Nuclear Power : A Case Study On The 1986 Disaster At The Chernobyl Atomic Power Station

1753 WordsApr 17, 20168 Pages
Introduction Nuclear power plays a hugely important role in the generation of today’s world’s everyday energy needs. Accounting for around 11% of the world’s energy needs, nuclear energy is generally harnessed using uranium as the fuel [1]. Within a nuclear reactor, a neutron collides with a uranium nucleus to induce a chain fission reaction. This is a reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits to form two separate atoms, with a great quantity of energy being released in the process [2]. This heat energy is absorbed by water or carbon dioxide gas which is pumped through the reactor and later is used to heat water converting it to steam. The steam then rotates turbines in order to produce electricity. This report will explore the arguments for and against nuclear power as well as a case-study on the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station. Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy Although nuclear power is a very significant method of electricity generation, there is an increasing amount of debate as to its place in the world today. This mainly relates to its impact on the environment, its effect on the immediate and wider ecosystem, and the risk of a nuclear accident occurring [3]. In simplified terms, the main advantages of nuclear energy production are listed below: • Nuclear power causes contributes significantly less to climate change than using coal, oil or natural gas. • Nuclear power is efficient and reliable, as opposed to many of

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