Nuclear Power: An Alternate Fuel

By Jacob Regis

Source

It actually appears naturally, but this kind is man-made. Most times it is really a steam engine, just powered by Uranium instead of coal.

Resources

Nuclear reactors are powered by Uranium. Uranium is actually pretty plentiful in the crust. Kazakhstan, Australia and Canada are the three top miners, being the only countries that take up at least 10% each of our Uranium supply.

Convertion

As I have said before, and kept saying, a nuclear reactor is actually a steam engine. The Uranium has constant nuclear fission happening, which heats the water to turn it into steam, which moves a turbine, which makes electrical energy. Unlike most coal-steam engines, the Uranium has to be continuously cooled, or you could risk a meltdown.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Some benefits are:

No CO2 emissions.

Only a little fuel equals a lot of energy.

We already have all the technology, we just need to start relying on this instead of fossil fuels.


Some drawbacks are:

Meltdowns can happen if it is not cooled.

Radioactive Waste is a byproduct, and is hard to get rid of.

A targeted attack could result in a meltdown, possibly killing thousands like Chernobyl.


Availability

Not exactly in my community, but it is only a little south of us in DeWitt county, and if more importance was given to nuclear reactors, it could probably power us too.

There are also numerous other reactors (all owned by Exelon) around Illinois mostly in the north. There are reactors in Will (where my uncle works!), Ogle, DeWitt, Grundy, LaSalle, and Rock Island County.

Usability

Nuclear energy is just transformed into electrical energy, and nothing in our homes or schools or anything else would change.

Pollution

The real pollution is the spent nuclear fuel. It can’t be used anymore, but still lasts a long time. The only thing we can do with it is store it away somewhere. It only pollutes the water used to cool and make steam inside the reactor, not any other water. There is not any pollution in the air. Inside the power plant, there is a lot of noise from machines, but outside it, there isn't much, if any. The only major pollution is nuclear waste, which seems a huge improvement over tons and tons of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

My Opinion

I believe we should use this over fossil fuels. The advantages are much more better than the disadvantages, as long as we protect and train our nuclear power plant workers. There is hardly any pollution, and we already have the technology. There are other alternatives, but until I see evidence, nuclear power should be our main provider of energy.