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Environmental Impact Analysis - Assignment Example

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ANALYSIS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ANALYSIS The consumption of nuclear power as a medium of local fuel has drastically raised in a very short period of time and an estimation states that its usage might increase in the near future…
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Download file to see previous pages It also leads to social problems that are interconnected to the perception of the people who reside in the area where such plants are situated. Nuclear power initiates from fission reaction in which the uranium atoms split into smaller constituents. The energy that is released during this fission reaction is used to produce steam. This steam is then further used in turbines to produce electricity. This method of electricity generation in accumulation is responsible to generate 20 percent of the electricity that is produced within the United States of America. There are more than hundred nuclear power plants currently in the United States of America that are producing this form of energy. (U.S. Energy Information Administration) Uranium is a radioactive metal that is cannot be regenerated by any humanly process. There are specific methods that are used to extract Uranium like the conventional mining technique or by leaching of chemicals. As soon as uranium has been extracted it is then sent to the uranium processing plants so that they are converted in fuel that can be consumed for various purposes. This fuel is then carried to the nuclear plants for further work. (uranium reserves estimate, EIA) Furthermore when the fuel reaches the plant it is sent to the nuclear reactor, reactions occurs when the neutrons present in uranium undergo collisions that generates heat and produces a chain reaction. Through this process heat is obtained which produces steam to generate electricity in turbines. The environmental impacts of such reactions are mentioned as follows: Despite the fact that the government and other authorities in concern have formulated strict laws to protect the health of the people as well as to secure the environment irrespective of that there are still a vast range of the environmental problems and impacts that are linked to the generation of electricity through this medium. In my paper I would be discussing the various ways through which this form of energy is impacting us. Heat rejection is one of the major concerns that our environment is facing. In the same way we experience with the thermal generated power plants which produce electricity through fossils etc. nuclear power plants also need some way through which they can radiate heat energy which is part of their condensing system. (Bulletin of the atomic scientists, 1946, pg 17)The quantity of the heat that is generated from the various parts of the generating plant differ but an estimate states that about 60-70% of heat energy is released from the plant when a nuclear fuel is ejected.It is usually seen that some of the plant that uses a cooling towers whereas some plants have created an artificial lake or a naturally formed body of water. (Hoffelner, 2013, pg 309) Apart from that it is greatly affecting the marine life that are a part of the environment in which the heat is given out. Another adverse effect that the heat causes in the water is the changing of rate at which the rivers flow also the anomalies present in the water of the sea. A research that was done shows that the apparent rise that occurs in the sea level is almost 3mm/year in the Northeast coast of United States of America. (Kopytko, 2011, pg 318-333) These nuclear power generation plants do not produce normal radiation like carbon , sulphur dioxide or various other gases present in the environment, instead of that these plants radiate emissions which contain uranium which is far more harmful and has ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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