Sunday, April 01, 2007

Post of the Month: March - Nuclear Power

The Post of the Month for March is.... Nuclear Power: Energy of the Future or As Bad As Fossil Fuels? Don't worry those who are waiting, Solar Power is coming soon!
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power

Nuclear Power is the controlled use of nuclear reactions to release energy for work including propulsion, heat, and the generation of electricity. Human use of nuclear power to do significant useful work is currently limited to nuclear fission and radioactive decay. Nuclear energy is produced when a fissile material, such as uranium-235 (235U), is concentrated such that nuclear fissionb takes place in a controlled chain reaction and creates heat — which is used to boil water, produce steam, and drive a steam turbine. The turbine can be used for mechanical work and also to generate electricity. Nuclear power is used to power most military submarines and aircraft carriers and provides 7% of the world's energy and 15.7% of the world's electricity.



Nuclear power: Its opponents decry it as the most dangerous power source on Earth. But is it really that bad?


Nuclear Accidents
“We’re all gonna die!” they say. “Remember Chernobyl and Three Mile Island!” Opponents of nuclear power claim nuclear power plants aren’t safe; there could be an explosion or waste could leak out, they say. Besides Chernobyl, only ~213 people have died from a nuclear accident. Meanwhile, diesel exhaust causes 21,000 deaths a year, asthma, and cancer according to a report by the Clean Air Task Force. Nuclear power is not dangerous to the public. Most of the fears regarding nuclear power are overblown.


Nuclear Power: Just As Bad As Fossil Fuels?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Nuclear_Power_Plant_Cattenom.jpg

Uh-oh, more science! Creationists cover your eyes! Nuclear power works like this: Nuclear fission produces heat, which is used to boil water to create steam and drive a steam turbine.
Steam is water vapor, the most common greenhouse gas on Earth. So, do nuclear power plants contribute to global warming and the enhanced greenhouse effect? The simple answer is no.

The air can only hold so much water. This is called “saturation”. Water vapor contributes to 60% of the natural greenhouse effect. Because the atmosphere can only hold so much water, water vapor does not contribute to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Therefore, nuclear power does not directly contribute to global warming. Indirectly, it does. For example,
electric generators used in nuclear power plants require gasoline.


So, Is Nuclear Power Good or Bad?
Nuclear power, if used carefully, could power most of the world’s energy needs. Of course, it wouldn’t be able to power all needs (i.e. cars). France can be a role model—80% of energy consumed there is nuclear. In contrast, 20% of energy consumed in the U.S. is nuclear. Nuclear energy, along with other non-fossil fuels could power the future.

What do you think?



Related articles:
The Temporary Solution: Coal
Ethanol

Coming Soon:
Part 4:Solar and Wind Power





19 comments:

Anonymous said...

"water vapor does not contribute to the enhanced greenhouse effect."

oh my god have you ever even read a science book before???

Simmons said...

Multiple, actually. If you read the whole post, you would understand why.

Anonymous said...

show easier to read info for school kids!!
include more about uraniumand then get to the subjet of nuclear power/energy

Anonymous said...

I wonder where the French put their nuclear waste? Where do we put ours? Who decides and who agrees? Clearly there is a better alternative to the nuclear power/waste problem. Namely, hydro kinetics. It takes about a week to set up a Helical turbine in water flowing at about 5 m/s to generate 5 kilowatts of electricity. The cost would be infintely below that for nuclear and would not need to be entirely subsidized by the Feds.

Nuclear plants have been subsidized to the tune of over $500billion dollars since the '50's. They can't get commercial insurance and really do have lots of security baggage that must be dealt with and added to the cost of producing a kilowatt.

My money goes to the cleanest most efficient form of energy, which by the way covers 70% of the planet, water.

We could take just 1% of the energy generated by the Gulf Stream and satisfy all of the energy needs of N. America. However, that would mean replacing the very profitable "commercial viability" of fossil fuels and nuclear energy with a source with only marginal net profits since there is so much water and it is controlled by and large by the people.

Logan said...

1. You sound like an elementary school Discovery video. I could even hear the music playing in the background.

2. Who cares where it goes as long as it's safe in a container that could withstand two head on train collisions at once?

3. Unfortunately, nobody really feels the need to create a wire stretching from the Gulf Stream to L.A.

4. If what your saying is 'oh so good', the environment issue would have been a thing of the past.

5. I do agree we need something better than fossil fuels. Those will not last forever (no comments on 'environmental impact'). For now we can rely on nuclear, wind, fossil fuels (however, we must innovate), and (yes) water. I don't like the solar industry until they can improve on the way it works. Such as wireless energy from a satellite.

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