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What is Nuclear Energy?
How Does Nuclear Energy Work?
Who's using Nuclear Energy?
Pros of Nuclear Energy:
Cons of Nuclear Energy
Nuclear vs Other Alternative Energies
Weapons vs Energy
Uranium vs Thorium
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By Eric Clinebell
Nuclear energy, is the energy released during nuclear fission or fusion, especially when used to generate electricity. It is one of the only generators of electricity that provides clean, safe energy 24 hours a day when compared to other renewable energies.
Most energy is created by somehow spinning a generator which then produces electricity. Nuclear energy does this very clean and efficiently by using nuclear fission of Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239. Through controlled nuclear fission, which is done by shooting a neutron at eminence speeds into an atom causing it to break apart and release other neutrons. These released neutrons then clash into other atoms creating a nuclear reaction. Through fission heat energy is released. These sustained, high temperatures are used to heat liquid water until it becomes steam. This steam is then used to spin turbines connected to the generator.
Boiling Water Reactors
Pressurized Water Reactors
This shows the fission of Uranium-235:
Which breaks apart to create:
Types of Fission Reactors
There are two types of factories that nuclear power plants use. Boiling Water Reactors (BWR's) and Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR's).
Currently, there are 30 countries in the world using carbon-free nuclear energy. And it is also used to power Mars Rovers.
Nuclear energy is carbon neutral, meaning it releases absolutely no carbon into the atmosphere.
If we replaced all of the nuclear energy we use today with fossil fuels, we'd generate 2 billion tons more CO2 annually.
It is economically stable. Meaning it is not effected by fluctuating prices of fossil fuel, or variability of other alternative energy sources.
Capable of creating large amounts of energy consistently. This allows them to meet the needs of large industrial centers or major cities.
13 percent of the worlds energy comes from nuclear power that emits little to no greenhouse gases.
The building of Nuclear facilities creates between 1,400 and 3,500 jobs for construction workers, and after the facility is built it maintains 400 to 700 permanent positions paying roughly 36 to 44 percent more than the average salary of surrounding area.
Has the potential to create catastrophic and wide spread radioactive contamination.
Often depends on the environment of the controlled nuclear fission. When the environment spins out of control, nuclear meltdowns become possible. (ex: Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukashima)
Average of around 2,000 metric tons of nuclear waste per year generated in the US.
The waste releases radiation for tens of thousands of years.
Higher price than most other energies because at the moment, it's $112 and not lowering due to how much money it takes to build the nuclear plants.
Every 18 to 11 months the plant must shut down to clean out the spent nuclear fuel.
Eugene Wigner, who was a major part in the Manhattan project, helped create some of the first nuclear discoveries, and technologies. Unfortunately we don't know him for one of his most important discoveries... Wigner found that if we were to replace Uranium-235 with Thorium, we'd not only create energy more efficiently, but our nuclear plants would become even safer. The government however, at the time, was only interested in making Plutonium to use in nuclear weapons which could only be done using Uranium. So they ignored Wigner, and continued construction of the two types of reactors we use today.
Debate: Does the World Need Nuclear Energy? Perf. Stewart Brand and Mark Z. Jacobson. Youtube. TED Talks, 10 June 2010. Web. 1 May 2014. <
Barton, Charles. "Fermi's Folly, Wigner's Wisdom - The Energy From Thorium Foundation." The Energy From Thorium Foundation. N.p., 08 Oct. 2008. Web. 01 May 2014. <http://energyfromthorium.com/2008/10/18/fermis-folly-wigners-wisdom/>.
"Pros and Cons of Nuclear Power." YouTube. YouTube, 06 Jan. 2014. Web. 01 May 2014. <
"11 Facts About Nuclear Energy." Do Something. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2014. <https://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-nuclear-energy>.