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This essay will discuss what nuclear energy is and whether it is a viable alternative to coal and natural gas. Areas covered include: The process of generating nuclear power Why U-235 is used over other isotopes of uranium Advantages and Disadvantages of using nuclear energy Safety issues associated the nuclear energy Ethics associated with nuclear energy The use of Coal in the production of electricity and its effects on the environment The use of Coal in the production of electricity and its effects on the environment By the end of the essay I hope to conclude whether nuclear power should be used as the most prominent source of energy for the world instead of the fossil fuels which currently contribute towards around 66% of the worlds energy production. Nuclear power provides about 11% of the world's electricity, and 21% of electricity in OECD countries ( 2014). It is a low carbon power generation method of producing electricity and it is generated by nuclear fission. A nuclear reactor is a device which enables the controlled fissioning of a suitable material for example U-235 to produce thermal energy. The thermal energy is subsequently converted to mechanical energy generally with the use of a steam turbine, which is then via a generator is transformed into electrical energy. Nuclear reactions occur when the structure of the nucleus of an atom undergoes changes. Nuclear plants work on the principle of nuclear fission in which large nuclei are split to release energy. The element uranium (isotope U-235) is used to undergo fission. This is because the nucleus of U-235 is more easily fissioned upon the absorption of a neutron. advantages and disadvantages of nuclear There are a number of advan... ... middle of paper ... ... radiation from the sun and outer space and from the natural radioactivity in rocks, soil and diet. These sources account for 85% of the average person's annual radiation dose, the rest mainly coming from medical sources such as X-rays. Only around 0.1% of the average persons annual radiation comes from nuclear industry discharges. This is less than the radiation dose received from eating one brazil nut. Because radioactive particles emit ionising radiation and can cause cell mutations they are a danger to living organisms. The release of radioactivity can happen from the disposal of nuclear waste or the operational discharge from the plant. Nuclear waste is a combination of short and long half life radioactive isotopes, some nuclear waste example Plutonium-239, which is in irradiated fuel, is dangerous for a quarter million years and has a half-life of 24,400 years.

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