Alternative Sources of Energy: Nuclear Energy

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Energy is fundamental item used in making things work. Plants and animals use it to power their bodies and humans use it to power everything else. The problem happens to be the source in which the energy originates. The energy source used right now is burning coal. It is very dirty and it results in massive CO2 emissions. Scientists are looking for alternative energy resources. One of the sources they discovered is nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is “energy stored in the nucleus of an atom” (Office of Nuclear Energy, 30). The idea was first introduced in 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower as a resolution to the impending coal and oil shortages. Nuclear energy is generated by nuclear fission. Nuclear fission is the process in which radioactive isotopes split apart into smaller atoms. The most common fuel used for nuclear energy is uranium-235 (U235), a radioactive isotope found in most rocks. The process of nuclear fission starts with mining uranium ore. Once the ore is mined, it goes through a purification process. The U235 needs to have a concentration of three percent; it is enough to form a suitable reaction. The now purified U235 is formed into 1.5 cm long pellets that are faintly thicker than a pencil. Fuel assemblies are fashioned out of 100, 4 m long fuel rods containing stacked U235 pellets. A few chiliads of these fuel assemblies are grouped together and settled into a nuclear reactor. Nuclear fission commences as a neutron is thrown into the reactor. The neutron strikes an atom of U235. This releases heat, neutrons, tin, and molybdenum. The newly released neutrons strike more atoms of U235, thus creating a chain reaction. To keep the heat from the reactions from causing a meltdown, water is circulated between the fuel ro... ... middle of paper ... ...Lamb. "How Nuclear Power Works" 09 October 2000. 01 December 2013. • N/A. "Energy: What do we want to achieve? - European Commission." Energy: What do we want to achieve? - European Commission. European Commission , n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. . • "2012 NEA Annual Report." 2012 NEA Annual Report. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. . • NRC. "List of Power Reactor Units." NRC:. N.p., 17 Sept. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. . • N/A. "Nuclear Power and the Environment." - Energy Explained, Your Guide To Understanding Energy. EIA, 28 June 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. .
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