The Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy

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Many people take energy for granted. Most do not think about where that electricity is coming from when they flip a switch or turn on a faucet. The fact is, is that our consumption of non-renewable energy cannot last forever. We need some type of alternative energy source. There are many types of alternative energy sources that are available to us today. Some however, such as nuclear energy, are often rejected due to the fears or concerns of many people. On the other hand, there are also many people in favor of nuclear energy. What it is that nuclear energy has to offer us? What could the effects of nuclear energy have on the future of Earth? What could it mean for people on Earth? What exactly is nuclear energy and how does it work? The simple answer is that it is about the same as a coal, oil or natural gas power plant. The only difference is the material used that produces the heat. Typical power plants, that burn coal, oil or natural gas to supply heat to water and turn it into steam. The steam is then used to turn a turbine, which is connected to a generator, which then produces the electricity (ENEC). A nuclear power plant rather than using coal, oil, or natural gas, as a source of heat, it uses fissile material. Fissile material is material that has a very large nucleus such as plutonium or uranium that can be split apart. To create the heat needed to turn the water into steam, the atoms of a fissile material are split by the process of fission. When an atom is split apart by fission, it releases an abundance of energy. The rest of the process is quite similar if not exactly the same as power plants that burn fossil fuels. Fission of nuclear material, like plutonium, gives off about 200 million electron ... ... middle of paper ... ... of CO2 emissions that we are currently producing today. Something needs to be done, but no one is sure, or can agree, what that something should be. Could it be a combination of nuclear and renewables? Could it be one or the other? Time is the only thing that will help us answer such a question. Works Cited ENEC. "How Does Nuclear Energy Work?" ENEC :. Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Gamson, William A., and Andre Modigliani. "Media Discourse and Public Opinion on Nuclear Power: A Constructionist Approach." American Journal of Sociology 95.1 (1989): 1-36. Print. Lowe, Ian, and Barry W. Brook. Nuclear Power: Why vs Why. Seaforth, N.S.W.: Pantera, 2010. Print. Sagan, Carl. "Heaven and Hell." Cosmos. New York: Random House, 1980. 82-84. Print. "The Science of Nuclear Power." RSS. University of Melbourne, 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
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