Nuclear energy, also known as atomic energy, is the powerful energy released by changes in the nucleus of atoms. A huge amount of energy is concentrated in the nucleus due to the extremely strong force that holds the nucleus together (Nuclear Energy 2017). The releasing of that energy stored in the nucleus creates large amount of heat which people have found many uses for, such as creating electricity, powering machinery, and advancing warfare.
The cost to build a nuclear power plant is around $9 billion per unit (Nuclear Power Cost). However, one may argue that operating a nuclear power plant will be less expensive than a fossil-fuel plant due to a smaller volume of fuel used (Nuclear Energy 2017). To produce nuclear energy, engineers built a device called Nuclear Reactor. Operating as a furnace, the nuclear reactor uses Uranium. The energy that 1 pound of Uranium gives off during fission is more than the burning of 3 million pounds of coal.
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Along with nuclear power plants comes nuclear, or atomic, bombs. The US ended WWII by dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan (Nuclear Energy 2017). It wiped out the cities and killing thousands of Japanese men, women, and children. The atomic bomb did end many lives but it saved WWII from continuation and saved many other lives. It also prevented US and Russia going to war. Both sides went into competition and raced to build and stock these atomic bombs but didn’t engage in military action due to the fear of the consequences of the deadly weapon. Nuclear bombs ended up putting out potential wars.
13,000 premature deaths, 20,000 heart attacks, 1.6 million workdays lost due to air pollution from from coal (Schneider, C., and Jonathan Banks (2010). Uranium does not release no chemical or solid pollutants into the air which results a better environment (Nuclear Energy 2017). Average of 76,000 deaths per year was avoided, during 2000 to 2009 studies, thanks to the production of nuclear energy (Kharecha, Pushker, & Hansen, James 2013). Nuclear energy also resulted a new way of medical treatment called nuclear radiation. It is used in medicine and Science.
The ending product of nuclear energy, beside the energy itself happens to be a radioactive substance called Plutonium. It becomes less radioactive and even harmless until after thousands of years. Out of 100% of the waste, 90% are low level waste, tools or work clothes that got lightly contaminated, with the radioactive content of 1%. 7% of the waste is intermediate level with the radioactive content of 4%, this includes filters and other steel parts of the nuclear reactor (Nuclear Waste 2016). The rest 3% waste is the high level waste, plutonium, with the radioactive content of 95% (Nuclear Waste 2016). Nuclear power plants cannot explode like a nuclear bomb, the biggest safety hazard is the radioactivity spreading. With possible safety hazards, nuclear power plants are more regulated and observed by the government. This provides a safe protocall in discarding the waste. Low level waste can be handled easily, however; high level waste needs shielding and cooling. The waste is disposed deep underground in engineered facilities.
However, in fossil-fuel plantations, the waste isn’t radioactive and doesn’t need handling in terms of exportation to a underground facility. Instead, it’s waste can be found rising into the air. China, as an example, relied on coal. The air pollution got so unhealthy, the government banned coal in hopes of control the carbon dioxide emissions. People in countryside and poor provinces of china froze through winter without hot water, someone even went far enough to break the law. The carbon emissions from fossil fuel plants creates global warming, ruining the future for humans.
Nuclear energy is a sufficient way of producing energy. The result of using nuclear energy will help pave way for the future. With nuclear energy comes a more stable environment and encouraged experiments with technology which will advance the human race to further even more knowledge. Nuclear energy is more affordable, cleaner, and reliable than fossil-fuel energy.
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