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Nuclear power plant

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A Nuclear power plant is a station that produces energy by using nuclear fission which produces heat and steam. Nuclear energy produces around 20% of the electricity in the United States. It can emit all kinds of radiation so thick concrete walls protect it. The fission process can create radioactive waste. The waste is stored until the radiation has worn off. During fission, uranium atoms are split, creating energy. There are a lot of pros and cons to nuclear energy but there are more cons. The main advantage is that it does not depend on fossil fuels but high risks is the main con, and it overpowers the advantage. It costs a lot to build a nuclear power plant and it also takes years to construct. Radiation leakage and the possibility of it overheating are hazardous. Nuclear energy can also be obtained to create atomic bombs which are very dangerous. All these hazards are taken into consideration and safety is a number one priority when constructing nuclear power plants. There have only been two major nuclear meltdowns. Although nuclear power plants seem incredibly dangerous, they are relatively safe, if handled with caution, and create a massive amount of electricity that is used everywhere. [1]

Protective Ways

Nuclear power plant view from above Bavaria, Germany.

There are a lot of ways that people obtain energy and using nuclear power plants is one of them. Nuclear power plants use fission to produce electricity. This process generates heat by splitting uranium atoms. Although it creates an abundant amount of energy, it has some dangerous risks along with it. It also creates radiation, which is harmful to humans. Nuclear power plants are protected by thick concrete walls. Radioactive materials are hazardous, but they contain uranium which is the main fuel for nuclear power plants. Enriched uranium is not very radioactive but still should be handled with safety. Another negative side to radioactivity, besides the harmful effect, is that it produces its own waste. The waste cannot be used again, like the enriched uranium, so it must be stored until the radioactivity wears off. It also creates spent fuel which is very radioactive and must be kept in pools that protect the radiation from emitting itself. The way the operators of the nuclear power plants turn fission into electricity is that they heat water into steam. The risk to this is that it can overheat. To prevent this from happening, they use control rods to raise and lower the nuclear reaction. [1]

Pros and Cons

The positive aspect to nuclear power plants is that it supplies clean energy. The dangerous part is that it could emit radiation to people, and that could cause cancer. People have seen the negative effects of nuclear power plants in Chernobyl and in Japan. The effects are devastating. Another positive aspect is that it creates massive amounts of energy. Sometimes people hesitate to use it because of its negative effect. Besides the fact that nuclear power plants give off radiation, there is not much of a difference from a coal-fired power plant. They both use heat energy and have a main substance to create energy. Nuclear power plants need a protective concrete wall to prevent radiation. One of the main reasons why some people are in favor of nuclear power is that it doesn't depend on fossil fuel and is not affected by gas prices. Also it does not give off much carbon dioxide.[2] Another one of the pros of nuclear power is that it costs less to operate. Also the waste from nuclear power can be recycled. There are more cons than pros to nuclear energy. Although there are low operating costs, there are high constructing costs because of all the protective systems that need to be built. Also it takes long for people to build a nuclear power plant. Another con would be that uranium is a sparse element and cost a lot of money to transport and produce. There is also high risk working at a nuclear power plant. The dangers of a nuclear power plant overheating or exploding can cause a lot of damage.[3] Nuclear energy can be harnessed in a positive way but it can also be used in a dangerous way. People can use nuclear energy for atomic weapons, such as bombs. This is used for attacks during wars and causes mass destruction. [4]

Video

Inside the nuclear power plant

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Nuclear Power Plants EPA. Web. Lat Updated on August 14, 2012. Unknown Author.
  2. Brain, Marshall. How Nuclear Power Works HowStuffWorks. Web. Accessed on May 27, 2013.
  3. Buzz, Presidio. Nuclear Energy: Pros and Cons triplepundit. Web. Last Updated on February 23, 2009.
  4. Harris, William. How Nuclear Bombs Work HowStuffWorks. Web. Accessed on May 27, 2013.