The Chernobyl Nuclear Plant in Ukraine

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On April 26, 1986 the entire world’s view of nuclear energy changed forever (Nave Chernobyl, n.d., para. 4). This was because on that day there was a massive explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine (part of the USSR at the time). Science can be applied to this event to explain why the plant exploded in the first place. Science can be used to look at how the plant was designed to work versus how it worked at the time of explosion. This event had massive health effects on nearby humans as well as animals and plants in the area. Radiation is very dangerous in high quantities and can have many detrimental effects. The radioactive material spread by the explosion can have continued effects many years after the event. The environmental effects of the Chernobyl disaster have also been very interesting, and many factors have contributed to it. So is nuclear energy worth using? It is certainly risky, but it can also have some huge positives. Science can be very effective at addressing the issue of Chernobyl and nuclear energy. First it is important to know how the nuclear power plant was designed to work in the first place. Water is heated and steam is used to power turbines, which in turn power generators. This produces electricity. However, instead of using combustion to turn the water to steam, fission (splitting and release of energy) of uranium atoms is used (How do nuclear plants work?, n.d., para. 1). Neutron moderation and neutron absorption are also very important parts of the nuclear reaction in a nuclear plant. Since the reactions in the uranium fuel rods go so quickly, neutron moderation is used to slow down the neutrons so that they are more able to react with the unstable uranium. Neutron absorption is a process t... ... middle of paper ... ... (n.d.). In Energy4me. Retrieved January 26, 2014, from http://www.energy4me.org/energy-facts/ Goldenstein, C. (2012). Economic consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. In Stanford.edu. Retrieved January 23, 2014, from http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2012/ph241/goldenstein2/ Health effects (n.d.). In Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved January 23, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/health_effects.html How do nuclear plants work? (n.d.). In Duke Energy. Retrieved January 23, 2014, from http://www.duke-energy.com/about-energy/generating-electricity/nuclear-how.asp Nave, R. (n.d.). Chernobyl. In Hyperphysics. Retrieved January 23, 2014, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/cherno2.html Nave, R. (n.d.). Xenon poisoning. In Hyperphysics. Retrieved January 26, 2014, from http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/nucene/xenon.html
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