To reduce the GHGs emissions and resolve the climate change is still a challenge, while the world is going to facing the running out of fossil fuels energy, yet the demand of energy keep increasing in these years. One efficient approach to solve the problem is to switch to the renewable energy or, nuclear energy indeed. The more people are hold against nuclear energy science the accident in Fukushima 2011, with stronger supporting to develop the renewable energy.
Compare to the renewable energy, the nuclear powers are used widely for decades with mature and applicable technology. Overall, more than 400 nuclear power plants operating in 30 countries, produced 2620 billion kWh, which supply 13.5% of the world’s electricity in year 2010 (T.N.&T.S., 2012). China decided to turn to nuclear power instead of natural gas and fossil fuel to meet the national electricity expansion – “mainland China has 20 nuclear power reactors in operation, 28 under construction, and more about to start construction”, says World Nuclear Association (2014).
Yet, the raw material of generate nuclear electricity, the uranium, is nonrenewable resource, and the nuclear plants brings negative impacts to the environment, which the essay elaborates below.
Rationales of nuclear power
Nuclear energy, also known as atomic energy, became popular in the early 20th century. The atom held enormous capacity of energy - the uranium (uranium-238 and uranium-235) is formed into solid ceramic pellets packaged into long, vertical tubes for uses. In the reaction, the pellets are bombarded with neutrons, which causing the uranium atoms to split and release heat and neutrons, then the neutrons collide with other uranium atoms and release additional heat and neutrons in a chain reaction. Uranium must be converted from an ore to solid ceramic fuel pellets, through mining and milling, conversion, enrichment, and fabrication, before it is used in a reactor (Janna Palliser, 2012). The nuclear fusion energy seems to be inexhaustible, yet the challenge is how to develop an effective fusion system. Nuclear fusion is putting small nuclei together to make a larger nucleus. An obvious example appears in the sun - it uses nuclear fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium atoms and gives off heat and light and other radiation. The nuclear fusion is that it creates less radioactive material than fission, and its supply of fuel can last much longer than the sun. Another form of nuclear energy is the nuclear fission energy, when release slowly, can be utilized to generate electricity. However, when it releases all at once, it can make a huge explosion as an atomic bomb (California Energy Commission, 2012).
Instead of burning a fuel, some nuclear power plants use the boiling water reactors (BWRs) which is used to boil water in the core of the reactor directly into steam and the pipes will carry steam to drives the turbine to generate electricity. While the pressurized water reactors (PWRs),...