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Nuclear Energy Essay

1393 words - 6 pages

INTRODUCTION
The goal of ultimate urbanisation and globalisation can only be met with the sufficient supply of energy in this currently developing world. However as the supplies of oil which is the major source for energy is decreasing and people are becoming more environmentally cautious, a new mean to supply energy are in high demand. Thus, nuclear energy seems to be the ideal alternative source of energy. Mel Schwartz (2011) mentioned that nuclear energy has generated approximately 17% of the world electricity for nearly 1 billion people (p. 706).

In the Encyclopedia Britannica described that, “Nuclear energy, also called atomic energy, energy that is released in significant amounts ...view middle of the document...

d.).

While fusion is the process of combining light atoms, such as two isotopes of hydrogen, which forms a heavier one-atom like helium. Fusion is a much harder reaction to achieve, but it yields more energy compare to fission. The reaction can be achieved by heating the fuel over 100 million degrees and securely enclosing it for the components to collide and fuse. Therefore, explosion from fusion energy process is very unlikely (European Fusion Development Agreement, n.d.).
Though it is not easy to build fusion reactor that could confined the hot fuel plasma with powerful magnetic field but it is expected to be able to demo this power reactor by 2030 (European Fusion Development Agreement, n.d.). Hence majority of the nuclear power plant use fission in order to obtain the energy required. Whilst nuclear energy is basically the process by which a nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy converting it into a more stable atom.

Uranium is the source of nuclear energy. Kenneth William Spinka (2011) stated that despite uranium being non-renewable and common, nuclear plants used specific kind of uranium called U-235 as it is easy to split the nuclei. This U-235 is very rare and could only be obtained after being extracted from mined uranium and processed (Spinka, K. W., 2011).
Kenneth William Spinka (20110) also explained that in the United States, boiling-water reactors (BWRs) and pressurized-water reactors (PWRs) are the two types of reactors being commissioned. It is more favourable to use PWRs because David Bodansky (2004) mentioned that, “the high temperature in the PWR keeps the water in a condensed phase; the lower pressure in the BWR allows boiling and generation of steam within the reactor vessel.” This means that BWR directly turns the water into steam while PWR maintained the water in liquid form with high pressure.

Kenneth William Spinka (2011) agreed to the fact that nuclear energy cause low pollution in terms of emission of carbon dioxide. The table 1.0 below which is obtained from World Nuclear Association (n.d.) shows nuclear energy does emit very low amount of greenhouse gas compare to the common source of energy such as oil and gas. In addition, nuclear energy yields the most electricity compare to its environmental impact which is not a concern at all. Conversely, its nuclear waste is potentially harmful not only to human but also the environment. This waste will remain hazardous for at least 240,000 years to decay to the level it is not threatening to humans (Greenpeace, n.d.). According to Greenpeace (n.d.) stated “the nuclear industry has already proven itself incapable of keeping track of its high-level nuclear waste for even 30 years.” Hence, it should be evident that even though nuclear energy cause very little pollution but their waste are more harmful.

To ensure the least accidents happened in the plant, protocols and safety precautions are taken into account seriously. But it is impossible to have a...

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