Check new design of our homepage! Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy Nuclear energy is a highly sought energy source, touted as an effective alternative to conventional sources of power generation. However, the nuclear disaster in Japan has forced a rethink of nuclear power strategy.
Nuclear energy or atomic energy is considered a very important source of energy for humanity because releases a very low amount of carbon emissions and has a huge potential to generate unlimited amounts of clean power.
What is Nuclear Energy? All matter in the known universe is made of tiny units called atoms, and most of the mass of each atom is concentrated in its nucleus the center of the atom.
The rest of the mass is concentrated in the electrons surrounding the nucleus. Protons and neutrons represent subatomic particles that can be found in the nucleus of the atom.
Nuclear Energy Atomic energy in the world today Today, a number of 30 countries operate nuclear reactors to generate electricity, and a number of 60 new nuclear power plants are under construction in 15 countries. What is the Difference Between Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion The Nuclear Fission Reaction is the first discovered between the two and all the commercial nuclear power plants in operation today are using this type of nuclear reaction to generate electricity and a certain amount of nuclear waste.
During the nuclear fission reaction a large atom such as Uranium or Plutonium is hit by a neutron to split the atom into two smaller atoms, which are called fission products.
Several other neutrons are released to split other nearby atoms that will produce a nuclear chain reaction which will release a sustained energy flow. The Nuclear Fusion Reaction The nuclear fusion reaction is the nuclear reaction that occurs in the sun, and generally uses hydrogen as fuel and produces helium as waste.
In the nuclear fusion reaction two small atoms Hydrogen are combined to produce heavier atoms Helium and energy. More energy is released in the nuclear fusion reaction compared to the nuclear fission reaction, and a much smaller amount of nuclear waste, which makes it more suited for our energy needs.
However, humanity needs two or three more decades to master the nuclear fusion reaction, so by then we are bound to use nuclear fission and a combination of fossil fuels and renewable energy to cover the energy demand of the planet. What are Pros and Cons of Nuclear energy? Until we are bound to use only the nuclear fission reaction to generate electricity, we can say that nuclear energy or atomic energy is seen as an energy source that produces dangerous nuclear waste and from time to time nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents.
In the future when technology will allow us to use the nuclear fusion reaction, many of these inconveniences of the nuclear power will be reduced.
Pros of Nuclear Energy 1. Relatively Low Operating Costs If the initial costs of building the nuclear power plant are quite high, the power plant will generate later only costs with the enrichment and processing of the nuclear fuel Uraniumdisposing nuclear waste and the maintenance services.
Generating electricity in nuclear power plants is cheap, is even cheaper than producing electricity from coal, oil, gas or renewable energy sources.
A Low Polluting Energy Source The production of electricity in the nuclear reactors is not releasing harmful emissions, but produces dangerous nuclear waste.
However, nuclear energy was considered a great source of cleaner energy that can successfully replace fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas in the battle against global warming and climate change. A Reliable Energy Source Modern nuclear power plants represent a reliable energy source because they can produce electricity with minimal costs.
Nuclear power plants can also work together with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, and when the renewables are available due to the weather conditions the nuclear power plant can lower its electricity production, and when the renewables are low in production the nuclear power plant will increase its output of electricity.
High Energy Density The energy density of the nuclear energy cannot be compared with any other known source of energy fossil or renewable. If coal has an energy density of All these translate into the fact that if we are trying to power a W light bulb with the energy produced by 1 kg of coal, the bulb will work almost 4 days, but if we are powering the same W light bulb with the energy produced by 1 kg of natural uranium, the light bulb will work for 25, years.
Thorium Thorium is considered today a cleaner nuclear fuel than uranium. However, thorium is a radioactive chemical element that can successfully replace uranium in the nuclear reactors. Thorium is more abundant on planet Earth than uranium, has superior physical and nuclear fuel properties, and produces less nuclear waste.
Many countries in the world are already planning to use thorium as an alternative nuclear fuel to uranium because thorium provides a new and sustainable supply of fuel for nuclear power plants, and generates a reduced amount of nuclear waste. Nuclear Energy a Renewable Energy Source?
We already know that nuclear energy is not a renewable energy source because the supply of nuclear fuel is limited. Nuclear energy is not a clean energy source, it is considered only a cleaner energy source than coal, oil and natural gas because produces electricity with almost no carbon emissions but generates dangerous nuclear waste.
If humanity will manage to master the nuclear fusion reaction, which can provide unlimited amounts of clean power, only then we can declare nuclear power as a renewable energy source hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe.
Cons of Nuclear Energy 1. Dangerous Radioactive Waste The nuclear fission reaction is able to produce cheap electricity, but also dangerous radioactive waste that is hard and expensive to dispose.
On average, a nuclear power plant generates during a year of activity about 20 metric tons of used nuclear fuel nuclear wastewhile the entire nuclear industry generates during the year between 2, and 2, tons of nuclear waste.
Such a large amount of dangerous nuclear waste is not entirely disposed right away, a part of it is recycled and turned into high-level radioactive waste from used nuclear fuelwhich in its final form will be disposed in a permanent facility.
The Impact on the Environment Beside the fact that the nuclear waste is disposed here on the planet and requires tens and even hundreds of thousands of years to become inoffensive for the environment uranium and plutoniumthe mining process, refining and transporting uranium is also a dangerous process which involves high risks for the environment.
Nuclear Disasters and Radioactive Incidents Humanity has built the first nuclear power plant that has used the nuclear fission reaction to produce electricity in Sincemany countries have started to build nuclear reactors to generate electricity and weapons of mass destructionand the nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents did not delay to appear.
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster April 26, is considered the worst nuclear disaster so far, and is followed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that took place on March 11, both were level 7 events. These major nuclear accidents have affected the health of many people as also the environment.These nuclear energy pros and cons show that there are several benefits that can be obtained when the proper safety precautions are taken for this resource.
The issue that many have is that if those precautions are not taken, the consequences of using nuclear energy can be devastating for a long period of time.
Nuclear Energy Pros and Cons As of today, nuclear energy is considered as one of the most environmentally friendly source of energy as it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions during the production of electricity as compared to . Nuclear energy pros and cons can be separated into the non-greenhouse gas emitter, consistent supply of energy, and low operating cost for nuclear energy pros compared to potentially highly environmentally damaging, high startup cost, and radioactive waste disposal for nuclear energy cons.
Feb 09, · Nuclear energy is the energy, which is released when atomic nucleus is disrupted. It can be used for obtaining electricity as a result of a controlled chain reaction/5(23).
Pros and cons of nuclear power As a result of the current discussion how further global warming could be prevented or at least mitigated, the revival of nuclear power seems to be in everybody's - or at least in many politician's - mind.
With nuclear power plants, CO2 emissions are minimal, though uranium mining, construction of reactors, transportation of fuel and other parts of nuclear energy do generate greenhouse gases [source: Lenzen].