What in the WORLD is nuclear energy? (・_・ヾ)
BY Amal Mahmood
Nuclear energy sounds a little shifty at first, but its actually very simple and pollution free. To create nuclear energy, Uranium atoms are forced to break apart, releasing energy. Water is used to cool down the Uranium, producing steam. This steam is used to turn a turbine, creating electricity.
Where is this source found? (^▽^ゞ)
Uranium can be found almost everywhere, in rocks, soil, rivers, and oceans. This makes it easy to find and produce electricity from. Basically, Uranium is unlimited, making it a very important renewable resource. The following is a map containing location of the largest power plant in the world, which is in Niigata, Japan.
HOW is Nuclear Energy used? ~(˘▾˘~)
Nuclear energy can be used to power and provide heat for our homes, make weapons, the growth of crops, and even to produce medicine. Nuclear medicine is very important for the population today, because it can be used to look into a patient's body and watch how their organs are functioning. In terms of agriculture, nuclear energy helps improve the nutritional value of crops, make them much more resistant, and even show how plants use fertilizers. Scientists are able to create many types of fertilizers and grow many healthy fruits by using this renewable resource.
What's Nuclear fission anyways?
This short video gives a brief explanation on nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.
Are there different types of Nuclear Energy?
There aren't 'types of nuclear energy', but there are types of nuclear reactors. There are three main types, Boiling Water Reactor, Pressurized Water Reactor, and the Liquid-Metal Fast-Breeder Reactor.
tHE boiling water Reactor
In the boiling water reactor, the water which passes over the reactor core to act as a coolant for the reaction is also the steam source for the turbine. Unfortunately, if the fuel leaks out, the water can become toxic and can pass through the turbine, causing damage.
The pressurized water reactor
This reactor is very similar to the boiling water reactor. The only difference is that the water is separated from the turbine. This means that if the fuel were to leak, it wouldn't reach the turbine, preventing damages.
Liquid-Metal Fast-Breeder Reactor
In this reactor, the fission reaction produces heat to run the turbine while at the same time producing plutonium to run the reactor.
Nuclear energy does not produce any pollution and does not contribute to global warming in any way. Sadly, there are always down sides to every positive thing. Nuclear Energy produces lots of radioactive waste. The Earth is slowly becoming more and more crammed with trash, so where are we supposed to put the radio active waste? The waste is kept underground, but many argue it should be shot into space. The problem is, shooting waste into space can be very expensive. Sadly, keeping waste underground can be even worse. If it isn't disposed of properly, the waste can contaminate water and poison humans, plants, and other organisms.
Nuclear Energy and it's Costs
Finding uranium is a very cheap process compared to other renewable resources. This is obviously because it is found practically EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, building nuclear power plants and reactors are very expensive, especially if any of then were to be damaged. But the creation of energy without pollution makes up for the price, in my opinion, that is.
Nuclear Plants in the u.s
In the U.S, there are 62 power plants in total. About half of these plants have at least two reactors. The amount of megawatts generated in all the power plants in the U.S range from about 40o to 4000 megawatts. The most megawatts generated in the U.S is 3937 megawatts, and the least is 479 megawatts.
Other countries and Nuclear Energy
The U.S isn't the only country that uses nuclear energy. Many other countries use nuclear energy and are even dependent on them. About 80% of France's power is Nuclear energy, and so is half of Belgium's energy! The following graphs show the overall use of nuclear energy around the world.