Nuclear power......Foe

What is nuclear power?

  • Nuclear power is a way to create large amounts of energy or electricity.
  • It is created through a reaction in the nucleus from fission and fusion.
  • Many power plants are built near water such as lakes because a lot of water is used for the cooling process.

Fission and Fusion

  • Nuclear Fusion- When 2 light nuclei combine and form a heavier nucleus causing energy to be released. It requires high temperatures and is hard to contain.
  • Nuclear Fission- A nucleus of an atom splits into 2 smaller nuclei. During that, some the nucleus's mass is converted to energy. This is the most commonly used one.

Nuclear Power Plants

  • Nuclear power plants consist of many large buildings including the reactor which is very important.
  • Reactors in a nuclear power plant have a control rod that has a material that absorbs neutrons. They help maintain the number of neutrons in the core. Too much can cause fission too quickly and too less can stop energy production.
  • In U.S. reactors, moderators and coolants are depended on.
  • Moderators, which is light water in the U.S. , slows down the neutrons making fission more possible.
  • Coolants are liquids and gases that circulate through the core. They keep fuel rods from getting to hot.

Major Events

  • Chernobyl's Nuclear Disaster
On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded, creating one of the worst nuclear disaster we have ever seen. The day before the explosion, plant operators were going to shutdown reactor number 4 for maintenance and then disabled it because it violated safety regulations. That day at 1:23 am steam was created causing more re-activity in reactor number 4 which created an explosion detaching the 1,000 ton plate over it releasing radiation into the atmosphere. Few seconds later a bigger explosion occurred blowing the reactor building apart, parts of the reactor core, and damaged reactor number 3. The release of radiation had a major negative effect on the people (killing and contaminating them) and the environment (trees & plants in that area killed).
  • Fukushima's Nuclear Disaster
On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station on the Pacific Ocean coast was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami, triggering the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. The next day radioactive materials were found near the nuclear power plant and steam was filled in the building by the core melt down. Lots of radioactive material was released into the environment and the air at a high risk. There was a mass evacuation of the residents everywhere.
  • The Three Mile Island Disaster(video)

One of the things that stood out from this is that "the radioactivity escaped the 4 foot thick walls of the power plants."

Disadvantages of Nuclear Power

  • It's difficult to manage the nuclear waste. It takes many years to eliminate its radioactivity and risks.
  • The investment for the construction of a nuclear plant is very high and has to be recovered as soon as possible, so it raises the cost of electricity generated.
  • Nuclear reactors work by fission nuclear reactions, these chain reactions are generated in case control systems fail because continuous reactions can cause a radioactive explosion impossible to contain.
  • One of the most alarming disadvantage is the use of nuclear weapons in the military industry knowing that they could be used in the future.
  • Scientists use U-235 and "it makes up only about 0.71 percent of the uranium found in nature. "
  • "Separating U-235 from U-238 in these ores is very difficult and costly."

Advantages of Nuclear Power

  • Using nuclear power lessens the required amount of fossil fuel to generate electricity.
  • The use of fossil fuel such as coal or oil is reduced which benefits the situation of global warming and global climate change.
  • Using less fuel makes more energy, it represents a significant save on raw materials and the transport, handling, and extraction of nuclear fuel.
  • "By reducing the consumption of fossil fuels we also improve the quality of the air affecting the disease and quality of life."

Solutions For Making Energy Without Nuclear Power

  • Hydroelectricity- Taking moving water at a very fast moving pace to propel like a turbine. This rotates a generator to create electricity. Dams are used to collect water. An opening in the dam drops water down a pipe causing the turbine to spin creating electricity."This does have an environmental impact, but with new "fish friendly" turbines and advances in data hydroelectricity could be a great solution."
  • Wind Turbines- They use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blade, which spin a shaft causing a generator to to make electricity.
  • Solar Power- The sun's light has energy. When this light hits solar technology like solar panels, the energy turns into an electrical current which is used to create power. Most solar technology uses crystals that can be shaped into flexible films.

Nuclear Power is a Foe

Nuclear Power shouldn't be used because of many reasons, but there are 2 big ones. One is that it is very expensive to make a nuclear power plant and if we want to start completely using nuclear power than it is going to be hard to build all these power plants. The other one is nuclear power can release a lot of radioactivity which can cause a lot of damage to people and their generations like the people in Chernobyl. Sometimes we can't control when it happens like an earthquake and we shouldn't take that risk. There are many other resources we could use for energy.