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The Benefits and Dangers of Nuclear Energy - Essay Example

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Nuclear fission is the process of splitting atoms larger than iron, such as Uranium or Plutonium into two smaller atoms with the release of huge amount of energy and neutrons. Nuclear fission is discovered first. …
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The Benefits and Dangers of Nuclear Energy
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"The Benefits and Dangers of Nuclear Energy"

Download file to see previous pages Controlled nuclear fission is used to generate electricity and uncontrolled nuclear fission is used to make nuclear weapons, such as atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs. Nuclear fission also produces a large amount of nuclear wastes. “In nuclear weapons, fission and fusion of certain slightly radioactive materials release energy in a huge explosion” (Medalia, 2004, p. 1).
“The element uranium is the main fuel used to undergo nuclear fission to produce energy since it has many favorable properties. Uranium nuclei can be easily split by shooting neutrons at them. Also, once a uranium nucleus is split, multiple neutrons are released which are used to split other uranium nuclei. This phenomenon is known as a chain reaction.
Nuclear Fusion:
Nuclear fusion is the process of joining two atoms smaller than iron such as hydrogen or helium to produce heavier atoms and that large amount of energy is produced in this reaction, which is much more than the energy produced by nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion is the main source of energy in the universe because all the stars including the sun produce energy by nuclear fusion. Other than nuclear fission, man has not yet discovered a method to control nuclear fusion, and nuclear fusion is not used to generate electricity. Scientists are working hard to discover a method to control nuclear fusion so that it can be used to generate electricity. Nuclear fusion is only used in hydrogen bomb which is the deadliest weapon humanity has ever seen. The temperature required to start a nuclear fusion is so large that it is provided by the explosion of an atom bomb.
Benefits of Nuclear Energy: The largest advantage of nuclear power is that it does not emit any harmful gases to the atmosphere like carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, or nitrogen dioxide, that is, no green house gasses like carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere, and so using nuclear fuel can reduce global warming. As nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide are not emitted, acid rains can also be reduced. The only emission from nuclear reactors is water vapor. Hence nuclear energy is known as clean energy. “It is difficult to explain to a non-specialist (though it is actually true) that the nuclear reactor of a nuclear power station is nothing like an atomic bomb, that the power station burning coal or oil offers much greater danger and harm to the environment as well as a biological threat to people than does a nuclear station or breeder reactor of the same capacity rating” (Sakharov, 1978, p. 12). “Although the initial cost of building nuclear plants is high, the running costs are relatively low. One reason the costs are low is that nuclear plants need only a small amount of uranium to produce a lot of energy. In fact, if the cost of uranium is doubled, costs would only be increased by 7%. 1 truck of uranium produces as much energy as 1000 trucks of coal!” (Advantages of Nuclear Power, 2012). Efficiency: Another major advantage of nucl ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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