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Nuclear energy has come to the forefront of these
sources because of its relative newness and seemingly limitless supply of
energy. The benefits of nuclear energy are plentiful and valid, and yet, so are
the negative arguments against it. Hence, it is vital to understand some of the
history of nuclear energy and implications of decisions made on the advancement
of nuclear energy.

   Nuclear
energy is a way of producing useful electrical energy from non-renewable
resources such a radioactive elements i.e. uranium. This nuclear energy can be
produced in two ways; 1st being nuclear fusion and 2nd nuclear
fission. A nuclear power plant uses the heat that is produced during the
fission or fusion process to create steam in order to run turbines thus
creating electricity.

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   Nuclear
energy is not only done to produce electricity, it can also be used as a weapon
like the World War 2 bombings in Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs).
These nuclear bombs were developed by the US. These types of bombs use the same
principle called nuclear energy.

Scientific studies cover this whole period since the
first Greek philosophers began to define atoms, until the development of the
first nuclear bomb. In this process, different scientists discover the presence
of electrons, neutrons, and protons and properties that make one atom more
radioactive than another. During World War 2 USA, implies the first nuclear
bomb and this was the first time nuclear technology was used outside the
context of research. Albert Einstein recommended this nuclear bomb during the
beginning of World War 2 in 1939. He mentioned that the bomb would trigger a
reaction nuclear chain that would release a large amount of energy. A
radioactive substance called uranium would cause this nuclear reaction.

   The main
focus of nuclear energy was to produce an effective weapon, however some
scientists worked on making breeder reactors, which would produce fissionable
material in the chain reaction. Therefore they would create more fissionable
material than they would use. After the war, the US government encouraged the
development of nuclear energy for peaceful civilian purposes. A major goal by
mid 1950s was to show that nuclear energy could produce electricity for
commercial use. The first commercial electricity generating plant powered by nuclear
energy was located in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. As per 1960s the  growth of nuclear energy grew but soon in
1970s and 1980s the growth slowed because of less electricity demands, and
concern for nuclear issues like reactor safety, waste disposal and other
environmental considerations.

   Almost all
nuclear power stations use nuclear fission to generate electricity. Nuclear
fission is spiltting of atoms to give out massive energy while nuclear fusion
is fusing two atoms to give out energy. Only fission can be carried out on
earth due to restrictions which will be mentioned.

   The most
common used fuel for nuclear power plant is Uranium-235 since it splits easily
and hence able to initiate a chain reaction. Uranium -235 (known as U-235) has
unstable neutrons and protons therefore the nuclei breaks releasing neutrons
and this newly released neutrons hit other atoms of U-235 hence releasing even
more neutrons and massive amounts of energy. This energy is then used to heat the
water  and convert it into steam, the
steam then drives the mechanical turbines hence generating electricity. This
process is known as controlled nuclear energy where the process can be stopped
by placing control rods which can absorb extra neutrons which are not needed.
If there is absensce of control rods the whole system can explode due to chain
reaction example of uncontrolled reaction is a nuclear bomb.

·        
The generation of electricity through
nuclear energy reduces the amount of energy generated from fossil fuels like
coal and oil. Less use of fossil fuels means lowering greenhouse gad emissions
like Carbon Dioxide, CO2 and others. Currently, fossil fuels are consumed
faster than they are produced, so in the upcoming future these resources may be
reduced or the price may increase becoming inaccessible for most of the
population.

 

·        
Another advantage is the required amount
of fuel: less fuel offers more energy. It represents a significant save on raw
materials but also in transport, handling and extraction of nuclear fuel. From
studies and researches the overall cost of the nuclear fuel (overall uranium)
is 20% of the cost of energy generated.

 

·        
The production of electric energy is
continuous. A nuclear power plant is generating electricity for almost 90% of
annual time. It reduces the price volatility of other fuels such as petrol.
This continuity benefits the electrical planning i.e. it doesn’t depend on
nautral aspects like solar energy or eolic energy, because the hours of
sunshine or wind does not always coincide with the hours with more energy
demand.

  

Overall its an alternative to fossil fuels, so the
consumption of fuels such as coal or oil is reduced. The reduction coil and oil
consumption benefits the situation of global warming and global climate change
hence an improved quality of the breath able air and better quality of life.

   Despite the
high level of safety systems of nuclear power plants the human aspect has
always an impact. Like facing an unexpected event due error in managing a
nuclear plant can lead to nuclear metaldowns or explosions exposing harmful
radioactive elements into the open air.

·        
 Main diasadvange of nuclear plant is the
management of the nuclear waste. It takes many many years to eliminate its
radioactivity and risks.

 

·        
Nuclear power plants have a limited life.
Also the investment for the constructuion of a nuclear plant is very high while
its recovery of its construction is much more expensive.

·        
Lack of skilled labour. Nuclear power
plants require highly skilled labour to over come the risks associated with the
work which are hard to find hence increase in cost and also they are paid in
wealthy salaries.

 

·        
The fuel used in nuclear power plant is
hard to find and also expensive while being radioactive hence extra cost of
safety for the fuel.

  After all
research the negative aspects of the nuclear energy do not outweigh the
benefits that it could possibly yield. More time and research is required to
prove the potential nuclear energy holds. But there is no question that the
world demands more energy as the population continues to expand together with
the world developing. Advancements in technology in the near future can help
overcome some disadvantages of nuclear energy but in the present day nuclear
energy is not yet at its peak.

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