Compare and Contrast of Nuclear Energy and Alternative Energy
Standard Number Science 3.4.A
Today our society is using more energy than ever. With the increase in demand for energy, problems are presented that have to be addressed. One of the biggest and most prevalent problems is the need for clean, renewable, sustainable energy. On the forefront of these problems comes the following solutions: nuclear energy, hydro-electric energy, and photovoltaic energy. With the need of energy in today’s current world, exploring different ways of producing power are necessary. The differences and similarities of nuclear energy and alternative energy are important to look over and examine in depth, so that it is plain to see the positive and negative effects of energy production.
To begin, nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission, which is the splitting of an atom to start a chain reaction (“11 Facts”). This chain reaction produces massive amounts of heat. Nuclear reactors take advantage of this heat by pumping water into the reactor, which in turn produces steam. The steam then becomes pressurized through a pipeline and exits into a turbine (“How do Nuclear”). The pressurized steam causes the turbine blades to spin, producing power which is linked to a generator for use in the main power lines. When the steam passes the turbine blades, it goes past cooled pipes and condensates (“How do Nuclear”). After the condensation process is finished and the steam reverts back to water, it is pumped into the reactor again, thus completing the process of producing nuclear-based power.
Next, hydro-electricity is electricity produced by moving water, flowing past a turbine connected to a generator (“Hydropower”). According to Nationalgeographic.com a typical hydro-plant is a system with three parts: an electric plant where electricity is produced, a dam that can be opened or closed to control water flow, and a reservoir where water can be stored. Typically a hydro-electricity plant functions by water flowing through an intake system and pushing the blades of a turbine which in turn produces electricity (“Hydropower”).
Also, there is photovoltaic energy. Photovoltaic energy, more commonly known as solar power, is the process of using the sun’s energy to produce electricity (“How do Solar”). According to Physics.org, solar cells rely on the photovoltaic effect: the ability of matter to emit electrons when light is shown on it. Photovoltaic cells rely on sunlight to emit photons. When these photons hit the PV (photovoltaic) cell, their energy is transferred into loose electrons. These electrons fill “holes,” or missing electrons, in the silicon PV cell. The holes in the cell are then filled by two types of current: N-type silicon positive current, and P-type current silicon negative current, which then creates an energy field used to generate power (“How do Solar”).
Now given background on all of the aforementioned energy production means, it is now important...