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Earths Natural Heat Vs Its Minerals

1301 words - 6 pages

When it comes to the global climate change issue the race is on to try and find an answer to stop polluting our planet but still fulfill all our energy needs and continue to keep up with the seemingly ever-growing population growth. There are many options and many different beliefs on our global climate situation but when it comes down to it we have two types of energy sources; renewable and non-renewable. One of the few renewable resources out there is Geothermal heat and has very little harm on the environment and may be one of our best answers to solving this climate change crisis or at least combat some of damage. Then there is Nuclear energy which is used to generate about 20% of the ...view middle of the document...

Currently Klamath Falls has the largest use of geothermal energy in Oregon and use this source to power more than 500 homes, 7 schools, 13 apartment buildings, 1 medical center, 1 county jail, 8 schools and many other buildings, there are also three snow melt sites in Klamath Falls. Geothermal energy in Oregon however only accounts for a total of .12% of its entire energy make up, coming in after Solar energy and Landfill Gas. Nuclear energy makes up for a bit more of Oregon’s energy totaling 2.8% of their total energy sources, even though the source is out-of-state, in Washington called Columbia which has a 100% efficiency capacity of 1,200MW.
Nuclear energy used to have more of a presence in Oregon but after 2004 when it’s nuclear power plant, Trojan a 1,130MW plant was finally decommissioned after 17 years of being in service. Oregon’s nuclear energy future really starting dwindling in 1980 when a ballot to ban further construction of any more nuclear power plants passed, Trojan’s life was limited at this point.
Nuclear energy is created by making heat through a process called fission, which is when uranium atoms are split apart to create heat, the heat then gets turned into electricity by generating steam. The heat from the fission process boils water inside the reactor vessel, creating the steam and then turning a turbine generator that produces electricity with it’s magnetic field, this electricity is then carried to our cities and homes and provide us with power for all our electronics. The radioactive materials, uranium and plutonium fuel, inside the reactors are put inside small ceramic pellets and then those pellets are put into long metal rods inside the reactor vessel. The containment for this reactor vessel is made of concrete and has walls that are usually three to six feet thick.
Most of the issues with nuclear energy are not with the energy process its self because nuclear plants do not emit carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, or nitrogen oxides. The issues are with the plant’s high-level waste and the substance that we pull nuclear energy from, obsidian, and how we acquire it.
When the radioactive material inside the reactor has to be retired it is called ‘spent fuel’ and its incredibly dangerous. The spent fuel has to be cooled for several years after being pulled from the reactors in deep pools inside the power plant and then transferred into special casks and transported to a special deposit site that is needed for radioactive waste. Basically they are converting the nuclear waste into a rock-like form and placed back into the natural habitat of rocks far underground. The life expectancy of one of these nuclear-waste-rocks in this type of environment is estimated at one billion...

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