Nuclear Energy Essay

1946 Words 8 Pages
Nuclear Energy

The world is running out of fossil fuels and this decrease in supply is causing an increase in price for the consumer. There is a growing need to find alternative sources for energy. The World Energy Council predicts that the world will be using 50 percent more energy by the year 2020 (Morgan). Among the options for more energy are wind, solar, water, and nuclear powers. Nuclear power gives far more bang for the buck than the others. Although it can produce vast amounts of energy there is a lot of skepticism about the benefits of nuclear energy. Most of the critics say that nuclear power is far too dangerous for widespread use. At the present time nuclear energy seems to be the best alternative source over
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And by the 1960’s nuclear power had been established as a quality energy source. Nuclear power plants are much like coal or natural gas power plants because they use fission energy to heat water into steam, which powers turbines in generators that make electricity. Uranium-235 is packed in hollow rods at the core of a reactor; these rods can last from four to six years inside a reactor before they need to be replaced. Inside the rods is where the fission takes place. The rods are lowered into water and when the fission in the rods takes place it produces great heat and the water is boiled producing steam that powers the turbines. This all takes place in a controlled system that allows no radiation to escape the core of the reactor. Reactors are generally encased in steel and concrete to shield the radiation. The huge towers seen at a nuclear power plant release the excess steam from the system. This steam contains no radiation. Safety features on these reactor cores include emergency cooling devices to prevent meltdowns. If the reactor core is not cooled the heat is so great (300° C) it would melt the concrete and steel, which encloses the core.

The amount of uranium needed to run a nuclear power plant is far less than the amount of coal needed to run a coal power plant. One pound of uranium can produce as much energy as 1,500 tons of coal and millions of barrels of oil (Gibson). Uranium is very plentiful…