Nuclear Science Essay

2008 words - 8 pages

Whether or not Australia should start to develop nuclear power stations to generate electricity for household and industrial useDescriptionA modern society like Australia, which relies heavily on technology, has accumulated increased electrical energy consumption. Nuclear power can create electricity, without producing greenhouse gases.Nuclear fission- in a large atom, the nucleus can be very unstable, making it susceptible to breaking apart. Atomic particles known as neutrons and energy that can be felt as heat is released when the nucleus splits. A chain reaction develops when the neutrons from one nucleus collide with nearby nuclei of atoms and split. From a small amount of radioactive material, the chain reaction creates a large amount of energy. Nuclear fusion- joining the atoms together is another way to release energy. When heated to millions of degrees, the nuclei of certain materials are fused together quickly. Huge amounts of energy are given off when this occurs. To make electricity form nuclear power, it must be generated inside a nuclear power station. Heat is used to boil water to make steam. The steam drives a giant wheel known as a turbine. The energy of the spinning movement is changed into electricity by a generator. In a nuclear power station, heat is obtained through nuclear fission contained in nuclear fuel.An application of nuclear power is nuclear weapons. The most common is an atomic bomb. The atomic fission of uranium and plutonium produce energy. It is made up of pieces of almost pure uranium or plutonium which are less than critical mass. Ordinary explosives drive the pieces together to make one whole that is above critical mass. The bomb explodes due to an uncontrolled chain reaction. Smoke detectors are another form of nuclear technology. There are two types of these safety devices. One detects smoke or heat sources by using radiation from radioactive material. They are also called 'ion chamber smoke detectors'. The other type detects the change in light level using a photoelectric sensor.Positive and Negative ImpactsPositiveNuclear power doesn't depend on fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels is released into the atmosphere where they trap heat. This increases the earth's temperature as it acts like a blanket. Carbon dioxide emissions are minimal with nuclear power plants. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, power plants depending on fossil fuels would normally produce 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. In fact, a coal-fired power plant releases more radioactivity into the atmosphere than a properly functioning nuclear power plant. Fluctuations in oil and gas prices also don't affect the cost of nuclear power. The fuel used to power nuclear power plants is very convenient as well. Uranium is a highly concentrated source of energy which is cheap and easy to transport. The amount of uranium needed is much less than for oil or coal. The energy yielded by one kilogram of...

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