The existence of a form of energy in atoms was discovered by Ernest Rutherford in 1919 when he noticed that the nuclei of atoms could be split by alpha rays. The first nuclear-energy power plant was opened in England, Cambria at a place called Calder Hall in 1956.
Nuclear energy (atom energy) is the use of the power energy in an atom’s nucleus. In the nuclear fission, a nucleus of an atom gets split and energy is given out. Uranium is the fuel that enhances the processes of nuclear fission. Protons are fired at the nucleus of the uranium so as to disintegrate them .There is mutual advantage as the nucleus that are initially disintegrated produce a lot of neutrons which in turn disintegrates the nuclei of the rest of the uranium. The mode under which there are they production of nuclear energy is called chain reaction.
The energy can either be released by two of the methods that are applied: nuclear fusion or nuclear fission. The production of nuclear energy can either be controlled (in the energy release) or be uncontrolled (as in the nuclear energy that powers a nuclear weapon: atomic and hydrogen bombs.
The Plant produced nuclear-energy in large-scale. However, there are critics who vehemently castigate and criticize the use of nuclear energy because of its radioactive disposal. Save for the very little quantities of carbon dioxide gas, and that is during the processing of uranium, otherwise it has got no air pollution. ).It’s environmentally friendly because it does not contribute to the greenhouse gases since it does not entail the use of fuels which comes from the fossils. However all that has got its good side still has got its dark side too. For example, in the wake of the earthquake in Japan, the impact was horrible as three nuclear energy reactors were affected in the aftermath.
The disadvantages of nuclear energy
Cost of production: a lot of capital is needed to not only set up the nuclear energy plants but also to run them. The cost that is needed to assemble and later to disassemble is very big.
The cost of disposing the radioactive materials is extremely high. An example is that of the nuclear plant in United Kingdom on which after study, the figures showed that the disposal of the radioactive materials and general clean up amounted to more than 100 billion European dollars.
Terrorism acts and threats: Since the transportation of the nuclear materials is by road and sometimes by sea, the impacts that would occur were the transport vessels to be hijacked would be disastrous since the transport roads are not manned by any security personnel who would be in handy to foil the terrorists’ intentions would they strike. Also would there be a terrorist attack on the nuclear power plants, there would be catastrophic ever lasting effects on the surrounding land and (or) water masses.
Climatic change: There are more and more nuclear-energy power plants that are being constructed. Considering the emissions from the plants and the other industrial plants, there would be a change in the current trend of the climate where extreme floods would occur or extreme dry spells of drought. According to research figures, there will be more than nine functioning nuclear energy power plants as by the year 2024.Reflecting back to the Chernobyl nuclear energy reactor disaster, the lethal nuclear clouds were blown for a distance of a diameter of over two kilometers and a landmass that totaled more than 160,000 in square kilometers contaminated with the radioactive materials. It’s approximated nine million people succumbed to the accident of the Chernobyl nuclear energy reactor.
Accumulation of radioactive waste: The disposal of the radioactive materials is a very complicated process. The radioactive waste materials are emitted at every process where there is the involvement of uranium: from the time it is mined, used to fuel the nuclear energy reactors and even up to the time it is reprocessed to reclaim plutonium. (Herbst 2007) Therefore strategic management is needed during the disposal of nuclear waste. It is not like the dumping of plastic materials .The materials must be carefully disposed of or otherwise they would react with the area surrounding their disposal site and if they come into contact with plants, the plants would die since the soil is deprived of nutrients.
Environmental threat: If the radioactive waste leaks into the water masses, its contact with the water creatures kills them. It is estimated the time that it takes for the radioactive material to rot is one million years. Generations and generations would come, taste the consequences proffered to them by the previous greedy generations and go.Gosh! For a whooping one million years (Herbst Allan 2007).
Supplementary of energy: the nuclear energy power plants use the energy to produce electricity only. For instance in United Kingdom, the population uses the gas energy to on their day to day activities and the nuclear energy is only opted for heating their houses and heating water.
The re-use of nuclear waste: Among the setbacks of having nuclear power plants is that greedy people can cease the opportunity to manufacture deadly nuclear weapons. According to chemical experts, a very small component of plutonium can be lethal. Nuclear waste is sometimes reprocessed and reused over again. (Core 2006)The extraction of plutonium takes place the power plant located in Cambria. During the reprocessing process, waste is separate from the reusable plutonium that is used to produce electricity.
Solutions to nuclear energy
First, he nuclear energy industry can strive hard to lessen the exposure of radioactive materials. Second, the plants can be state-owned rather than being privately owned. In that way, the state can regulate their functions and their number thereby rendering them with good management. (Apikyan 2009)Third, the nuclear energy power plants can be pressed to meet the procedures that regulate the management and the work that they run.
Fourth, is the lifespan of nuclear reactors. According to the expatriates’ statistics, nuclear energy reactors are supposed to have a life span of not more than twenty years. Due to lax safety standards, ignorance and greediness, there are nuclear reactors in the world which are more than twenty five years ever since they started being operational. There is the case of the nuclear energy reactor, the one in Cambria that has been in operation for over fifty years, ever since it was started in 1956. (Charles 2007).Fifth, the power plants are supplementary forms of energy and amount to a small percentage of energy supply since most of the population in U.K use gas in their daily activities. Therefore, the state could put stringent measures to discourage their building and in turn upgrade other better forms of energy like hydro-electric power.
Examples of solutions
The states where the nuclear power plants are built should encourage more environment friendly sources such as land-fill gas, the wind power, biomass, electricity that is produced from water, energy that is acquired from the sun (solar thermal) among others.
Nuclear energy is the use of energy that is released by the nucleus of an atom of which is produced after alpha rays are passed through. The first large scale nuclear-energy power plant was opened in 1956 at a place called Cambria in England There are two processes under which nuclear energy is produced.One of them is through fission and fusion..
(Klapp Jaime,2007)Advantage of nuclear energy: compared too much greenhouse causative gases, the raw materials can be reprocessed.
Disadvantages of nuclear energy: terrorism acts, cost of production, climatic change and reprocessing.
Solutions: the governments could have state-owned nuclear-power plants so that they could impose regulatory management to them. The governments could encourage other more environment friendly sources such as wind power (which is a renewable source of energy), land-fill gas (that is got from methane that has decomposed naturally), biomass (that is produced by organic substances such as wood), hydro-electric power (that is the energy tapped from flowing water by constructing dams across rivers to trap water and then turn turbines) and solar energy (which is got when the sun’s rays are trapped by solar systems).
Apikyan Samuel, D. D. 2009. Nuclear Power and Energy Security. Dordrecht: Springer.
Charles, F. 2007. Nucluear energy. New York: Council of Foreign Relations.
Core, L. 2006. Nuclear in the 21st century. London: Academic Press.
Herbst Alan, H. G. 2007. Nuclear energy now. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Klappe Jaime, J. 2007. Towards a cleaner planet:energy for the future. New York: Springer.