In 1934 a physicist known as Enrico Fermi conducted an experiment that resulted in the splitting of atoms. In 1938 two scientists, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman, conducted an experiment that was the beginning of a new realization in the nuclear world. Nuclear Engineering U.S. Department of Energy describes, ―Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman fired neutrons from a source containing the elements radium and beryllium into uranium (atomic number 92)‖ (par 15). The experiment resulted in a new and unexpected out come. The elements that were naturally produced during such experiments weighed only a little less than uranium; whereas, this time the elements were around half as light.
One of the most important problems the world is facing today is limited supply of energy resources. It is generally agreed that oil, coal and gas will come to end after some time; therefore it is essential to find a replacement for fossil fuels before they are exhausted. Scientists have carried out many researches, and one of the proposed solutions is nuclear power. Nuclear energy, or atomic energy, is produced in nuclear reactions, when nuclear particles collide with a neutron and explode, emitting energy. Its important characteristic is tremendous efficiency, such that great amount of energy can be generated from small amount of nuclear fuel, which makes it efficient and long-lasting.
German chemist Martin Klaproth discovered uranium in 1789 (“Outline History of Nuclear Energy” 1). Albert Einstein in 1905 discovers theory of E=mc2. In 1939 Hahn and Strassman show developments in harnessing nuclear fission (“Outline History of Nuclear Energy” 1). They showed that fission not only released a lot of energy but also released additional neutrons which led to a greater release of energy (“Outline History of Nuclear Energy” 1). British and US scientists concentrated on fission of U-235 which would lead to a new element of mass U-239 an atomic number of 94 in which would lead them to discover neptunium #93 and plutonium #94 which was based off the finding of the uranium element (“Outline History of Nuclear Energy” 1).
The significance of this find was that whilst uraniums atomic number 92, the result of bombarding the atom with neutrons produced barium, whose atomic number is 36, which is exponentially lighter then the prediction. Physicist Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch proved the result correct through a theoretical explanation. This assured that the experiment was indeed accurate and that the neutron bombardment did indeed split the uranium atom, producing barium and nuclear fission. This new discovery had dramatic implications as it meant that the American government were now capable of producing nuclear bombs. A positive implication of this was that a new source of energy was discovered.
Previously it was thought that atoms were the smallest form of matter therefore ultimately stable and indivisible. However, in 1919 Ernest Rutherford was able to break apart the nucleus of nitrogen with alpha particles from a radioactive source. Following these discoveries research in the area of nuclear fission took off as scientists and physicists around the world were bombarding atoms with alpha particles. Consequently rapidly advancing knowledge on the subject. In 1933 Hungarian physicists Leo Szilard proposed that if an atom split and released more neutrons than it required to split it that an expanding nuclear chain reaction could be the result.
Nuclear energy is a very important energy source to the United States. It is inexpensive and is gaining ground as the main energy resource replacement to the fossil fuels. Today twenty percent of the electricity in the United States comes from 109 licensed power reactors in the United States. Why not just completely switch over to nucl... ... middle of paper ... ...ty of the process. Small accidents can lead to huge problems.
French scientist Henri Becquerel first discovered radioactivity in 1896. He discovered the radioactivity of uranium and wanted to harness this extraordinary power. It was not until many years later that nuclear power was understood and able to be controlled. In 1934 Enrico Fermi discovered that when you split uranium atoms and energy is given off sets off a chain reaction splitting more atoms and giving off more energy (Morgan). This process is call fission.
The United States has become very dependent on foreign resources and if m... ... middle of paper ... ...e “Advantages of Nuclear Power”, the author states fossil fuels are running out. Nuclear energy would be a decent alternative. You can use uranium, plutonium, or thorium to generate power in the power plants (Naik 1). Unlike coal plants, that can only use coal for a power source, nuclear power can use many elements. Even though nuclear energy has its pros and cons, it should be used more in the United States.
As humans, we have nearly mastered the art of nuclear fission. Currently, nuclear energy plants are responsible for about three-quarters of carbon free energy. This statistic shows that solar and wind power is used so minimally compared to nuclear energy. It releases little to no greenhouse gasses so environmentalists’ minds can be at ease. Using nuclear energy would not accelerate climate change because it does not affect the earth when it is being made or released.
The atomic bomb ended the war swiftly and resulted in less deaths for the Allies. Other than the war aspects of Nuclear Fission, it has a lot of applications in energy. Nuclear Power Plants for example, were just one of the ways that Nuclear Fission was being used to better society. Brian and Lamb put a good perspective on Nuclear Power Plants, “The nuclear power plant stands on the border between humanity's greatest hopes and its deepest fears for the future.” (Brian and Lamb). The fission process has also been observed on earth billions of years ago.