Nuclear Power Essay

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Nuclear Power

As our population increases, so will our demand for electricity. Air conditioners, computers, televisions, microwaves, and many other appliances have become necessities for Americans. All methods of producing electricity have drawbacks. As the earth becomes warmer, we must look for ways to decrease our use of fossil fuels. There are several ways to produce electricity without releasing air pollution. The most feasible method at this time is nuclear energy. Nuclear energy presents a safe, clean, and inexpensive alternative to other methods of producing electricity. Nuclear waste can either be reprocessed or disposed of safely, provided certain precautions are taken.

Radiation
Properties

In order to understand the
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Another example is x-rays, which have become a valuable medical diagnostic tool. However, overexposure to x-rays can increase a person's cancer risk or even cause immediate death (Taylor, 1996).

Average annual exposure from various sources

The average American's exposure to radiation (82%) comes primarily from natural sources. Fifty-five percent comes from radon, which is given off by radium, a component of soil and rock. Americans receive a smaller percentage of radiation from other terrestrial sources, such as uranium in the soil, and from cosmic rays. Eleven percent of natural radiation exposure is internal, primarily from radioactive potassium in our bodies. Eighteen percent of American's radiation exposure comes from man-made sources such as x-rays, nuclear medicine, and consumer products, much of which is the necessary byproduct of beneficial products and procedures. Americans receive only 0.1% of their total radiation exposure from nuclear energy production. This figure includes exposure from mining, milling, reactor operation, transportation, and waste storage. Interestingly, Americans receive 0.5% of their total radiation exposure from the radioisotopes released into the atmosphere from coal-fired power plants. We actually receive five times as much radiation from coal-fired power plants as we do from nuclear power plants (Taylor,

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