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Eng100 - Nuclear Energy

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Aniket Bhavsar

Diane Zoell

Engl 100-001

February 20, 2019

                                                                Nuclear Energy

Urbanization has climbed on its feet so rapidly that to develop and invent new technology has become essential. Many people consider nuclear energy as a dark shadow to society, but only few people in the world know that if nuclear power is used in right direction it could revolutionized whole society. Given the growing energy needs of nations, nuclear energy consumption will surpass other types of energy resources over time and will be regarded as the finest way to run this advanced world.

According to the Oxford English dictionary, nuclear energy is defined as “The energy released during nuclear fission or fusion, especially when used to generate electricity” (OED). Today most of the nuclear energy is produced using nuclear fission of Plutonium and Uranium ores. Nuclear energy as a form of energy was invented in step by step process by many scientists, but main credit goes to Italian scientist Enrico Fermi. “The first organization to develop nuclear power was the U.S. Navy, with the S1W reactor to propel submarines and aircraft carriers” (“Nuclear power”). Everyone saw nuclear energy as a great source of energy as it was a very efficient method of producing energy and only with few tons of uranium, a whole city could be powered, which was a million time more efficient than coal.

Every country in the world is switching to produce energy using nuclear fuel, but most of the energy produced in present time depends on thermal plants. The reason for this switch around the world is because of pollution caused by burning of fossil fuels and increasing of carbon levels in atmosphere as it releases harmful gas such as Carbon dioxide and Methane whereas in the case of nuclear energy no harmful gases are released, hence there is no adverse effect on land and water.

Another reason for this switch is, fossil fuels are getting depleted, so new options must me be hunted down. The United States developed the first nuclear reactor under the supervision of the main inventor Fermi and Szilard which was named Chicago Pile-1 (“Nuclear power”). After the establishment of the first reactor many countries such as USSR, United Kingdom, and Canada also began to research on nuclear power and developed many nuclear power reactors. Nuclear energy is superior to other renewable sources energy such as wind and solar energy as this type of energy depends upon climate and huge acres of land is required to develop them, whereas climate does not affect the production of nuclear energy. “The initial cost of setting up a nuclear reactor is much high, but maintaining it is much cheaper than any other source of energy. A typical nuclear reactor can be used to produce nuclear energy for about 40-60 years, after that it should be decommissioned as due to radiation the instruments developed cracks and cannot be further used” (Voosen). In this life span, a huge amount of energy can be produced.

The main problem with nuclear energy is the waste, that is left after enough energy is produced, this is radioactive waste which must be taken care off. Scientists have still not found the proper way to dispose of the waste. Today nuclear waste is, “kept underwater (water is an excellent shield) for a few years until the radiation decays to levels that can be shielded by concrete in large storage casks” (Touran). Lewis Research Center of NASA has concluded that disposing nuclear waste in space is technically feasible. (“DISPOSAL OF WGH-LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE IN SPACE”). In near future, as the advancement in technology is going on, I think scientists will find a proper way to dispose of nuclear waste. Another problem is that amount of uranium ore is limited, but many scientists say that many other radio-active substances such as Thorium could also be used to produce energy and even uranium could be synthesis artificially. The accidents caused by a nuclear reactor is also a major issue, the recent accidents that occurred in Fukushima Daiichi and Chernobyl cause deaths of many people, the upcoming new generation are still suffering. According to David Brown, Compared with nuclear power, coal is responsible for five times as many worker deaths from accidents, 470 times as many deaths due to air pollution among members of the public, and more than 1,000 times as many cases of serious illness, according to a study of the health effects of electricity generation in Europe(“Nuclear power is safest way to make electricity”).This suggests that accidents due to nuclear reactors seem negligible. The biggest rival of nuclear energy is hydro-electricity, as this industry is also booming at the same rate as nuclear energy, but for hydro-electricity, a continuous supply of water is required for which most of the time a dam is constructed, where energy would be harness. The construction of the dam often displaces the community which resides near the area, hence here nuclear energy takes stand over hydro-electricity.  

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