Nuclear Power Plants in U.S.

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Nuclear Energy is produced when Uranium atoms are split in a process called nuclear fission. ( Ballish 2015)

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Vast amounts of energy is released and generates heat. Nuclear Power Plants harness this energy and create electricity.Nuclear Power plants heat water to produce steam. The steam is used to spin large turbines that generate electricity ( 2018).

There are two types of Nuclear Plants in the United States.One is called the Pressurized Water Reactor and the other is called the Boiling Water Reactor (Ballish 2015).The USA is the worlds largest producer of nuclear power, accounting for more than 30% of worldwide nuclear generation of electricity ( 2018).104 power reactors are operating in the United States with a total capacity of 102,100 MWe (Ristinen, 2016).

Four to Six new units may come online by 2020  (Ristinen,2016).It costs less to generate nuclear energy than it does to generate energy from fossil fuels (Ballish 2015)Nuclear Fission creates more energy then burning fossil fuels (Ballish 2015).Reactors are not affected by the availability of fossil fuels (Ristinen, 2016).

Reactors also do not emit CO2, SO2, CO, or particulates into the atmosphere (Ristinen, 2016).Nuclear waste is a by – product from Nuclear Plants. This waste can be harmful to humans and the environment if not properly disposed of. This waste can remain active and dangerous to human health for thousands of years ( 2018).The United States does not have a permanent disposal facility for high- level  nuclear waste ( 2018).

This is alarming since the United States is the largest producer of nuclear energy.Accidents can happen at anytime due to human error or natural disasters.This was the case in Japan when a Tsunami struck the Fukushima Plant. The cost of building a nuclear plant is extremely high (Ballish 2015).Nuclear Energy brings fear along with it. The fear of a disaster happening is a reality that humans have to face.

History has shown us that these disasters can happen and leave devastating effects.

 The Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island disasters are among the most disastrous.On April 26th, 1986 a reactor at Chernobyl exploded that sent radioactive clouds into the air. The radiation effected the surrounding area dramatically (Burns 2018).Chernobyl is the site of the worlds worst nuclear disaster ( Burns 2018).

Four thousand cancer deaths since that day can be attributed to the radiation from Chernobyl (Materese 2018).In 2011 there was a earthquake in Japan that caused a massive Tsunami to hit the Fukushima plant.

The cooling system failed due to power outages and  one of the nuclear units exploded which caused major radiation to be leaked into the ocean (Tang 2015).This was a tragic event for Japan and soon after, all fifthy of their plants were set offline (Tang 2015).This event impacted the United States and changed the way we oversee Nuclear Plants.It occurred in Pennsylvania 1979, when there was a partial meltdown at Three Mile Island Unit 2 (Liu 2015). It was the worst nuclear power plant accident in the United States history (Mangano 2004).



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