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The energy industry is beginning to change. In today’s modern world, governments across the globe are shifting their focuses from traditional sources of power, like the burning coal and oil, to the more complex and scientific nuclear power supply. This relatively new system uses powerful fuel sources and produces little to no emissions while outputting enough energy to fulfill the world’s power needs (Community Science, n.d.). But while nuclear power seems to be a perfect energy source, no power production system is without faults, and nuclear reactors are no exception, with their flaws manifesting in the form of safety. Nuclear reactors employ complex systems involving pressure and heat.
United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2014. Plutonium. Office of Public Affairs. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1998.
Introduction Uranium, because it can be easily processed into fissile material, has been the main choice of nuclear fuel since the 1940’s. Even though effective, Uranium has some major drawbacks. The first major drawback is that uranium is not naturally abundant. The World Nuclear Association (WNA), as seen in figure 1, predicts a dramatic increase of nuclear power plants throughout the world due to increasing energy demands. This will not only hasten the depletion of uranium stockpiles but also cause the price of uranium to rise possibly making the power it can generate not economically feasible.
At first glance, nuclear energy seems like a great alternative to burning fossil fuels. It is a cleaner more efficient power source, that does not cause global warming or acid rain. U.S. nuclear reactors rely on uranium, which is naturally abundant locally, so nuclear power reduces reliance on foreign energy. However, while some argue that nuclear power plants are as safe as any energy production, the radioactive waste produced as well as nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island are evidence that alternative options should be explored. According to Sandra Alters, nuclear reactors work like this: Fuel rods, made of zirconium, with pellets of fissionable fuel (uranium in the US) are assembled into bundles in the core of the reactor.
29 Oct. 2013. Robock, Alan, and Owen Brian Toon. "Self-Assured Destruction: The Climate Impacts Of Nuclear War." Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists 68.5 (2012): 66-74. Academic Search Premier.
The Case for Nuclear Fusion As of now, 80% of global energy is provided by fossil fuels. Wind and solar energy sources are unlikely to completely replace fossil fuels in the coming decades due to infrastructure problems. A drop in global energy provided by oil starting sometime between 2012 and 2014 (Chris) is also expected. As a result of these circumstances more research must be done in other forms of energy generation in order to keep with energy demand as countries industrialize and populations grow. Despite claims that nuclear fusion will not be practically realized, research into nuclear fusion should be increased as it is not harmful to the environment, has nearly limitless fuel, and is inherently safe.
The Economics of Nuclear Power. (October, 2013). The World Nuclear Association. Retrieved from http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Economic-Aspects/Economics-of-Nuclear-Power/
Nuclear power is a technology synonymous with extirpate, radiation, health issues, and instability, but also mass energy production. Nuclear power has many common misconceptions, like these, and is often seen as a large risk. But rest assured nuclear power is the cleanest most immaculate way to power our growing nation, despite skepticism about safety concerns. Nuclear power is a way of harnessing the great power released by a nuclear fission reaction. Nuclear fission is, “an extremely complex nuclear reaction representing a cataclysmic division of an atomic nucleus into two nuclei of comparable mass.
(2013, November 20). What is nuclear energy . Retrieved from www.westinghousenuclear.com US Legal Inc. (2010-2013). Sources of nuclear energy. Retrieved from www.energylaw.uslegal.com Learn Stuff (2012, November 9).