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Different Types Of Nuclear Energy Essay

1267 words - 6 pages

As a source of energy, nuclear energy provides a safer alternative, for the production of energy for large-scale consumption. There are two different types of nuclear energy; nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Nuclear fission is the process in which a nucleus spits into two or more smaller nuclei. Nuclear fusion is the process in which two nuclei fuse together to form a larger nuclei. Nuclear reactors can become unstable creating an uncontrollable nuclear reaction. The effects of this can be seen in Chernobyl. Reactors have been designed safer after this disaster.
Nuclear fission is the process in which a nucleus spits into two or more smaller nuclei. Nuclear reactors use a controlled chain ...view middle of the document...

A nuclear reactor is a device in which controlled fission is used to produce energy. Power plants generate electricity by rotating coils in a magnetic field. The energy produced by the fission of uranium provides heat which turns water into steam which then turns the turbines, generating electricity. Nuclear reactors are becoming a more common source of electricity with 77% of France’s electricity coming from nuclear reactors. It’s both safer and easier to build thermal reactors. Most nuclear reactors are now thermal reactors. A nuclear reactor’s main components are the fuel rods; the control rods; the moderator and the coolant. These components are all found in the reactor’s core. Enriched fuel is placed in airtight rods, these are called the fuel rods. The moderator is the material that is found around the fuel and control rods. The coolant absorbs excess heat produced by the fission process in the reactor. Nuclear reactors are generally enclosed in a thick, airtight concrete and steel vessel. This protects those outside from the large quantities of gamma radiation given off.
Nuclear energy is the most efficient source of energy, producing 20 million times more energy than fossil fuels. Nuclear fusion creates more electricity than nuclear fission but needs temperatures of 20 million degrees. Nuclear reactors create nuclear waste as well as electricity. This nuclear waste takes centuries to become safe. Klaus Rolf, a member of Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, believes he can make radioactive waste safe in decades instead of centuries. Rolf claims to have cult the half-life of sodium by 1%. This was done by embedding a palladium metal with the radioactive sodium. Rolf believes he can also cut the half-life of radium-226 from 1600 years to only 100 years. It will still take ten years to prove his theory and make his technology practical.
The Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) reactor partially melted down on March 28, 1979. This was the most serious nuclear accident in U.S. history. A combination of problems led to the reactors meltdown and very small releases of radiation. This meltdown only released small amounts of radiation and had no detectable health effects on the workers or the public. It brought about sweeping changes including; emergency response planning; reactor operator training; human factor engineering; radiation protection and many other areas of nuclear power plant operations. The meltdown of TMI-2 caused the NRC to tighten and heighten its regularity oversight. All of these changes have made it almost impossible for another nuclear meltdown to occur.
The four nuclear reactors in Chernobyl were an odd design that used graphite moderators, water as a coolant and had no radiation containment shields around their cores. Reactor four was scheduled to be shut down for routine maintenance. The reactor was only shut...

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