The disadvantages of nuclear energy include: the high cost of building nuclear power plants and the possibility of accidents, the storage and management of high-level radioactive waste is dangerous-the possibility of proliferation of nuclear materials and possible terrorist applications; Among the most urgent is the disposal of nuclear waste. Nuclear wastes can last for thousands of years before it is safe again, so this is a major barrier that must be overpowered before we can expand nuclear power.
Nuclear energy is also very costly, given the amount of time it takes to build nuclear plants, will need other short term solutions (howtopowertheworld. com, 2008-2010). * Identify a country whose electricity production infrastructure relies heavily on nuclear power. It is quite possible to employ Nuclear Power to provide the vast majority of an entire country’s need for electricity. The French Nuclear Power program is the model of this. In France, Nuclear Power provides 77% of the nation’s electricity requirements.
France produces an excess of electricity which it allocates to adjoining countries for a profit. It does this while estimating the disassembling its reactors and the removal of its waste products into the price of the electricity it generates (nuclearinfo. net, 2013). * Compare and contrast the use of nuclear power in the United States with the use of nuclear power in this country. France, however, opted for a path different from its European neighbors. It generates only 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources and almost 80 percent of its energy produced by nuclear power stations.
In addition, at a time when only a handful of European States was expanding their networks of nuclear energy, France continues with its structure of a new generation of nuclear power stations to replace its facilities at a cost of $150 billion of aging. Unlike France, the United States has not built any new nuclear power plant since the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. For the last 25 years, the u. s. nuclear power industry has been delayed by fears of accidents, terrorism and the safe disposal of waste. But with surging oil prices and a second Bush administration, plans for a U.
S. extension of possibilities of nuclear energy is currently invented (Shackelford, S. , 2006. Issues in Political Economy, Vol. 15). * Provide examples of the use of nuclear power in your community or state. Nuclear power is a pillar of South Carolina’s energy. 51. 2 Percent the State electricity, with coal a distant second at 40 percent, according to the U. S. energy information administration. One out of every two homes and businesses in South Carolina are powered by nuclear power, without any air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions produce (Wolfe, 2012). Consider the three major nuclear accidents in the history of the industry: 3-Mile Island (USA), Chernobyl (Ukraine), and Fukushima Dai-Ichi (Japan). What lessons have been learned from these nuclear accidents that can be or have been used to make nuclear power safer? The three significant misfortunes in the 50-year history of civil nuclear power generation were the Three Mile Island in the USA in 1979, where the reactor was severely damaged but radiation was contained and there were no harmful health or environmental results.
Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986, where the demolition of the reactor by steam eruption with fire killing 31 people and had considerable health and environmental results. Fukushima in Japan in the year 2011, when three old reactors (together with a fourth) were irretrievable and its effects caused the loss of cooling due to a huge tsunami were inefficiently contained (World Nuclear Association, 2013). To achieve ideal safety, nuclear power plants in the Western world operate using the basic aspects approach or prevention, monitoring, and action.
The use of high-quality design, construction and equipment, which prevents the operation from instabilities or human faults and errors from emerging to complications, Full observation and consistent analysis to identify the equipment or operator failures, redundant and varied systems to manage the destruction to the fuel and prevent substantial radioactive discharges, preparing to limit the effects of critical fuel damage (or any other problem) to the plant. There are three basic functions of security in a nuclear reactor.
The first being able to contain radioactive materials, to cool the fuel and control reactivity. Works cited Buzzle. com. (2013). Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Power. Retrieved fromhttp://www. buzzle. com/articles/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-nuclear-power. html howtopowertheworld. com. (2008-2010). Disadvantages of nuclear power. Retrieved fromhttp://howtopowertheworld. com/disadvantages-of-nuclear-power. shtml Kindersley, D. (2007). Nuclear Energy. Fact Monster. com. Retrieved fromhttp://www. factmonster. om/dk/encyclopedia/nuclear-energy. html nuclearinfo. net. (2013). Everything you want to know about Nuclear Power. Retrieved from http://nuclearinfo. net/Nuclearpower/OneCompletePage Shackelford, S. (2006). Nuclear Power: The Nucleus of Energy Independence? An Analysis ofInternational Energy Policy. Issues in Political Economy, Vol. 15. Retrieved fromhttp://org. elon. edu/ipe/shackleford. pdf. Westinghouse Electric Company LLC . (2013). What is Nuclear Energy? Nuclear Energy Institute. Retrieved from http://www. westinghousenuclear. om/Community/WhatIsNuclearEnergy. shtm Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. ,(2013). Nuclear force. Retrieved fromhttp://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Nuclear_force. Wolfe, C. (2012). Nuclear power: mainstay for S. C. The Post and Courier. Retrieved fromhttp://www. postandcourier. com/article/20090327/ARCHIVES/303279980 World Nuclear Association. (2013). Achieving optimum nuclear safety. Safety of Nuclear PowerReactors. Retrieved from http://www. world-nuclear. org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-plants/Safety-of-Nuclear-Power-Reactors/#. UVbsvHrD9hE.