Nuclear Energy : Friend Or Foe?

1862 Words Aug 26th, 2014 8 Pages
Nuclear Energy: Friend or Foe?
By Ruby van den Hoek

Nuclear energy is often misunderstood. Nuclear energy is energy released through the splitting of atoms. In order to achieve this nuclear power plants split uranium atoms inside a reactor, this process is called fission. The fission produces heat which then is used to heat up water and create steam, this steam spins a turbine which generates electricity.

Unlike energy harnessed from fossil fuels there are no emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide through the production of electricity from nuclear power plants. The product of nuclear energy, however is nuclear waste.The drawback of this waste is radioactive and is harmful to humans and the environment, if not disposed of carefully. The benefit of nuclear energy has been classified as a renewable energy source, which is the opposite of fossil fuels.

There are currently 435 operable civil nuclear power reactors around the world. There are a further 71 under reconstruction. Most countries are in the realisation that nuclear energy is a better option.

Map of: Number of Nuclear power plants throughout the world

Table: Number of current and under construction nuclear plants per country

There are two main hazards of nuclear power;
Accidents leading to the release of radioactive materials
Careless nuclear waste disposal and/or storage
There have been 3 major nuclear accidents in the history of nuclear power, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and…

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