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Nuclear Energy

by Kevin, Peter, Jesse, Johnson

Jesse Nixon

on 5 June 2013

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Transcript of Nuclear Energy

Limitations Advantages: Efficiency and high energy generation from small amounts of fuel. Location of uranium supplies. Low greenhouse gas emissions. Readily available technology. Reliability. Nuclear Energy Effectiveness Primary aim is to turn a magnet
Fluctuating magnetic field which generates an AC electric current
Thermal energy to heat water to turn a turbine
To learn how we heat this water, we have to go smaller splitting of the uranium 235 or Plutonium 239 atomic nucleus by neutron bombardment
over come the strong nuclear force to release the fragments of positively charged nucleus as well as free neutrons
propelled by the electromagnetic force, the fragments become extremely energized.
Distributed to surrounding areas by collision or gamma radiation Chain Reaction The free neutrons are able to collide with other nuclei. Follows the same process.
Continues this reaction exponentially resulting in extremely large power output
Control rods to absorb the free neutrons to restrict the reaction
Control rods provide additional thermal energy by natural radioactive decay
Control rods must be cooled continuously or the radioactive material will experience a meltdown which is difficult to contain Uranium 236 when Uranium 235 nucleus is hit by a neutron:
88% chance to fission (said reaction above)
12% chance to fail to fission but instead become radioactive isotope Uranium 236
when Plutonium 239 nucleus is hit by a neutron:
70% chance to fission
30% chance to yield plutonium 240, which decays into Uranium 236
Uranium 236 is rather a nuisance and one of nuclear energy's limitations (more on this later)
Long half life (2.348 x107 years) meaning that it will almost always be there, emitting alpha, beta and gamma radiation Nuclear Fusion Alternative to Nuclear Fission
For lighter atoms the strong force binding the nucleons in the atom are stronger
energy inputted is enough to overcome the electromagnetic force, nuclear fusion will occur
Energy is released in a high energy neutron
Cleaner, more efficient than nuclear fission
Fuel is hydrogen
Byproduct is helium
Only limitation - unable to control the vast amount of energy yielded Uranium-235 Most nuclear reactors can only fission the rare highly enriched uranium-235 isotope.
Raw uranium is taken to a conversion plant, where it is converted to uranium hexafluoride solids.
Less than one percent of these solids is the uranium-235.
The U-235 content has to be increased to between 3 percent 5 percent.
This process is called enrichment. Radioactive Waste Whenever U-235 is hit by neutrons, but fails to fission, it produces radioactive waste in the form of Uranium-236.
Non-biodegradable and extremely dangerous.
Stored in steel-lined concrete basins.
Remains radioactive for thousands of years. Security Risks This also poses as a security threat.

Can generate weapons grade plutonium.

Potential targets for sabotage or terrorism.

Regular safety drills.

Built to withstand a crash by a large commercial aircraft. Nuclear accidents Possibility of nuclear accidents/meltdowns.

Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima

Release of massive amounts of radioactive material into surrounding areas.

Radiation poisoning and contamination of wildlife.

Sporadic compared to rate of fossil fuel accident. Cost Effectiveness Upfront cost of building a nuclear power plant can be variable.
In 1970, several large power plants were built for $170 million.
In 1983, same sized power plants costed an average of $1.7 billion.
In 2010, President Obama announced a $8.3 billion government loan to build twin-nuclear reactors in Georgia.
The reason is partially because of inflation, but it is mainly because older power plants were sloppy, disaster-prone and required safety upgrades. j How does it work? Global Use As of May 2012, there are a total of 31 countries use nuclear power plants for generation of electricity, with a total of 436 reactors.
Nuclear power plants generated 2351 billion kWh in 2012, a third of which was in the United States.
Accounts for 12.3% of the world's total energy.
Highest users include - France (75%), Slovakia (54%), Belgium (51%) and Ukraine (46%).
Australia currently does not use nuclear power for energy, although we do have reactors for research purposes. Thanks for Watching!
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