Nuclear Energy<br />By: Sara Lolatte, MinGyu Park, Asher Chase, and Alex Cummings<br />
How Nuclear Power Works<br /><ul><li>Power plants that depend on atomic energy don’t operate that differently from typical coal-burning power plants.
Both plants heat water into pressurized steam, which drives a turbine generator.
The difference between the two systems is how they heat the water
Before Nuclear power, plants would use fossil fuels to heat the water
Nuclear power plants depend on the heat that occurs during, nuclear fission</li></ul>Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant is one of 59 French plants that provide 75 percent of the country's electricity.<br />Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. <br />
Nuclear Fission<br /><ul><li>Nuclear fission is essential to producing nuclear energy.
The fission process is when an atomic nucleus is broken by neutron impact. The original nucleus splits into two lighter nuclei also releasing free neutrons and a large quantity of energy, and radiation.</li></ul>If there is no control on this process the result is triggering further fission events, causing an atomic bomb.<br />
Controls on the process<br />Control rods that absorb neutrons keep the process from escalating to a deadly chain reaction (as to not cause a nuclear explosion).<br />To keep the chain reaction going, the control rods must be withdrawn further. At some point, the chain reaction cannot be maintained and the fuel must be replenished.<br />
Disadvantages of Nuclear energy<br />Radioactive waste-. The waste from nuclear energy is extremely dangerous and it has to be carefully looked after for several thousand years (10'000 years according to United States Environmental Protection Agency standards).<br />Sustainability- Is nuclear energy sustainable and renewable<br />Nuclear Power Plant Accidents and Terrorism-If a nuclear power plant accident occurs, the environment and surrounding people could be exposed to high levels of radiation. A satisfactory plan to protect nuclear power plants from terrorism is not in place.<br />
Radioactive Waste<br />Radioactive Waste is still an unsolved problem. The waste from nuclear power plants is extremely dangerous and it can remain active for more than several thousand years.There are several issues with burying the radioactive waste. Waste would be transported in large trucks. In the event of an accident, the radioactive waste could possibly leak. Another issue is that we can not be certain that the casks will not leak after the waste is buried. The amount of radioactive waste that we currently have would fill the Yucca Mountains and new sites would need to be found to bury future radioactive waste. Several methods have been suggested for final disposal of high-level waste, including deep burial in stable geological structures, transmutation, and removal to space. However, there is still no current solution to deal with the issue of radioactive waste. Some scientists feel that the idea of building more nuclear power plants and worrying about dealing with the waste later has the potential of a dangerous outcome. One other problem of radioactive waste is producing more nuclear weapons. The same know-how used to design nuclear power plants can to a certain extent be used to build nuclear weapons (nuclear proliferation).<br />
Nuclear Energy is Neither Sustainable or Renewable Energy<br /> Nuclear energy uses Uranium as fuel, which is a scarce resource. Their supplies are estimated to last only for the next 30 to 60 years depending on the actual demand. Uranium is available on earth only in limited quantities. Uranium is converted during the operation of nuclear power plant so it won't be available any more for future generations. This again contradicts the principle of sustainability. Both the nuclear waste as well as retired nuclear plants are a life-threatening legacy for hundreds of future generations. It flagrantly contradicts with the thoughts of sustainability if future generations have to deal with dangerous waste generated from preceding generations. Renewable energy sources can indeed provide base load electricity either directly or by also utilizing energy storage. Energy from renewable sources now accounts for a quarter of the installed capacity of California , a third of Sweden 's energy, half of Norway 's and three-quarters of Iceland 's. Six fully coasted modeling studies already show that deep cuts to greenhouse emissions can be achieved without needing nuclear power. Also, nuclear power plants have been not only expensive, they're also financially extremely risky because of their long lead times, cost overruns, and open-ended liabilities.<br />
Nuclear Power Plant Accidents and Terrorism<br /> According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, regulated safety procedures are not being followed to ensure that nuclear power plants are safe. Even if all safety precautions are followed, it is no guarantee that a nuclear power plant accident will not occur. If a nuclear power plant accident occurs, the environment and surrounding people could be exposed to high levels of radiation. Terrorism threats are another concern that needs to be addressed. How do we protect our nuclear power plants from terrorist threats? A satisfactory plan to protect nuclear power plants from terrorism Terrorists with sufficient expertise and resources could in theory build a nuclear bomb but only with enormous difficulty. Starting a chain reaction is not simple. Highly enriched uranium—very problematic to acquire—would have to be correctly contained to obtain an explosion. Terrorists stealing an American nuclear weapon couldn't explode it without detailed knowledge of classified procedures that unlock numerous fail-safe mechanisms. Nuclear weapons that have been accidentally dropped from aircraft or involved in plane crashes, for instance, have not exploded. The reason: these devices are designed to blow up only when properly detonated is not in place.<br />
It doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.<br />Nuclear power plants release less radiation than coal power plants.<br />CO2 emissions are very low.<br />By not depending on fossil fuels nuclear power costs are not affected by the fluctuating costs of fuel and coal.<br />Cost effective<br />
Generates large amounts of energy.<br />Uranium less expensive than oil, natural gas or coal.<br />Nuclear power plants produce large amounts of electricity for relatively low costs and as such are viable means of power.<br />
<ul><li>Northwestern University students recently found that Venus Flytraps can “eat” nuclear waste
The open windows of the metal-sulfide material allow cesium (Cs) ions to enter the structure. Like a Venus flytrap, the entrance of cesium ions in the cavity triggers a window-closing response to permanently encapsulate the ion.
Shows promise for “clean up”</li></li></ul><li>World War II<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs3JE4WRL-8&feature=related<br />Simulated Nuclear Dome - NV<br />http://www.usnuclearenergy.org/VideoClips.htm<br />