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Critical Analysis on Nuclear Energy Development

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Introduction

Radiation is a form of energy and different types of radiation have different amounts of energy. If radioactive waste gets out of its safe container and in to the environment it could contaminate the wildlife and people. A type of radiation is nuclear energy.

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Nuclear energy was discovered by lots of different people but it all started out in 1895, when Wilhelm Rontgen began passing an electric current through an evacuated glass tube and producing continuous X-rays. Nuclear energy is said to be safe compared to other energy sources.

The three safety issues with nuclear energy is controlling the rate of the reaction if the reactions is uncontrolled it could cause a meltdown and radiation could seep outside of the power plant. The next safety issue is managing the radioactive materials used in the reactors. The third and final safety issue is the security of the material, because if it gets in to the wrong hands it could cause a nuclear war. A nuclear reactor produces and controls the release of energy from splitting the atom. The electricity released is used to create heat which is then used to create steam which in the very end you end up with electricity. Amounts of radiation released into the environment are measured in units called curies and the dose that a person receives is measured in units called rem.

When it comes to nuclear energy there are a lot of regulations. The first regulation is that the nuclear power plant must be licensed by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission and while the reactors are being built they will be supervised at all time and there has to be a final inspection as soon as the reactor is finished. They do inspections quite often to check the condition of the plant and to make sure they are following the laws. The second regulation is storage containers. After a while the uranium will not be able to be used anymore but it is still very radioactive so they have to put it in safe containers and store it either at the plant or shipped to a storage facility. The third safety regulation is transportation. Trains, trucks, airplanes, and boats all transport radioactive materials. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the department of transportation have made rules about how much radioactive waste can be transported at one time. They do this because if there was a spill they want to keep the amount spilled to a minimum. The forth regulation is fire safety. Fire detection is so important that they have adequate fire monitoring systems. They also have a group of people that there only job is to watch for fires and if there is one to report it right away. Nuclear power plants are required to have one control station protected against fire in which workers can safely shut down the reactor if necessary. The fifth and final regulation is reports. The plant must report if they are shut down for any reason, any event that can negatively affect the plant even if it is out of their control, and they must report any airborne or liquid release of radioactive materials must be reported to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission if it exceeds the predetermined amount.

The waste that comes from these plants if they choose to send it somewhere goes to a remote location in southeastern Washington State called Hanford. In this desert about 2 million curies of radioactivity and thousands of tons of chemicals are stored there. There are many weapons and medical needs. The amount of nuclear energy out there right now poses the biggest threat to public health in human history. Medical planning and defense preparations for nuclear war have increased. There is little evidence that they will be of significant value in the aftermath of a nuclear conflict. Security seems to be incompatible with basic principles of medical ethics and international law if there is any sign of weapons of mass destruction. The primary medical responsibility under such circumstances is to participate and try to prevent the start of a nuclear war.

In 2008 there were some big changes made to the final FY funding bill which was then submitted to the Department of Energy’s office of Nuclear energy. Some of the programs received more than they had requested for while significant cuts were made to the budgets for other programs. The administration had requested for $801.7 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy’s. The Consolidated Appropriations Act provided $961.7 million which is $160 million over the requested amount.

Preparing uranium for a reactor is a long drawn out process it goes through the steps. The steps are mining, milling, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication. These steps make up the first part of the nuclear fuel cycle. Uranium will spend about three years in the reactor before it goes through the second part of the nuclear cycle. The second part of the cycle includes temporary storage, reprocessing, and recycling before eventually disposing as waste. With a financial push from President Obama and even Bill Gates Nuclear energy is out in front of all the rest as an alternative to generating electricity with fossil fuels.

Radioactive decay is the spontaneous breakdown of an atomic nucleus resulting in the release of energy and matter from the nucleus. Fission is a nuclear reaction in which an atomic nucleus splits, or fissions, into fragments, usually two fragments of comparable mass, with the release of large amounts of energy in the form of heat and radiation. Fusion energy can also be produced by combining light nuclei in a process is called nuclear fusion.

The things that have gone on in Japan have been absolutely terrible. On March 11th is when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The nuclear power plant had emergency procedures in place for an earthquake in Japan. The nuclear power plant has fuel in the reactors that gets very hot and continuous stream of water that runs by the heated fuel and carries the heat away. This fuel is designed to work in such a way that it will cool on its own if there are no continuing chain reactions. When the earthquake hit, the plant shut down as it was designed to do and emergency power went on. However, then the tsunami hit as well, and power was completely knocked out. Of the eight reactors, they were having problems with three. The combination of two natural disasters is what caused this issue.

Every nuclear power plant has to prepare for emergencies just like the one in Japan. Some of the rules you are supposed to follow when a power plant has an emergency are to listen to the specific warnings because you may be able to take care of the problem before it would get outside the power plant. Review your emergency handbook and be sure to tune your radio to the emergency alert systems channel to keep updated on what’s going on. Finally, evacuate to a designated reception center. Now there are different things you have to do when the emergency has already happened. If you are told to evacuate do not return home until officials say its okay, if you are told to stay inside and not come out do it and seek medical treatment if you have any unusual symptoms such as nausea which could be related to the radiation exposure.

My personal opinion on developing nuclear energy is that it is a good thing to have around because it produces energy and jobs. The bad thing about it is that it is very dangerous to have around. If there was ever an accident it could leak toxic radioactive waste everywhere. I think that we should not produce nuclear energy in the United States because it is too dangerous. I would be against it if the United States ever decided to put a nuclear power plant in Delaware Ohio. If something were to go wrong all the people and businesses around there could be hurt and the people could die. If we had a power plant in Delaware Ohio there would be no way they could store the radioactive waste here they would have to send it somewhere else which would cause more of a danger because then a spill could happen on their way to the new site.That is to close for comfort. If they decide to put more nuclear power plants in the United States they should put it out in the middle of nowhere. I think that would be the safest place for them to be.

References

Black, R. (2011, March 15). Japan quake: Radiation rises at fukushima nuclear plant. Retrieved May 18, 2011, from http://www.bbc.co.uk//

Hanes, A., & Gleisner, J. (2009, October 24). Nuclear weapons and medicine: Some ethical dilemmas. Retrieved from National institutes of Health website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov//?

Nuclear fuel cycle. (2011, February). Retrieved May 18, 2011, from http://www.world-nuclear.org//.htm

Nuclear power plants. (2011). Retrieved May 18, 2011, from http://www.mass.gov/??pageID=eopsterminal&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Homeland+Security+%26+Emergency+Response&L2=Planning+%26+Preparedness&L3=Family&sid=Eeops&b=terminalcontent&f=mema_nuclear_power_plants_info&csid=Eeops

Pros and cons of nuclear energy. (2011). Retrieved May 18, 2011, from http://timeforchange.org/and-cons-of-nuclear-power-and-sustainability

Safety regulations of nuclear power plants. (2011, February). Retrieved May 16, 2011, from http://www.ehow.com/_5042817_safety-regulations-nuclear-power-plants.html

Sloter, K. (2011, March 17). What really happened– japan nuclear power plant crisis. Retrieved May 18, 2011, from http://umichsph.wordpress.com/?/?/?/really-happened-japan-nuclear-power-plant-crisis/

Staedter, T. (2010, March 17). Is nuclear energy safeRetrieved May 16, 2010, from http://news.discovery.com//nuclear-energy-safe.html

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Critical Analysis on Nuclear Energy Development. (2019, Apr 13). Retrieved June 20, 2019, from https://phdessay.com/critical-analysis-on-nuclear-energy-development/.