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Nuclear power as an alternative energy source - Essay Example

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Nuclear plants provide approximately 6% of energy on earth. It also accounts for 13-14% of electricity utilized in the world. Overall, however, it is worth…
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Nuclear power as an alternative energy source
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Download file to see previous pages Several countries like China are waking up to the possibilities of this energy source with staggering 25 nuclear reactors in the pipeline. The benefits of nuclear energy as an energy source are many, especially the fact that it is renewable. However, a few disastrous occurrences like the Chernobyl disaster in Russia and the Fukushima power plant catastrophe in Japan provide a counter-argument. The premise of this paper is to discuss nuclear power generation, its pros and cons, and whether it is worth pursuing as an alternative energy source of the future. Is nuclear power a viable answer to heal a planet ravaged by global warming? Alternatively, is it a dangerous and expensive alternative for energy needs satisfaction?
Nuclear energy generation is attained via both nuclear fusion and nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion has potential for the generation of much less waste of radioactive nature as compared to nuclear fission. However, nuclear fusion, as potentially viable as it seems, is quite technically difficult as a procedure, and is as of now quite some way from being utilized in large scale power plants that can be considered functional (Craddock 117). Interest in nuclear energy for power generation began with the discovery of radioactive elements like uranium in the early 20th century. The splitting of the atomic nucleus, fission, creates energy in a reactor. An element possessing a heavy nucleus, like U-235, is struck by a neutron, which divides it into two lighter nuclei. Energy is released from this splitting, in the form of radiation and heat. Around 3-4 neutrons are released in the process and these split more nuclei, setting off a chain reaction (Craddock 119).
The USSR’s nuclear plant at Obninsk became the first nuclear plant to produce power in the world for a power grid, producing some five MW of power. Calder Hall in the English region of Sellafield became the first commercial station ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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