Homework for Chapter 20 Essay

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1. How much of our global energy supply do nuclear power, biomass energy, and hydroelectric power contribute? How much of our global electricity do these three conventional energy alternatives generate? Biomass provides 10.8% of global primary energy use, nuclear power provides 6.5%, and hydropower provides 2.2% of global primary energy use. Nuclear power generates 15.8% of the world’s electricity, and hydropower generates 15.9%. 2. Describe how nuclear fission works. How do nuclear plant engineers control fission and prevent a runaway chain reaction? In nuclear fission, atoms of uranium-235(any unstable nucleus with a sufficiently high number of nuclear mass) are bombarded with neutrons. Ordinarily neutrons move too…show more content…
Engineers move these control rods into and out of the water to maintain the fission reaction at the desired rate. 3. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, how does nuclear power compare to coal, oil, and natural gas? How do hydropower and biomass energy compare? Using conventional fission, nuclear power plants generate electricity without creating air pollution from stack emissions as the energy is released from the breaking of the nucleus rather than the combustion of the organic compounds in the fossil fuels that create carbon dioxide . In contrast, combusting coal, oil, or natural gas emits sulfur dioxide(fossil fuels contain both organic and non organic compounds that contain sulphur) that contributes to acidic deposition, particulate matter that threatens human health, and carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.One might consider the indirect greenhouse emission of actually building a nuclear fission reactor and also the resources that are required to obtain and purify the uranium essential for the plant to run. Even after considering all the steps involved in building plants and generating power, researchers from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have calculated that nuclear power lowers emissions 4–150 times below the emissions from fossil fuel combustion . IAEA scientists estimate that at current global rates of usage, nuclear

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