So it can be seen that this is a very compact source of energy. The reason for the large amount of energy released is because the forces involved in nuclear reactions are much greater than those involved in chemical reactions.
Uranium is a very dense metal at The protons and neutrons are held very tightly together and the electrons orbiting the nucleus are comparatively far away, so this shows how the bonds involved are so much stronger. Nuclear fission is a very efficient source of energy because of the low amounts of waste products. Combustion of fossil fuels produces waste products such as ash and toxic fumes.
This reduces the amount of usable energy produced by reaction, and therefore lowers its efficiency. Uranium is found in most rocks, at 0. The Uranium found in the earths crust contains Another possible source to extract Uranium from is seawater, the key is to find it in quantities that is economical for extraction.
The reactor is contained within a concrete liner, which shields radiation. Since the Chernobyl incident, the reactor is now usually contained within a secondary containment structure made of steel. This prevents the leakage of radioactive steam in the event of an accident. The general view on nuclear power is that it is very bad for the environment. But in reality the radioactivity released into the atmosphere by a nuclear power plant is less than that released by a coal power plant.
Additionally, coal power plants also pollute that environment with carbon and sulphur. Obviously the radiation produced by the nuclear power plant is greater in volume than that produced by the coal power plant, but the radiation is contained within the reactor. The environmental issues with this containment are what happens to the radioactive waste when a nuclear power plant is shut down.
Half life and nuclear decay In the event of a nuclear leak, the effects of radiation on the environment can be huge.
This can be seen from the after effects of the Chernobyl power plant when it exploded. This shows the large amount of time taken for radiation to be removed from the environment. The half-life of Uranium is million years, this is the time taken for half of the radioactive atoms in a sample to decay. So it can be seen that in the event of a nuclear leak, radioactive contamination causes very long term problems. Specific attributes of this reactor were that it was a light-water-cooled graphite-moderated reactor.
This type of reactor has been criticised for its lack of containment structure, and large quantities of combustible graphite within its core. The accident actually occurred during a test run. The idea was to see if the turbines could produce the energy needed during a power cut, to keep coolant pumps working. But a power surge occurred and the emergency shutdown, which is designed to halt the chain reactions, failed. The rising power level and temperature got out of control, causing an explosion.
This blew off a tonne sealing cap, causing the radioactive fission products to be thrown up into the atmosphere.
The fuel rods melted and graphite moderator set fire. The mistake blamed for this disaster is that control rods were raised then immediately reinserted into the bundles. The inserting of control rods usually reduces the rate of the chain reaction. But in the case too many control rods were raised and replaced. This then had the reverse effect of raising power levels so fast that it caused the destruction of the reactor.
Lessons learned from disasters In , Germany decided to phase out nuclear power, and look into sources of power with less severe possible consequences on the environment. The disaster created international debate over the economics and controllability of nuclear power. In most European countries, no new research is being carried out on continuing to build nuclear power plants. Instead the research is aimed at improving safety features at existing nuclear power plants and disposal of nuclear waste.
As of , conversely, Asia and Eastern Europe have over reactor units either planned or being constructed. The number of nuclear power plant inspectors rose vastly after this disaster, and general safety awareness has greatly improved.
New regulations on emergency procedures where also put in place. The effects of the radiation are still affecting inhabitants of nearby countries, and are causing severe health problems amongst the young and old. At least now safety and disaster management are main issues within this industry, and hopefully this kind of event will not be allowed to happen in the future.
You can order a custom essay, term paper, research paper, thesis or dissertation on Nuclear Energy topic from our professional custom writing service which provides students with high-quality custom written papers. Order a custom written paper of high quality Professional Writers only. Free Quote or Order now. The attitude towards abortion has always been and still is very controversial. Atomic or nuclear power is obtained by altering the structure of atoms.
When such an alteration is made, much energy is released in the form of heat and this is used to generate electric power.
For obtaining atomic power, nuclear fission is required, which takes place in a nuclear reactor containing a heat-producing core and a cooling system. Within the core, atoms of the fuel, usually uranium, enriched uranium or plutonium, are split. The heat released by the reactor is used to generate steam and the steam is used to generate electricity. The first nuclear power station was built in Britain in at Calder Hall. In comparison to other traditional fossil fuels as energy sources, nuclear power produces enormous amount of energy.
No other source of energy can produce such amount of power from a very small quantity of material. It has been estimated that only 1 ton of uranium produces energy equivalent to the energy produced by 5 million tons of coal. Though, building of nuclear reactor and other installation costs are very high, operative cost and per unit energy production cost and other recurring expenses are very low in nuclear power.
But while establishing nuclear power station much care is necessary because not only generation but its waste is also one of the greatest threats to the environment.
The major sources of nuclear power are uranium and thorium.
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