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DeAndre Martin

Physical Science

11/04/18

Current Essay #1: Nuclear Power

Introduction

Nuclear Energy is the energy that is generated by use of nuclear fissionable materials

(radioactive materials such as uranium and plutonium) to generate electricity. What started as a

weapon of mass destruction during World War II, has transformed into an alternative form of

energy. For example, it has been established from 1 kilogram of uranium the energy produced is

equivalent to the energy produced when 4500 tonnes of high-grade coal is burned. This makes

nuclear power successful in creating low-cost energy in abundance (Bosselman 154).

Factors influencing Nuclear Energy exploration

There is a number of factors that contribute to nuclear energy exploration. A large

quantity of energy is generated after burning small quantities of fuel. The source of energy is

also clean if the radioactive materials are contained.

Unlike hydroelectric power stations which largely depend on climatic conditions with

low power production during low rainfall nuclear power plants are partially independent of

weather conditions and therefore they can be situated anywhere. This makes it an economical
investment as it is the case in coal transportation. Besides, the only requirement for a nuclear

power plant is adequate supply water therefore partially independent of geographic factors.

Advantages of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear Energy is a clean form of energy, as it does not lead to carbon emissions. Space

required to set up a nuclear power plant is less compared to equivalent conventional power

plants. The fuel consumed is less reducing on transportation costs as well as saving on storage

facilities that would be required if it was to be stored in large quantities. As a result, fossil fuel is

conserved for other energy needs. These plants are reliable because they require a little amount

of water compared to hydroelectric power plants. Besides, the plant offers better performance

even at higher loads; therefore, they can meet the growing energy demands. Finally, the

materials and parts required when building a nuclear power plant are few. This is reflected in the

price of electricity (Bosselman 154; Comby 78; Nalubanga 331).

Disadvantages

Every prospect that has advantages also has drawbacks, so it the case with nuclear

energy. First, the initial cost of installation of nuclear energy plant is higher compared to hydro

and steam energy plants. Subsequent plants maintenance costs are also high. When the plant is

used for varying loads, a nuclear plant is not suitable. To realize a safe working environment, the

personnel employed have to be skilled as there is no room of errors. Finally, if the radioactive

wastes are not carefully disposed of, they have adverse health effects to workers and the

surrounding environment (Bosselman 154; Comby 78; Nalubanga 331).


Despite high-energy production, there is a debate and whether to employ the technology

or not. Those supporting the idea point out its advantages over conventional power plants. Those

advocating against the technology, point the disadvantages particularly severe nuclear and

radiation accidents that have occurred in the past. Examples include the K-19, K-27, K-431

reactor accidents, Chernobyl disaster and the recent 2011 Fukushima I nuclear accidents

(Bosselman 154; Comby 78; Nalubanga 331).

There are attempts by the International research institutes in achieving a passive safe

nuclear energy. Today, nuclear energy accounts for around 6 percent of energy as well as 13-14

percent of electricity in the world. The U.S., Japan, and France combined account for 50 percent

of nuclear energy.

The best alternative source of energy for opposing the idea of nuclear energy would be

steam power plants as most of the steam and water is recycled thereby reducing on water

requirements.

Conclusion

Though nuclear energy is hazardous when put into wrong use or when it gets out of

control, when wisely employed it can close the gap caused by inadequate coal and oil supplies.
Works Cited

Bosselman, F. The Ecological Advantages of Nuclear Power. NYU, 2007, pp. 154-165.

Comby, B. “The Benefits of Nuclear Energy.” Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, 2006, pp.

78-81.

Nalubanga, L. Nuclear Energy: Economic benefits & environmental controversy. New

Vision, 2018, pp. 331-339.