Nuclear power is derived from the mass to energy conversions that occur in the splitting of atoms or joining of atoms. Technology that has been developed in the Manhattan Project has successfully used nuclear energy in a chain reaction to create nuclear bombs. This technology was quickly transferred to the public sector and commercial power plants have been developed and integrated. In this article, we will discuss about the importance, advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power plant.
The nuclear reactors in the United States now produce about twenty percent of the electricity that is needed. There are an estimated 400 nuclear reactors in the world, with 100 of them being in the United States. They can produce base-load electricity 24 hours a day without any pollutants being emitted into the atmosphere. They do create nuclear waste that is radioactive and must be stored carefully.
Advantages of a Nuclear Power Plant
Nuclear power plants seem to be a great solution to the growing demands for more energy. Here are several advantages of a nuclear power plant.
- There are geographical limits on where a nuclear power plant can be built. They do require large amounts of land, but do need to be near a large body of water. They are generally found on the coasts.
- They do not contribute to the emissions of carbon into the atmosphere. Global warming is not contributed to.
- A nuclear power station will not produce any smoke particles that will pollute the environment or contribute to acid rain.
- Nuclear power is the most concentrated form of energy. There is a lot of energy being produced from just a small amount of fuel. This will reduce transport costs.
- The reliability of nuclear power is high. It is not dependent on weather conditions.
- The output from a nuclear power plant is able to be controlled to fit the needs of the community.
- Nuclear power plants produce a small amount of waste.
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Disadvantages of a Nuclear Power Plant
There are many disadvantages that seem to far outweigh the advantages of using a nuclear power plant to convert energy into usable electricity.
- The disposal process of nuclear waste is extremely expensive and requires stringent regulations to be followed. The radioactive waste, if not disposed of properly, can cause severe pollution.
- No nuclear power station has been decommissioned because of the length of time required and the expense that would be incurred.
- When nuclear accidents occur, radiation producing particles can be spread over a wide area. The radiation that is produced can cause significant harm to the cells of the human body and make you very sick or cause pre-mature death. Illnesses have been known to surface even years after the radiation exposure has occurred.
The use of nuclear power is a very massive step forward; however the radioactive waste that is produced is so harmful the benefits of nuclear power could be outweighed by the devastating effects. As technologies evolve maybe newer systems can be put in place that will better harness the radiation that occurs.