13th April 2013
Dear Mr. Cameron,
I am writing to express my opinion about the Wylfa nuclear power station issue. It is quite a controversial topic and I hope that you will listen to all I have to say. This map shows Cemaes Bay in Anglesey, Wales, which is the location of the Wylfa power plant. The current Wylfa power plant is due to shut down in 2014, but nuclear regulators have signed an agreement for plans to build new reactors in North Wales. This is the start of Horizon Nuclear Power’s proposals for a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey. Horizon’s owner Hitachi (a Japanese multinational corporation specialising in high-technology and services) wants to build new Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) in the UK, including at Wylfa. However, ABWR plants are operating at four different sites in Japan but haven’t yet been approved in Britain.
Nuclear power is an energy source obtained through nuclear fission, a process where neutrons (sub-atomic particles) are smashed into the nuclei of uranium atoms, causing them to split and release energy in the form of heat. This heat is then used to turn water into steam to turn turbines, much like in power stations that produce energy from burning fossil fuels, except without the carbon dioxide emissions which contribute to the greenhouse effect and air pollution. The reactors use uranium rods as fuel and each rod can last for several years before needing to be replaced. The map on the right shows the locations of nuclear power stations in the UK, their generating capacity and anticipated closure dates. Natural uranium isn’t very radioactive, as it consists of only 0.7% “uranium-235”, the type of uranium which undergoes fission inside the nuclear reactor. The rest is “uranium-238”, which hinders the nuclear fission by getting in the way of the neutrons in the reactor. This is why nuclear reactors are not the equivalent of nuclear bombs just waiting to explode-you would need a very high concentration of...
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