Nuclear Power Plants and Safety

Topics: Nuclear power, Nuclear fission, Uranium Pages: 6 (1871 words) Published: June 25, 2008
Nuclear Power Plants and Safety

Since the humans use energy sources such as wood, coal, and oil to produce electricity, people want to use better energy sources to produce electricity more. By the mid twentieth century, scientists found the method of making incredible energy by using uranium as nuclear fission. Today there are about 400 nuclear power plants around the world and more than 100 nuclear power plants in United States (Howstuffworks). In addition, nuclear reactors produced a lot of energy and they affected quality life styles by using nuclear energy (Howstuffworks). Nuclear power plants are providing about 17 percent of electricity of the world and several countries generate electricity about more than 50% of their using by nuclear power plant than other countries (Howstuffworks). However, nuclear power plants have a lot of risks such as accidents and radiation pollution and they also effects to people’s health, minds, life styles, and the relationship between countries even though nuclear power plants are beneficial as energy sources. The government and nuclear engineers may need to make stronger and safer nuclear power plants to produce incredible amounts of electricity since nuclear power plants are not safe enough and some terrible nuclear power plants accidents pollute the environment and people’s health. Nuclear power plants work with nuclear fission reaction. The origin source of nuclear energy is uranium and it is very “common element on the earth” (Howstuffworks). A uranium nucleus captures the neutrons and it also split very quickly (Howstuffworks). This is called nuclear fission reaction and it releases a lot of energy as “form of heat and gamma radiation” when uranium atoms split (Loewen 523). When a uranium fission reaction happens with incredible high “energy source of heat,” steam turbine generator produces electricity (Howstuffworks). This simple uranium fission reaction produces incredible amounts of energy to use as electricity from the nuclear reactor in nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power plants are essential and beneficial elements of future life. The more than 100 nuclear power plants placed in United States and the more than 400 nuclear power plants placed around the world produce incredible amounts of energy as shown in figure 1. This energy helps to turn lights on and offers unlimited energy sources. As oil energy sources dwindle away, a lot of scientists and countries are looking for new sources of energy. However, new energy sources are not easy to find out and develop energy sources to useful electricity. Therefore, nuclear energy is increasing dramatically. Nuclear reactor scientist and engineer, Dr. Riley said that “with the production of 20% of US electrical energy the last 30 years, nuclear power plants have created no significant casualties” (Riley 3). In addition, nuclear power plants are beneficial than coal power plant because of coal mining, transportation, operations and pollution as shown in figure 2(Riley 3). Nuclear energy also economically beneficial that United States can produce nuclear power energy of 700 years of need and it is “10 times the expected availability of coal and 100 times the expected availability of oil” (Riley 3). People can not live without electricity and nuclear power plants produce the energy to fill out energy demand. Nuclear power plants are beneficial for our current and future life style.

Figure 2.Atmospheric Pollution from a 1000Mwe Power Plant
Energy SourceQuantity of atmospheric Pollution per year
Coal352,000 tons per Year

However, nuclear power plants have a lot of risk factors in spite of the benefits. Normally, nuclear power plants should be well constructed and it should be very strong to prevent releasing radioactivity. However, several accidents were happened at nuclear power plants and two controversial examples of accidents are Chernobyl and Three-mile Island disasters. One...
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