Using electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles PHEVs powered by nuclear reactors, we could reduce our oil demands by orders of magnitude. Additionally, many nuclear reactor designs can provide high-quality process heat in addition to electricity, which can in turn be used to desalinate water, prepare hydrogen for fuel cells, or to heat neighborhoods, among many other industrial processes.
When atoms split to release energy, the smaller atoms that are left behind are often left in excited states, emitting energetic particles that can cause biological damage.
This nuclear waste must be controlled and kept out of the environment for at least that long. Designing systems to last that long is a daunting task — one that been a major selling point of anti-nuclear groups.
Three major accidents have occurred in commercial power plants: Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima. Chernobyl was an uncontrolled steam explosion which released a large amount of radiation into the environment, killing over 50 people, requiring a mass evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people, and causing up to cancer cases.
Three Mile Island was a partial-core meltdown, where coolant levels dropped below the fuel and allowed some of it to melt.
No one was hurt and very little radiation was released, but the plant had to close, causing the operating company and its investors to lose a lot of money. Fukushima was a station black-out caused by a huge Tsunami. Four neighboring plants lost cooling and the decay heat melted the cores.
Radiation was released and the public was evacuated. These three accidents are very scary and keep many people from being comfortable with nuclear power. Nuclear power plants are larger and more complicated than other power plants. Many redundant safety systems are built to keep the plant operating safely. This complexity causes the up-front cost of a nuclear power plant to be much higher than for a comparable coal plant. Once the plant is built, the fuel costs are much less than fossil fuel costs.
In general, the older a nuclear plant gets, the more money its operators make. The large capital cost keeps many investors from agreeing to finance nuclear power plants. Concepts Learn about nuclear energy What is Nuclear Energy? What is Nuclear Engineering? What is radioactive dose? Nuclear Reactor Risk Assessment? What is a nuclear fuel cycle? Computing the energy density of nuclear fuel Barn Jams!
What is nuclear energy? Despite the strong support for and growth in intermittent renewable electricity sources in recent years, the fossil fuel contribution to power generation has remained virtually unchanged in the last 10 years In this decarbonisation scenario, electricity generation from nuclear more than doubles by , increasing to TWh, and capacity grows to GWe.
This would require adding 25 GWe per year from , escalating to 33 GWe per year, which is not much different from the 31 GWe added in , or the overall record of GWe in the s. Providing one-quarter of the world's electricity through nuclear would substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions and have a very positive effect on air quality.
All parts of the world are involved in nuclear power development, and some examples are outlined below. All but one of the country's 19 nuclear reactors are sited in Ontario.
In the first part of the government signed major contracts for the refurbishment and operating lifetime extension of six reactors at the Bruce generating station. The programme will extend the operating lifetimes by years. Similar refurbishment work enabled Ontario to phase out coal in , achieving one of the cleanest electricity mixes in the world.
Mexico has two operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 1. The USA has 99 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of There had been four AP reactors under construction, but two of these have been halted. One of the reasons for the hiatus in new build in the USA to date has been the extremely successful evolution in maintenance strategies.
Over the last 15 years, improved operational performance has increased utilisation of US nuclear power plants, with the increased output equivalent to 19 new MWe plants being built.
Despite this, the number of operable reactors has reduced in recent years, from a peak of in Early closures have been brought on by a combination of factors including cheap natural gas, market liberalization, over-subsidy of renewable sources, and political campaigning. Argentina has three reactors, with a combined net capacity of 1. Brazil has two reactors, with a combined net capacity of 1.
France has 58 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of In November , the French government postponed this target. The country's Energy Minister said that the target was not realistic, and that it would increase the country's carbon dioxide emissions, endanger security of supply and put jobs at risk.
Energiewende , widely identified as the most ambitious national climate change mitigation policy, has yet to deliver a meaningful reduction in carbon dioxide CO 2 emissions.
The Netherlands has a single operable nuclear reactor, with a net capacity of 0. The country is closing down some older reactors, but has invested heavily in operating lifetime extensions and uprates. The UK has 15 operable nuclear reactors, with a combined net capacity of 8.
The government aims to have 16 GWe of new nuclear capacity operating by This is used to heat water and turns it into steam. The steam drives a steam turbine, which spins a generator to produce electricity. This is what happens in a basic reactor, others include the use of intermediate heat exchangers or gaseous coolant fluid. The set up of a nuclear power plant is basically the same as that of a coal power plant.
The main difference is how the water is heated to produce steam, from then on the turbines and generator work in the same way for both plants. In solid fuel, particles can only move a very short distance. Therefore the kinetic energy is converted into heat as the particles are hitting against each other. The energy gained by splitting an atom comes from the fact that the products formed from the fission, together with the neutrons weigh less than the original product.
The decay of a single Uranium atom releases on average million electron volts, the equivalent to 3. In contrast, 4 electron volts are released per molecule of carbon dioxide in the combustion of fossil fuels.
So it can be seen that this is a very compact source of energy. The reason for the large amount of energy released is because the forces involved in nuclear reactions are much greater than those involved in chemical reactions. Uranium is a very dense metal at The protons and neutrons are held very tightly together and the electrons orbiting the nucleus are comparatively far away, so this shows how the bonds involved are so much stronger. Nuclear fission is a very efficient source of energy because of the low amounts of waste products.
Combustion of fossil fuels produces waste products such as ash and toxic fumes. This reduces the amount of usable energy produced by reaction, and therefore lowers its efficiency.
Uranium is found in most rocks, at 0. The Uranium found in the earths crust contains Another possible source to extract Uranium from is seawater, the key is to find it in quantities that is economical for extraction. The reactor is contained within a concrete liner, which shields radiation. Since the Chernobyl incident, the reactor is now usually contained within a secondary containment structure made of steel.
This prevents the leakage of radioactive steam in the event of an accident. The general view on nuclear power is that it is very bad for the environment. But in reality the radioactivity released into the atmosphere by a nuclear power plant is less than that released by a coal power plant. Additionally, coal power plants also pollute that environment with carbon and sulphur. Obviously the radiation produced by the nuclear power plant is greater in volume than that produced by the coal power plant, but the radiation is contained within the reactor.
The environmental issues with this containment are what happens to the radioactive waste when a nuclear power plant is shut down. Half life and nuclear decay In the event of a nuclear leak, the effects of radiation on the environment can be huge. This can be seen from the after effects of the Chernobyl power plant when it exploded. This shows the large amount of time taken for radiation to be removed from the environment.
The half-life of Uranium is million years, this is the time taken for half of the radioactive atoms in a sample to decay.
Nuclear energy is a comparatively new source of energy. The first nuclear power plant was commissioned in June in Obninsk, Russia. The first nuclear power plant was commissioned in June in Obninsk, Russia.
Nuclear Energy Nuclear Energy research papers examine a few alternative energy sources. Nuclear power provides approximately one-fifth of the United State’s electricity. The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy continue to be a matter of debate and controversy.
Nuclear energy research papers Nuclear energy is one of the most efficient sources of energy available. It produces more energy than any other fuel of the same mass or volume. Aug 26, · News about Nuclear Energy, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times. More News about nuclear energy, including commentary and archival articles .
In March, the former NASA scientist James Hansen (of the ppm limit fame) published a paper showing that nuclear energy has saved a total of million lives in its history worldwide just by displacing air pollution that is a known killer 2. That includes any deaths nuclear energy has been responsible for from its accidents. Essay: Nuclear Energy – Advantages and Disadvantages Abstract “Growing concerns over climate change have highlighted the need to step up contribution of nuclear energy in the energy mix and to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels in the years to come.