Non-existent if well managed: It occupies only small
surfaces of land and consumes small amounts of fuel; its
waste is small, confined, and isolated from the
there is no industry
in the world that can present the same excellent record of
safety performance as the nuclear industry.
Introduction to Nuclear Energy for Civilian Purposes
* Most early atomic research focused on developing an effective weapon for use in World War II. After the war, the United States government encouraged the development of nuclear energy for peaceful civilian purposes while continuing to develop, test, and deploy new nuclear weapons. * The Experimental Breeder Reactor I at a site in Idaho generated the first electricity from nuclear energy on December 20, 1951. * As of 2008, 13% of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear energy. Fewer than 400 nuclear power reactors were operating as of May 2012 (Japan's 54 reactors were gradually taken offline after the March 2011 meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi). There were also 60 nuclear reactors under construction. * In the United States alone, there are 103 nuclear power reactors, which provide about 19% of the nation’s electricity. * A new nuclear power plant has not been ordered in the U.S. since 1973. How It Works – The Scientific Process Behind Nuclear Energy * Nuclear energy relies on the fact that some elements can be split (in a process called fission) and will release part of their energy as heat. * Because it fissions easily, Uranium-235 (U-235) is one of the elements most commonly used to produce nuclear energy. It is generally used in a mixture with Uranium-238, and produces Plutonium-239 (Pu-239) as waste in the process. * A nuclear power plant generates electricity like any other steam-electric power plant. Water is heated, and steam from the boiling water turns turbines and generates electricity. * The main difference in the various types of...