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The Impact Of Nuclear Power Essay

1686 words - 7 pages

Nuclear power, the use of exothermic nuclear processes to produce an enormous amount of electricity and heat for domestic, medical, military and industrial purposes i.e. “By the end of 2012 2346.3 kilowatt hours (KWh) of electricity was generated by nuclear reactors around the world” (International atomic energy agency Vienna, 2013, p.13). However, with that been said it is evident that the process of generating electricity from a nuclear reactor has numerous health and environmental safety issues.
The impact of nuclear power on the modern world has improved Various sectors of the economy and society .i.e. Food and Agriculture, Insect control, Food Preservation, Water Resources, Military, Medicine, Research and Industry. “In 1911 George de Hevesy conducted the first application of a radioisotope. At the time de Hevesy was a young Hungarian student working in Manchester with naturally radioactive materials. Not having much money he lived in modest accommodation and took his meals with his landlady. He began to suspect that some of the meals that appeared regularly might be made from leftovers from the preceding days or even weeks, but he could never be sure. To try and confirm his suspicions de Hevesy put a small amount of radioactive material into the remains of a meal. Several days later when the same dish was served again he used a simple radiation detection instrument - a gold leaf electroscope - to check if the food was radioactive. It was, and de Hevesy's suspicions were confirmed.
History has forgotten the landlady, but George de Hevesy went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1943 and the Atoms for Peace award in 1959. His was the first use of radioactive tracers - now routine in environmental science” (World Nuclear Association, 2014).

At the time of the Second World War researchers focused on producing bombs by splitting atoms of certain isotopes of Uranium or Plutonium. It was only until the 1950s that attention was turned to the peaceful purposes of nuclear fission, mainly power generation (World Nuclear Association, 2014). “Today, the world produces as much electricity from nuclear energy as it did from all sources combined in 1960. Civil nuclear power can now boast over 15,500 reactor years of experience and supplies almost 11.5% of global electricity needs, from reactors in 31 countries. In fact, through regional grids, many more than those countries use nuclear-generated power” (World Nuclear Association, 2014). Numerous countries have also invested in research reactors as a source of neutron beams for scientific analysis and the production of isotopes for industrial and medical purposes. As of January 2014, sixteen countries worldwide rely on nuclear energy for at least of a quarter of electricity used i.e. Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Ukraine are dependent on nuclear energy for a bare minimum of one third or more, while France depends on nuclear energy for three...

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