Nuclear Energy - Power or Death?
We use energy everywhere, from running our cars to powering our television sets. It is an essential part of our daily lives. Unfortunately, we are often hearing of how our supply of fossil fuels is running out, and how we are potentially warming the planet and causing the sea level to rise. However, there is some hope - nuclear power! It is not only more efficient and clean when compared to our standard power generation methods such as coal and oil, but it also generates more energy. But is it really safe for the environment and for us?
What is nuclear energy and how does it work?
Nuclear power plants are similar to coal and oil plants in the sense that they heat water to produce steam which powers turbines. The only difference is that, in a nuclear plant, uranium and plutonium atoms are split to create heat. This is considered cleaner technology than burning coal which produces harmful gases and smog.
What's more efficient, fossil fuels or nuclear power?
Nuclear power uses the fission and splitting of atoms, which produces intense heat and radiation. This is why the temperatures in the plants can reach intense heats. One gram of uranium creates the same, or more, amount of heat as 3000 tons of coal.
Is nuclear power safe?
When compared to coal or oil plants, nuclear energy is much more efficient and less harmful to the environment but there have been accidents at some nuclear facilities. Nuclear plants release ionizing radiation which have been shown to significantly increase cancer rates and circulatory system illnesses and leakages at plants can lead to large scale catastrophes. Being exposed to nuclear radiation is harmful to human and animal populations as well as the ecosystem surrounding where an accident has taken place!
At the end of the day, nuclear power is the way to go. Even with its drawbacks, nuclear is still a viable alternative to coal and oil energy.
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