Term Paper: Nuclear Energy Chernobyl Incidents and Japan

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Nuclear Power Issues and Concerns

What is nuclear energy?

Nuclear energy is the process of using the natural decay of certain elements to produce heat that can be converted into usable mechanical energy.

Why is nuclear energy often used instead of traditional fossil fuel burning plants?

Traditional energy production processes and methods of burning fossil fuel plants are limited by the natural reserves of those resources. Fossil fuels are, as the name suggests, a product of the fossilization process that converts organic matter such as prehistoric plants and vegetation into hydrocarbons. That process requires millions of years to occur; unfortunately, that means that the available reserves are finite and not capable of being increased. In addition, burning fossil fuels produces pollutants that can negatively affect the environment and seriously endanger life on earth. Conversely, nuclear energy is not dependent on scarce resources and does not generate pollution.

What are the pros of nuclear energy? Cons?

The most substantial benefits of nuclear energy are that it does contribute directly to polluting the environment and that it eliminates any reliance on foreign nations for their oil. The most substantial risks associated with nuclear energy were recently illustrated by in Japan: when nuclear reactors in nuclear energy plants break down, they may threaten human life and welfare in their vicinity by releasing radioactive materials into the environment.

4. Where should nuclear plants be located?

Nuclear plants should, ideally, be located far away from population centers, and should never be located anywhere near earthquake fault lines or other known threats to their ability to operate safely.

5. What natural features that would be handy to have around a nuclear reactor?

Space between nuclear reactor and human populations would be the most important natural feature to have around a nuclear reactor to minimize threats to human beings in the event of emergencies. Likewise, proximity to large bodies of water would also be handy because they provide a source of water to combat the types of situations currently… [END OF PREVIEW]

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