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Nuclear Power: Energy For The Future

1247 words - 5 pages

Nuclear power is a technology synonymous with extirpate, radiation, health issues, and instability, but also mass energy production. Nuclear power has many common misconceptions, like these, and is often seen as a large risk. But rest assured nuclear power is the cleanest most immaculate way to power our growing nation, despite skepticism about safety concerns.
Nuclear power is a way of harnessing the great power released by a nuclear fission reaction. Nuclear fission is, “an extremely complex nuclear reaction representing a cataclysmic division of an atomic nucleus into two nuclei of comparable mass. This rearrangement or division of a heavy nucleus may take place naturally (spontaneous fission) or under bombardment with neutrons, charged particles, gamma rays, or other carriers of energy (induced fission)” (Huizenga). The later is used in nuclear reactors. To allow nuclear fission to occur, we must first introduce something to set off the reaction. In most cases this is a neutron which is shot, with clout, at a uranium atom. This reaction generates a lot of heat, the primary form of energy.
This heat can be transferred into energy in much the same way as a coal power plant. The heat given off heats the surrounding water, which also acts as a coolant. This heated water eventually turns into steam, which rises and persists onward. This flow of steam is allowed to pass through turbines which turn on an axle, which generates electricity. This electricity is then sent through a converter and out to homes through power lines.
This whole process is quite immaculate, and can produce a great deal of energy, but how much? A single atom of uranium-235 is able to produce two-hundred million volts of raw power! This was just one atom! Imagine what a kilogram of uranium could do! One-kilogram of uranium-235 is equal to millions of gallons of fossil fuel. That’s one million times more energy per kilogram of fuel! This plentiful and powerful source of energy is used to power around sixteen percent of the world! An amazing number considering that a limited number of countries have access to this kind of technology. That number jumps to twenty percent for the U.S.A. and up to seventy-five percent for France, and seventy-six for Lithuania (Rahn). And all of this power has been made creating less damage to the environment.
Consumption of fuel in nuclear reactors is around 2,000 metric tons per year, this is a miniscule amount when compared to the tons of coal consumed each year, which is currently 6.74 billion and expected to grow to a staggering 9.98 billion by 2030 (Marshall).All of that coal is burned and turned into pollution that is eradicated into the air. Uranium waste is carefully watched, as it is allowed to cool for several years. It is then mixed with glass and either stored in large containment centers or deep in the earth. The process of disposing radioactive waste is a very meticulous one and radiation is not treated lightly. All of this...

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