Should the UK continue to invest in nuclear power? Scott Ramage Image From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456932/html/default.stm , Guide to UK nuclear power , BBC News, 15/10/2010
Why did I choose this topic? <ul><li>I chose to do this project because: </li></ul><ul><li>The science surrounding nuclear power is interesting and challenging. </li></ul><ul><li>Fossil fuels will undeniably run out in the near future – They are a finite resource. </li></ul><ul><li>All but one of the UK’s nuclear reactors will be decommissioned before 2025 – and nuclear power currently generates 20% of the electricity used in the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to find out the opinions and feelings towards nuclear power and compare the results between two different age ranges. </li></ul>What did I want to achieve? <ul><li>I wanted to: </li></ul><ul><li>Compare the pros and cons of a number of energy sources and conclude by giving my own personal opinion as to what energy source would be best for our future. </li></ul><ul><li>Research nuclear power extensively to see if there is a real danger towards people’s lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Find out what happened and why the Chernobyl disaster occurred. </li></ul><ul><li>See the attitude that people display towards certain energy sources. </li></ul>
How did I go about planning? <ul><li>I began by breaking up my main project question into 5 smaller areas to research. This made the research task a lot easier as well as writing a conclusion to my main question, as I simply collated all my findings together then gave my answer. After breaking up my research into these questions, I then began researching each key question, using both primary and secondary sources. </li></ul>What research did I carry out? <ul><li>I began collecting research from primary sources because some of the sources are quite basic and not as in-depth compared to some of the websites I used. I then added my finding into the appropriate mind maps I created to store the research for each of the 5 project questions. The sites that I gathered the information from were then added to my bibliography. </li></ul><ul><li>Once I had collected a sufficient amount of primary research I then used the internet to research further. The internet sources were more detailed and up to date compared to the books in the school library. </li></ul><ul><li>I also created a questionnaire , which was completed by people in school. </li></ul><ul><li>The next slides show how I recorded the information I gathered from both my primary and secondary research sources. </li></ul>
Energy Sources, 1991, Clint Twist, Hove East Sussex, 11/11/2010.
Energy Forever? Nuclear Power , Ian Graham, Hove East Sussex, 1998, 11/11/2010 Planet Earth, Amy Bauman, Tunbridge wells Kent, 2008, 11/11/2010
Key Findings <ul><li>How does nuclear power work? </li></ul><ul><li>The process is called nuclear fission . </li></ul><ul><li>This involves firing a neutron at an uranium-235 atom. This splits the atom into much smaller atoms whilst releasing more neutrons and lots of heat. The neutrons released then go onto split more atoms, releasing more heat. This is a chain reaction. </li></ul><ul><li>Is nuclear power safe? </li></ul><ul><li>Many people fear nuclear power and deem it unsafe, after the Chernobyl disaster. I found that it is the waste that comes from nuclear power that is, in fact, dangerous. The waste product is highly radioactive and requires special care and attention to make it safe – Often it has to be stored securely for hundreds of years before it is safe. </li></ul><ul><li>The radioactive waste has been linked with increases in caner cases. </li></ul><ul><li>I also found that the Chernobyl accident was down to human error, not a design fault or malfunction. Although this event was devastating no other major accidents have happened since, possibly due to the lessons learned from the Chernobyl. In 2004 it was estimated that the population of Chernobyl was 0 . </li></ul>Sources used: Guide to UK nuclear power .” BBC . N.p., 2003. Web. 16 Nov. 2010. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456932/html/default.stm>. Sample, Ian. “Beginner’s guide: How nuclear power works.” Guardian . N.p., 30 Apr. 2008. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/apr/30/particlephysics.energy1>. Image From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456932/html/nn2page1.stm, Guide to UK Nuclear Power, BBC News, 02/11/2010 <ul><li>The heat given off by this reaction is then used to boil water. The steam produced then spins a turbine, which then turns a generator, creating electricity. </li></ul>
