The Negative Effects of Nuclear Energy

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In 1950, the first commercial nuclear power

plants were constructed. The public was promised

a non-polluting and resourceful type of energy, but

how safe was, and is, nuclear energy? Although

there are less than 500 licensed nuclear power

plants in the world, many nuclear accidents have

already been endangering civilian lives. More

serious accidents are not just likely, but inevitable

(Fairchild 29). Nuclear energy may appear to be

the ideal source of energy for the future: however,

there are many negative effects of nuclear energy

that can lead to very dangerous situations.

Energy has always been among the basic human

concerns, along with food and shelter. It takes

part in all activities, from walking to the operation

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The hot

water is piped through a steam generator and

converts a secondary water supply into steam to

power the turbine. The two water supplies do not

mix (Galperin 45).

A gas-cooled reactor is similar to a

pressurized-water reactor. The only main

difference is that helium or carbon dioxide gas

replaces the water in the primary loop. These

reactors cost more to operate and to build, but are

more energy efficient (Galperin 46).

The last main type of reactor is a breeder-reactor.

This is very different then other reactors because it

produces more fissionable material then it

consumes. A breeder reactor fuels with a

combination of plutonium and uranium. A breeder

reactor would be extremely useful if uranium was

scarce. It takes about 10 to 60 years to use up the

fuel from just one cycle (Galperin 46).

Radiation is very strong in the nuclear waste of

power plants. Nuclear waste exists in several

forms. One form is called high-level waste, and the

other is called low-level waste. High-level waste is

mostly from the used fuel rods and other materials

exposed to as much radiation as they are.

High-level wastes can let out very large amounts

of radiation for thousands of years. There is no

place to store this waste that is safe, and it will

always be radioactive. But for now, they are

stored in the ground. Other proposed storing

solutions are sending it to space, burying it in the

core of the earth, burying it in the
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