NUCLEAR ENERGY

What Is It

Nuclear energy is a "clean" way to make electricity. This is because it does not burn like coal or other gases to produce electricity. But this does not mean that there aren't any cons to this.Nuclear energy is energy that is stored in the nucleus of an atom.What holds the nucleus together is the energy.The nuclease if an atom has a lot of power.The power that holds the nucleus together is called the strong force.Nuclear energy is controlled and worked with at a nuclear power plant.

How It Works

Fission

There are two ways in how nuclear energy produces electricity. In this paragraph the first way will be explained, which is called fission.What is fission? Fission is when you split atoms into smaller atoms.Now how does this work? To split an atom, it needs to collide with another atom. And when you hit an atom with another atom, neutrons are released which then can also split up atoms.The colliding of atoms, and the release of neutrons cause a nuclear chain reaction of energy release.And how does this process turn it into electricity? As this process occurs, it creates heat,thermal energy. Then this heat is converted to electricity.
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Fusion

Fusion is the second process to convert nuclear energy into electricity.Fusion,like fission, produces electricity, but yet both are completely the opposite.Fission splits up an atom, But fusion is the combining of two atoms which are small, and making them into one bigger atom. Which produces a heavier atom and more energy. Fusion is also a safer method to use because it does not produce as much as radioactive byproducts as fission does. And also, the reactions in fusion can produce more energy than fission. Most often hydrogen and helium are used. Fusion reactions occur under the sun, commonly using hydrogen as fuel and producing helium as a waste product.
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How It Produces Electricity

In a nuclear power plant, fuel is not burned to produce energy.Fission and fusion are the “fuel” in this case to produce energy. This takes place in a reactor thats is located inside the power plant. There is a CORE in the centre of the reactor in which uranium fuel is contained. Ceramic pellets are formed from the uranium fuel.Fun fact: although these pellets are the size of our fingertips, they are powerful enough to produce the equivalent amount of energy as 150 gallons of oil ! Then after that, fission occurs and produces heat in a reactor. And then, the heat that is produced by fission is used to boil water into steam. This steam is then used as a fuel to turn huge turbine blades which drives generators that produce electricity.The good thing about this process is that not a lot of water is wasted because after the steam turns the blades , it is changed back into water and cooled so it can be used over and over.

Where this takes place

The process of converting nuclear energy into electricity takes place in a remote nuclear power plant/nuclear reactor.There are different types of nuclear reactors. There are two main ones, BWR(boiling water reactors) and PWR(pressurizing water reactors).In a BWR heated water turns into steam powering the turbine generators. In a PWR the water does not turn into steam, it stays a liquid.

Nuclear energy's contribution to global electricity supply

There are over 400 power reactors in the world. 12% of the world's electricity is produced by nuclear energy.31 countries use nuclear energy to generate 3/4 quarters of their country.And 16 countries depend on nuclear energy for at least a quarter of their electricity. In Canada, approximately 15 % of electricity is produces by nuclear power plants which is produced in Ontario. Canada has reactors for commercial power generation, for research, and to produce isotopes for nuclear medicine.
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Ecological Impact

Nuclear power plants do not discharge anything into the environment except for hot water. But this is then cooled in a cooling tower. And out of the tower clean water vapour comes out and a little quantity of carbon dioxide. Also, the nuclear waste has to be handled very carefully because it is very radioactive and dangerous. Nuclear waste is what nuclear fuel becomes into after it is used in a reactor. The nuclear waste is stored in lead containers and is kept underwater for a few years until the radiation decays to a lower level.And the final disposal is a very controversial topic. One way is deep geologic storage. Which means that the containers will be buried underground anywhere from 300m to 1000 feet. And the problem with this is that there have been accidents in which the there have been leaks that contaminated the soil and the environment around it. They are also thinking of sending it to space because the sun would consume it. But the problem with this is that since the rockets are unreliable we can't risk "atmospheric dispersal" on take off.