<ul><li>What are the alternatives? </li></ul><ul><li>Coal and gas power stations are possible alternatives however, it is estimated that the fuels for these plants will run out in the not so distant future. Natural gas will run out first. </li></ul><ul><li>Renewables, such as wind and solar power, are sources of energy that don’t release any greenhouse gases but they don’t provide a constant output, as they depend on certain conditions to operate properly. </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear fusion , not fission which is used in nuclear power stations, is also an alternative. Fusion is the process which occurs on our sun and involves 2 isotopes of hydrogen being fused together and releasing vast amounts of energy in the process. This technology is still relatively new and there’s currently an experimental fusion reactor being built in France to test the concept. </li></ul><ul><li>¹ “In addition, fusion emits no pollution or greenhouse gases. Its major by-product is Helium: an inert, non-toxic gas. There is no possibility of a 'run-away' reaction because the conditions for fusion are precise—any alteration in these conditions and the plasma cools within seconds and the reaction stops. Fusion has the capacity to furnish large-scale quantities of energy, with a low burden of waste for future generations.” </li></ul><ul><li>How much does it cost? </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.iter.org/sci/fusionfuels , Fuelling the fusion reaction, 10/03/2011,11:17am </li></ul><ul><li>http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/guides/456900/456932/html/nn4page1.stm , Guide to UK nuclear power , BBC News, 12/10/2010 </li></ul>The diagram on the right shows the estimated cost of electricity generation, per kWh, for 3 different sources of energy. Nuclear power stations have a high start up cost compared to coal and gas stations but when other costs are taken into account, such and fuel and running costs, nuclear power is in fact the cheapest to generate. Onshore wind power stations of the same output costs much much more.
My Conclusion <ul><li>What are the benefits of nuclear power? </li></ul><ul><li>Here are 3 simple reasons as to why nuclear power is a good source of energy: </li></ul><ul><li>When operating a nuclear power plant doesn’t emit any carbon dioxide </li></ul><ul><li>Unlike some renewables the output is always constant and doesn’t rely on certain weather conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Despite there being less useable uranium than coal, nuclear fuels will, by far, last us much further into the future, as less uranium is needed in a power plant than coal or natural gas. </li></ul><ul><li>I believe that the UK should continue to invest in nuclear power . This is because: </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear power is a relatively clean source of energy compared to fossil fuels. This is because, when generating electricity, nuclear fuelled power stations don’t release any carbon dioxide, or any other greenhouse gases. </li></ul><ul><li>Also, nuclear fuels, such as uranium-235, are expected to last us much longer compared to fossil fuels , despite there being a significantly less amount of fuel. This is because nuclear fuels generate more power per volume compared to fossil fuels. </li></ul><ul><li>I also feel tat we should continue to invest in renewables because they’re a clean source of power but their output varies and isn’t very high. </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, I believe that most, if not all, of our power in the future will come from nuclear fusion . This technology is still be developed and a test reactor is currently being built in France to prove the concept. Nuclear fusion has a high out put and there isn’t any major sources of radiation to worry about. </li></ul>
My Product <ul><li>I chose to make a written report about my topic. This was because: </li></ul><ul><li>I could go into detail about nuclear power – including the risks, costs, benefits and how it works. </li></ul><ul><li>It seemed the most effective way of exploring my 5 key project questions in great detail. </li></ul>What skills have I developed? <ul><li>The skills that I feel I’ve developed most are: </li></ul><ul><li>Time management – We have had to meet important hand in dates throughout the course of the project – so we had to be sensible with the time we had to meet them </li></ul><ul><li>Researching skills – This project required a lot of research and when researching I made sure that the sources were reliable by verifying them with the information from other sources. This technique means that the information is likely to be correct. </li></ul>
Evaluation <ul><li>Over the whole project I feel that I have done a good job as I now have a quality product that I have made using the research I collected. The product is constructed using the quality research, collected from both primary and secondary sources. I also think that constructing the product went well because I used my mind maps to help make it. </li></ul><ul><li>If I was going to do this project again I would improve my questionnaire. I would ask my questions to more people and I would improve the questions too. </li></ul><ul><li>I would also try and ask someone in the nuclear industry about nuclear power, to get detailed and up to date information. </li></ul>
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/mar/18/nuclear-reactors-power-stations-world-list-map#zoomed-picture , The Guardian, N uclear power stations and reactors operational around the world: listed and mapped, Simon Rogers, 23/03/2011, 21:57
Steven Cowley: Fusion is energy's future, http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/steven_cowley_fusion_is_energy_s_future.html , 24/03/2011