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. Nuclear energy (atom energy) is the use of the power energy in an atom’s nucleus. The energy is produced by the reactions that the nucleus of an atom undergoes. 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).Nuclear energy is environmental friendly because it does not contribute to the greenhouse gases and it does not entail the use of fuels which comes from the fossils. However there are critics who vehemently castigate and criticize the use of nuclear energy because of its radioactive disposal. In the nuclear fission, a nucleus of an atom gets split and energy is given out. The supplier of fuel that is needed to enhance the processes of nuclear fission is got from uranium. Protons are fired at the nucleus of the uranium so as to disintegrate them .Prior to that, 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. More than half a century ago, in 1956, the first nuclear-energy power plant was opened in England, Cambria at a place called Calder Hall. The Plant produced nuclear-energy in large-scale. 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. However all that has got its good side still has got its setbacks: nuclear energy. For example, prior to 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 upon the nuclear energy plants but also to run them. The cost that is needed to assemble and (or) to disassemble is very big. Also 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 i9s 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 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.
The change of the climate: 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 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. In the mayhem of the Chernobyl nuclear energy reactor accident it left almost nine million people affected in its wake.
The much accumulating 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 die since the soil is deprived of nutrients. 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 generation and go.Gosh! For a whooping one million years.
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 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)They reprocessing takes place in the first nuclear power plant to be built, in Cambria. During the reprocessing process, waste is separate from the reusable plutonium that is used to produce electricity.
Solutions to nuclear energy; the nuclear energy industry can strive hard to lessen the exposure to radioactive materials.Secondly, the plants can be owned by the state rather than being private 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. Also there is the issue of the aging 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 in operation. 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 2009)Fourth, even though the nuclear power plants provide with energy power, the state could put stringent measures to discourage their building.
Examples of solutions: instead 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. There are two processes under which nuclear energy is produced.One of them is through fission and fusion. The first large scale nuclear-energy power plant was opened in 1956 at a place called Cambria in England.
Advantages of nuclear energy: compared too much greenhouse causative gases, they are at least environmental friendly, the raw material 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.