High Quantities Nuclear reaction releases a million times more energy, as compared to hydro or wind energy. Large quantity of energy is generated from a single nuclear power plant. High Reserves Nuclear reactors make use of uranium as fuel and produces huge amounts of energy from small amounts of uranium.
The Earth has the high reserves of uranium. Current estimates put the uranium supply as enough to last for 30 to 60 years. Moreover other fuel cycles like Thorium are available for power generation. Whereas, oil reserves and other fossil type fuels are likely to run out shortly. Reliability Nuclear power plants operate reliably and have a continuous output of power. The plants do not generally face operations and maintenance problems.
This is a contrast to other alternative energies which depend on the activity of the weather. Low Operating cost Although nuclear power reactors are expensive to build, they are relatively cheap to operate. Fuel is inexpensive and a plant can be operated by small number of people, approximately 10 people. Additionally, coal power plants also pollute that environment with carbon and sulphur.
Obviously the radiation produced by the nuclear power plant is greater in volume than that produced by the coal power plant, but the radiation is contained within the reactor. The environmental issues with this containment are what happens to the radioactive waste when a nuclear power plant is shut down.
Half life and nuclear decay In the event of a nuclear leak, the effects of radiation on the environment can be huge. This can be seen from the after effects of the Chernobyl power plant when it exploded. This shows the large amount of time taken for radiation to be removed from the environment.
The half-life of Uranium is million years, this is the time taken for half of the radioactive atoms in a sample to decay. So it can be seen that in the event of a nuclear leak, radioactive contamination causes very long term problems. Specific attributes of this reactor were that it was a light-water-cooled graphite-moderated reactor. This type of reactor has been criticised for its lack of containment structure, and large quantities of combustible graphite within its core.
The accident actually occurred during a test run. The idea was to see if the turbines could produce the energy needed during a power cut, to keep coolant pumps working. But a power surge occurred and the emergency shutdown, which is designed to halt the chain reactions, failed.
The rising power level and temperature got out of control, causing an explosion. This blew off a tonne sealing cap, causing the radioactive fission products to be thrown up into the atmosphere. The fuel rods melted and graphite moderator set fire.
The mistake blamed for this disaster is that control rods were raised then immediately reinserted into the bundles. The inserting of control rods usually reduces the rate of the chain reaction. But in the case too many control rods were raised and replaced. This then had the reverse effect of raising power levels so fast that it caused the destruction of the reactor. Lessons learned from disasters In , Germany decided to phase out nuclear power, and look into sources of power with less severe possible consequences on the environment.
The disaster created international debate over the economics and controllability of nuclear power. In most European countries, no new research is being carried out on continuing to build nuclear power plants.
Instead the research is aimed at improving safety features at existing nuclear power plants and disposal of nuclear waste. As of , conversely, Asia and Eastern Europe have over reactor units either planned or being constructed. The number of nuclear power plant inspectors rose vastly after this disaster, and general safety awareness has greatly improved.
New regulations on emergency procedures where also put in place. The effects of the radiation are still affecting inhabitants of nearby countries, and are causing severe health problems amongst the young and old.
At least now safety and disaster management are main issues within this industry, and hopefully this kind of event will not be allowed to happen in the future.
You can order a custom essay, term paper, research paper, thesis or dissertation on Nuclear Energy topic from our professional custom writing service which provides students with high-quality custom written papers. Order a custom written paper of high quality Professional Writers only. Free Quote or Order now. However, nuclear plants have no gaseous waste.
As to the solid wastes, scientists have developed an efficient way to dispose safely of them. It is proposed that the radioactive waste should be mixed with molten glass then cooled to be part of solid, corrosion-proof glass; thus, blocking its radioactivity Morris, While the fossil fuels waste would continuously pose a threat the environment and to human health. Those fossil fuels do not only harm the environment, but also violate human safety, by producing pollutants that cause serious diseases.
All of which have been linked to serious neuromuscular and respiratory diseases, like bronchitis and lung-cancer. On the other hand nuclear energy is free of all those pollutants. On the long run, imagine how many lives would be saved by just replacing fossil fuels with nuclear energy.
Opponents of nuclear energy have been promoting nuclear energy for years to be a death tool; in fact, this claim has little truth to it. One is much more susceptible to death from air pollution, than of the radiation emitted by the nuclear plants. Air pollution causes deaths worldwide every year Morris, When, the death toll for the Chernobyl accident was cancer deaths over 50 years, which means, deaths per year. Which confirms the claim that air pollution is much more dangerous than nuclear energy.
Nevertheless, the radiation is still the major concern of those in opposition of nuclear energy because it has been publicized that nuclear energy produces excessive amounts of radiation causing three possible health effects: As to the genetic mutations, it has been shown that excessive doses of radiation are not associated in any way with the genetic mutations.
This needs a minimum radiation exposure of , millirems, below that no radiation sickness occurred in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nowadays, at the fence line of a nuclear power plant, by law, radiation may not exceed 10 millirems, that is 10, times less than the level at which radiation sickness occurs, it is also a tenth of the amount of radiation one could get from a medical x-ray yearly.
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